A voice so powerful: Conny Dio and her “Setitik Air” (an opinion on the 1990 debut album)

Conny Dio debut album cover

Conny Dio. One of the Indonesian lady rockers of 1990s and the one you will never mistaken of any other Indonesian singer, because of her hairstyle. And – most importantly – her powerful voice.

I’ve had to check several times if my eyes hadn’t played tricks on me, but if information available is correct, then Conny have released her debut album in a tender age of 15! After doing a little research on this subject I am aware of the fact the majority of lady rockers have been very young when released their albums in 1990s, but still…what the hell have I been doing when I’d been 15? Well, quite certainly not releasing albums, that’s for sure.

Conny Dio
Conny Dio (more current picture)

“Setitik Air” contains 10 songs and it doesn’t really deviate from the established formula for this particular subgenre – which, if you are a fan like me, is a good news indeed. Wise men once said: “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” and it’s so true here.

Opening with the titular “Setitik Air”, unlike usual concept of rock albums (a couple of faster songs followed by a power ballad) we are greeted with the ballad straight away. Personally I don’t have a problem with it, and I am just enjoying Conny’s voice. I still can’t believe she was so young back then, her voice is far more mature than one would expect. Musically, it’s also well played, and why not, behind the album is none other than a famous Deddy Dores. So, if you know, you know.

Second track brings some speed and pop rhythms into play. “Ngerumpi” rides on the then already fading way of electronic drums (you remember those flat beats from 1980s, right?) and although it’s not a very memorable song, it’s enjoyable enough.

Third track bears the title “Hasratku” and it’s yet another power ballad. Not really surprising, lady rockers have ruled the slow rock subgenre with a heavy dose of romantic ballads. Again, not complaining a bit!

“Masa Remaja”, the 5th song of the album, is quite by-the-numbers and could be easily exchanged with any other lady rockers’ repertoire, I am pretty sure it would fit into Yosie Lucky’s songs without any problems (check the review of Yosie Lucky’s debut here). Not a bad song, but again, nothing particularly memorable.

Now the pattern is quite established, as “Tantangan” is another ballad and Conny’s powerful vocals are just wonderful, Another nostalgic tune and a great guitar solo. I don’t know why, but from the ballads on this album, this one is probably the best.

OK, “Arti Kehidupan”, if I am right, should be a faster song, and it’s not, so I was wrong 🙂 but only nit-pickers would complain. The part of the melody sounds very familiar and I am catching myself adding to a final note or two, only to go totally off the rails. Well, I was not cut to be a song writer.

It’s a “Misteri” how they keep producing the ballads, but believe it or not, it is a ballad. And a good one.

My jaw has fallen down with the opening of “Suka-Suka Dia”, the first notes are blatantly stolen from opening of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”…and then, one hell of a catchy song to enjoy! And, luckily for those who prefer a little variability, it’s also a little faster. So, win-win for everyone, I’d say!…

…and before we will bid farewell to this album with the last song, there’s one more before that, with a title “Tinggal Janji”, a not-too-long nice ballad. Classic buildup…keyboards, hi-hat and then bursting into the full swing. You’ve heard it all before, but as I keep saying – if you like the genre, you will like those songs, no matter how formulaic.

And when mentioned the final track, “Juran Pemisah” has a great opening and again, a great romantic feeling and I think it’s an absolutely fantastic ending of the album. It’s hard to say if it was done on purpose, but they might gone “save the best for the last” totally by accident.

So, what would I say? It would be easy to dismiss it as just another album from lady rockers’ era. Considering the time of its release, and the fact it’s a debut album, it’s definitely not a bad one. Conny has a powerful voice and she’s a delight to listen to. And, of course, I am looking forward to give a listen to her other releases.

“Setitik Air” was released in december 1990 on cassette tape (and so far I am not aware of any current release) and it’s available only through a second hand sales (mainly in Indonesia, so good luck with it).

Luckily, it’s also on the Youtube, if you can do a little digging.

“Setitik Air” on Youtube:

Follow Conny Dio on her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/connie_dio/

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I am the founder/owner and editor-in-chief of the Rubber Axe webzine, the underground/overground cultural publication, publishing also this website dedicated to all things Indonesian. I'm a happily married guy with 2 kids and a fantastic wife, and I'm a relentless discoverer of all things cultural and culinary. An everlasting dreamer and idealist.

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