Indonesian president Joko Widodo has presented veteran hard rock band God Bless with a special award as recognition for their contributions to the Indonesian music scene.
The band, who hosted their 48th-anniversary concert yesterday (August 31), received the special award from Widodo (also known as Jokowi) the day prior to a press conference.
This gesture, per concert organiser Rockinlilo CEO Romulo Radjadin to ExBulletin, is significant. “This is the first time that a president has awarded prizes directly to Indonesian musicians,” he said, adding that it serves as a form of appreciation for their long-running contributions to the Indonesian music scene.
Radjadin also went on to say that president Jokowi “strongly supports the 48-year God Bless concert” as well as “the organiser’s mission and vision for the revival of the performing world in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic”, beginning with virtual concerts.
President Jokowi took to Instagram on Monday to share images with the band along with a lengthy caption in which he reminisced about listening to the band in his teenage years, citing songs like ‘Huma Di Atas Bukit’, ‘Panggung Sandiwara’ and ‘Roda Kehidupan’. He ended his post saying “God Bless is an important part of the history of Indonesian music” when translated.
Following the band’s virtual concert, they took to social media to share images of their time with the president, thanking him for his support. The band dedicated their awards to their supporters, family, friends and crew who have been with them since 1973.
God Bless also shared a short message of encouraging musicians to continue a focus on their craft despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.
The band’s 48th anniversary concert featured God Bless performing with artists such as Cella of Kotak and Karis and Stevi Item of DeadSquad. A number of bands – including Ebenz and Agung of Burgerkill, DeadSquad, Isyana Sarasvati and Teza Sumendra – also performed tributes to God Bless.
God Bless first formed in 1973 and have released eight studio albums to date. The band currently consists of vocalist Ahmad Albar, guitarist Jusuf ‘Ian’ Antono, bassist Donny Fattah Gagola, keyboardist Abadi Soesman, and drummer Fajar Satritama.