Indonesian Hijabi Metal Band Breaks Stereotypes & Gains The Attention Of International Rock Stars


Sri Anindiati Nursastri •  Jun 04, 2021

Widi Rahmawati, Firda Marsya Kurnia, and Euis Siti Aisyah grew up as a typical Muslim girl from Garut – a small town in West Java. But since 2014, this trio gained attention from all over Indonesia for becoming the first all-hijabi metal girlband in the country.

Voice of Baceprot (VoB), that’s what the band is called. “Baceprot” means “noisy” in their local language. It’s a long way from the conservative town in West Java where they come from, struggling with negative reactions from neighbours and family members to pursue their passion.

Credit: Facebook/ Voice of Baceprot

“Because of metal music, I have the courage to speak my mind and the confidence to be different. When I’m on stage, I can express myself without worrying about the norms that people expect from me,” 19-year-old bassist Widi Rahmawati told AFP, as mentioned in The Jakarta Post.

VOB gained fame after their 2018 single “School Revolution”, which took aim at the country’s strict education system. Much of their songs these days focus on the role of women and environmental issues – such as “Perempuan yang Merdeka Seutuhnya” (The Real Freedom of a Woman).

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How they started out

Widi, Firda, and Euis studied in the same school, Madrasah Tsanawiyah Al-Baqiyatussolihat. At first, they don't know how to use musical instruments like the guitar and drum. But thanks to their extracurricular music activity, they finally got the chance to learn music.

Widi started learning play bass, and Euis learnt to play drum from their marching band instruments. Firda’s iconic voice unified them – she became the lead singer and even learnt to play the guitar. They practiced in a small room which had only a fan, and that's where they produced their iconic songs.

One of their school teachers, Ersa, became their number one supporter. Amidst of negative comments from their neighbours and family as well as Indonesian netizens, Ersa gently calmed them by assuring that there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim and playing metal music.

Credit: Instagram/ Voice of Baceprot

Gaining international attention

VoB first gained international attention when their songs caught the eyes of Nirvana bassist, Krist Novoselic. They also gain positive response from Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Flea from Red Hot Chili Pepper.

“We never expected that kind of attention. It felt like a dream,” said VOB’s singer and lead guitarist, Firda Marsya Kurnia (20).

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, VoB has played several online concerts including the WOW UK Festival in England and Canadian Music Week.

Credit: Instagram/ Voice of Baceprot

They hope that one day, their hard-driving tunes will land them a spot at top-tier US music festival Coachella, and a chance to collaborate with their idol System of a Down.