Wonderful lady rocker: Inka Christie and “Gambaran Cinta” (a 1992 album review)

“Gambaran Cinta” is a proof that I’ve been listening to a lot of songs by Inka Christie lately. She is definitely a part of an interesting scene of 1990s Indonesian “lady rockers”, and being driven by nostalgia for the time long gone, I’ve decided to dedicate a section of Indokult website for these great singers. And because many of these are largely (or even completely) unknown here in the West, I guess it’s about time to give credit where the credit is due.

“Gambaran Cinta”, released in 1991 on tape in Indonesia (and on LP in Malaysia), is Inka’s debut album. The releases vary in the number of songs and I’ll use the Indonesian release from the Youtube.

Inka Christie (archive photo)

Opening the album is the titular “Gambaran Cinta”, which is quite opposite from, say, Yosie Lucky’s album “Orang-orang Kalap” (review here ), and probably the usual rock stuff, where the rock ballad (or power ballad) usually comes after a few energy-blasting songs. Anyway, this song boasts of great guitar solo (I honestly can’t have enough of it), and Inka’s voice is – expectedly – young, fresh and good phrasing allows even a non-Indonesian speaker like me to catch a word or two from bahasa Indonesia. Although suffice to say, you only need to know “cinta” (love), “cinta kita” (our love) and “hatiku” (my heart) to know what’s going on.

Interestingly, this song was the very first Inka Christie’s track I’ve heard. And remains among my favourites.

Second track is “Biar” and we’re still relishing in the slow rock mood, going even slower than the opening song. What to say about it? Well, you can’t really say anything negative here, the quality of music is undisputable, Inka’s voice is piercing and I won’t be mistaken to say that changing the lyrics into English, it could be a well received hit single in the Western world.

If you are “Antik Dan Romantik” (Cute and Romantic), you will probably be the central character of the album song number 3. Now we’re talking proper pop-rock you know from 1990s, supported by the keyboards. Unfortunately, although in some moments the song evokes Swedish duo Roxette and their hit “Dressed to Success”, as a whole it’s quite generic and easily forgetable. I don’t want to say it’s a bad song – only that Inka has better ones.

Gambaran Cinta

For example, “Katakan”, which, incidentally, is a very next song. If you remember my review of Yosie Lucky’s album mentioned above, this is somewhat in the same realm, bursting with the same youtful energy. Because since its release I’ve heard a lot of songs from the same genre, it’s quite hard to say if Indonesian hitmakers got inspiration from their Western counterparts or vice versa. A nice song it is……

and then, I don’t know why, the album has “Gambaran Cinta” again, and because I don’t speak bahasa, I don’t really know if it’s somewhat longer version or different lyrics. But because I like the song, I don’t complain at all.

“Rela”, the track nomor 6 is another track I’ve already heard before in some compilation, so I am a little positively biased towards it. And I love Inka’s voice in this song, it’s so warm and caring. As it’s a rock music, obviously, a guitar solo can’t be absent, and as it’s quite a standard here – it’s also very enjoyable.

Hey, this one sounds sooooo familiar! “Usil” is straight from the US glam/hair metal of late 1980s and the instant click with me. Vixen, Heart, Cher…if you were a fan of those in those days, you will love this song, of this I am certain.

Inka Christie (current picture)

“Perawan Di Lorong Malam” sits firmly at its place as the 8th song, and it’s a weird song, but in a good sense. You would certainly not expect the tune, but after a while it gets back in the line of a rock song again. A little experimentation is in order, I believe. Still, quite unusual song it is.

One before the last song is “Ditakdirkan Ku Terbaring” and this one is a catchy!!!! Where’s the hairspray! I need to get my hair done! OK, probably not, seeing that I have a short haircut, but the song is uplifting and bringing back the memories of 1990s like hell! Who needs depressive songs of 2020s, when you can have songs like these? Certainly not me! I’ll trade Billie Eilish and all that modern crap for 1990s lady rockers from Indonesia in a heartbeat.

Anyway, the last one according to playlist is “Dibatas Kegelapan” with a nice organ keyboard and even more catchy guitar work. Who’s that guitarist, I wonder…I hope I will find out, for now, I am just enjoying the track, the quality of which is in line with the rest I’ve heard so far.

So…that’s all, folks, for “Gambaran Cinta”, and what to say, I am more than happy! I will keep repeating myself, but for some strange reason I am glad I’ve discovered this group of Indonesian female rock singers and you can bet your last dollar (or whatever currency you use) there will be some more great singers featured in Indokult!

Inka Christie on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inka_christie99/

The full album on Youtube:

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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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