Meet Voice Of Baceprot, The All-Girl Metal Band Making Waves In Indonesia The trio has braved criticism from religious conservatives outraged by three Muslim girls playing bold, noisy music inspired by Slipknot and Lamb of God.
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Meet Voice Of Baceprot, The All-Girl Metal Band Making Waves In Indonesia

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Meet Voice Of Baceprot, The All-Girl Metal Band Making Waves In Indonesia

Meet Voice Of Baceprot, The All-Girl Metal Band Making Waves In Indonesia

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now some words you don't often hear together - all-girl, teenage, Indonesian metal band. NPR's Ashley Westerman has this profile.

ASHLEY WESTERMAN, BYLINE: The band's called Voice of Baceprot. Baceprot means noisy in the girls' native Sudanese language. And they are...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

VOICE OF BACEPROT: (Singing in Indonesian).

FIRDDA KURNIA: I found myself in the metal music.

WESTERMAN: That's 17-year-old Firdda Kurnia, saying that she found herself in the metal music. We reached her in a small village some five hours southeast of the capital, Jakarta. It's a conservative area where she and her bandmates grew up. They formed VOB in 2014 after getting hooked on metal, thanks to their middle-school guidance counselor, Ahba Erza.

AHBA ERZA: I don't know why the girls love, love the metal bands.

WESTERMAN: But once they heard the metal bands like Slipknot, Metallica and Lamb of God, the three teens never looked back. Erza was a musician in a previous life. And he taught them how to play their instruments. And now he's their band manager. Today, VOB continues to gain popularity. Recently, they were even featured on Indonesia's most popular television variety show.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

VOICE OF BACEPROT: (Singing in Indonesian).

WESTERMAN: That was sound from a video of that performance back in June. If you see it, you'll notice something else about the band. All three of them are performing wearing the hijab, a headscarf traditionally worn by Muslim women. Vocalist Firdda Kurnia is acutely aware that people have noticed.

KURNIA: I'm a different musician because I'm a woman, and I play metal music. But I'm wearing hijab. Hijab is my identity, OK?

WESTERMAN: In case you didn't hear that, she says hijab is her identity.

In the world's most populous Muslim nation where pluralism and religion often rub against each other, VOB has caused some consternation among the more religiously conservative.

KURNIA: They say my music is forbidden.

WESTERMAN: The band has received phone calls telling them to stop playing, and they're bullied on social media. Kurnia says even her parents initially forbade her to play metal music.

KURNIA: They say metal is bad for my future (laughter). But, alhamdulillah, they are supporting us now.

WESTERMAN: Alhamdulillah, meaning praise God. Her family supports her now, as do others in the music scene there.

GIRING GANESHA: For three girls at their age living in the outskirts of Jakarta and then to play that kind of music and have such talent and skill, I think is very surprising.

WESTERMAN: That's Giring Ganesha, vocalist for the Indonesian pop band Nidji. Ganesha says Indonesia has a thriving underground metal scene, with fans in some of the highest of places. President Joko Widodo is a huge metal head. Metal and religion just coexist there. Ganesha says it's just a normal thing. And to see someone wearing hijab and playing metal...

GANESHA: Is just something so beautiful for us because it embraces everything about being Muslim. You know, we don't close down. You know, we don't put walls in front of us. We embrace our own culture and still embrace our love to God.

(SOUNDBITE OF VOICE OF BACEPROT SONG, "SCHOOL REVOLUTION")

WESTERMAN: Voice of Baceprot hopes to have their first album out by the end of this year. Ashley Westerman, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF VOICE OF BACEPROT SONG, "SCHOOL REVOLUTION")

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