Friday, May 21, 2010

The passing of Gesang Martohartono

Jakarta: Gesang Martohartono, a folk music maestro and composer of the evergreen "Bengawan Solo" song, died today after failing health since May 12.

Gesang, 92, died at 6.10pm at the PKU Muhammadiyah Solo Hospital here, where he had been admitted since May 12.

According to doctors who treated him, though he had been a fit person despite his age, his heart progressively weakened before he breathed his last.

Born on Oct 1, 1917, he was one of Indonesia's most famous musicians and well-known throughout Asia, particularly Japan.

"Bengawan Solo", which he composed in 1940 at the age 23 and is about the river of the same name and the longest on Java island, became a monster hit and has been translated into many languages.

In 1983, as a tribute for his contributions to music, the Japanese government built a park in his name by the same river and is maintained to this day by the Gesang Fund, that it set up in his honour.

Gesang also received many accolades from all around for his musical works, including from Emperor Hirohito of Japan in 1992 and the Bintang Budaya Parama Dharma medal from Indonesia's president.

[Source: Bernama]

Below is the version sung by Anneke Gronloh ...

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