Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mustafa Daood (left) performs with his band Debu at a shopping mall on the outskirts of Jakarta

Debu Prove You Can't Judge a Band By Its Album Cover

By Anuj Chopra

DEPOK, INDONESIA -- On a balmy evening, the mixed sounds of traditional and modern musical instruments drift out of a garage-turned-music studio. An oud, or Arabic lute, strums up a haunting Middle Eastern tune. A bass guitar unleashes a metallic twang. A tambourine evokes hippie-chic nostalgia from the 1960s. You expect a bunch of spiky-haired punk artists trying to jam together. But the doors open to a group of men in filigreed skullcaps and women in colourful jilbabs performing on a variety of stringed and percussion instruments.

Meet Debu, a 12-member Indonesian Islamic band, who are inviting much intrigue among music aficionados in Indonesia and much of the Islamic world. They are Muslim, but most are American. Together, they are blurring the lines between Islam and the West. "If you close your eyes and listen to our music, you might imagine us to be Turkish or Iranian musicians. When you open your eyes, you'll see blond Americans with long hair," said Mustafa Daood, the lead vocalist of Debu. "People have no idea where to place us." ...


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