Tony Q Rastafara Biography Born in Semarang, a little town located in Central Java, Indonesia, Tony Waluyo Sukmoasih came from an ordinary family. His talent and fascination for art especially in music and paintings could be detected easily since early childhood where he got most of the influence from his friends. He was and is, until now, fixated by rock music and blues.
Having finished his education in Technical Intermediate School (STM), Tony decided to start his music career in his hometown as a street singer in 1980; and this made him closer to what it’s called the live of street singers in Semarang. In this city which he loves, Tony had the chance to produce a compilation album of street singers together with his friends and won several competitions on street singers’ festival. Due to his eagerness in plunging himself into new challenges, he moved and tried his luck in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city. And because his in-depth experience with street singers, he visited the similar community in Jakarta. With the help from a friend who had firstly engaged in Jakarta’s street singers’ community, Tony braved himself to initiate his music career as a pengamen, an Indonesian word for street musician.
He entertained and played his music from one place to other places in the street of Jakarta. Although country music was still unpopular back in the mid of 1984 among Indonesian people, upon a friend’s request, Tony agreed to try the new music genre as many musicians hadn’t yet dared to play it. One thing led to another and what happened next was Tony got new friends, expatriates living in Jakarta. It was because of his existence in performing country music that he was invited several times in an event organized by the United States Embassy, and thanks to his expatriate friends, he had the opportunity to come on stage in one of the biggest America’s country music festival, the Grand Old Opree which was sited in Tennessee, USA.
Unfortunately, due to lack of financial support, the plan was not realized. Being too long experimenting with country music, Tony started to feel worn-out and felt that his music career was going nowhere, not developing until he decided to sign out from his band and began to search other kind of music that is more suitable with his soul. In the early of 1989, Tony tried to learn more about reggae music which was coincided with his love and passion for the legend figure in reggae world, Bob Marley. Not only he was inspired by his music, but also the lyrics in each Bob Marley’s songs put Tony in a hypnotized state where it triggered his instinct in music. Thus, he felt certain and fix to choose the career path in reggae music, and launched his existence in it.
Within the same year, he managed to establish his first reggae band which was named “Roots Rock Reggae”. This band had marked his career by performing in Jakarta’s pubs and cafes, delivering Bob Marley, Jimmy Clliff songs, and many others to audience ears with Tony as the lead vocal and lead guitar. Other than Roots Rock Reggae band, Tony set up other reggae bands such as “Exodus”, and then “Rastaman”; while in 1994, he pioneered the band that in later years made him famous in Indonesia’s reggae which was called “Rastafara”. Journeying with Rastafara, Tony’s music career was starting to take its peak as in that period of time there were scarcely found reggae musicians in Jakarta; that was why the band got its full support and fans from reggae music community.
Rastafara was acknowledged as the pioneer in Indonesia’s reggae music because it was the only band that has the guts to present their own original songs, trying to break free from the shadow of Jamaican reggae, and interestingly, the majority of Rastafara’s songs were created by Tony. In 1995, with a help from a friend, Rastafara managed to get an offer from a recording album, Warner Music Indonesia when finally in 1996, their debut album called “Rambut Gimbal” was released. The album received excellent feedbacks, and brought a new touch to Indonesia’s music industry which was then dominated by Alternative Rock.
Almost all of the songs in the album were originally created by Tony, talking about social issues, humanity, love, and daily life routines. The “Rambut Gimbal” song was quite popular at the time where actually the song title taken from a term for Dreadlock hair styles in foreign language and then borrowed into Bahasa Indonesia. The distinction between Rastafara and other reggae bands was because they had successfully combined and integrated elements of traditional music with Indonesia’s classic style into his own music, so reggae music ala Indonesia was created, free from the influence of Bob Marley, UB 40, or Jimmy Cliff. The usage of traditional music instruments such as Kendang Sunda or Gamelan Java had its contribution to Indonesia’s music industry through Rastafara’s songs.
Moreover, the music arrangement slightly received as a mixture of Malay music. In 1997, both the contract album and the music label weren’t extended and Rastafara decided to quit temporarily from music industry, up until he eventually thought about initiating a new band under the same name Rastafara. A year after that, a band called Tony Q & New Rastafara appeared with an additional player, but it didn’t last as Tony chose to go with a solo carrier and bringing with him the name of the band itself – Tony Q Rastafara and thrived until he released an independent album called “Damai dengan Cinta” in 2000.
In his third album, Tony realized this was just only the beginning of his rising career in Indonesia’s reggae music because the next thing he knew there was a Professor in music from America gave him a reference to participate in Bob Marley Festival in America. The festival’s coordinators had instantly liked the album and then later on, they invited Tony to perform in the show in 2002, but regrettably he and his troops didn’t get visa permission from the United States Embassy due to security problems. It was overlapping with the 11th September World Trade Center.
The fourth album “Kronologi” was released in 2003 and it was a compilation of his songs from previous albums and songs which were yet to be released. His close connection with local activists and NGO such as Green Peace, WALHI, and many others had given him inspirations to generate an album embedded with a deep and meaningful social and humanity oriented vision and mission. Therefore, in the year of 2005 his fifth album “Salam Damai” popped into the surface idolizing the mission and vision on peace, and also in this album, he tried to merge reggae and orchestra music with a touch of strong traditional element. At the end of 2005, a song from his third album “Damai dengan Cinta” called “Pat Glipat” succeeded to seat on one of the best world compilation music album which was known as Putumayo World Music with a title “Reggae Playground” that was released internationally in February 2006.
Being the single representative from Asia, this had not only jacked up Tony Q’s name and image, but also Indonesia in the eyes of the world, especially when the world could recognize Indonesia’s own reggae music. After a lengthy effort in independent label industry, Tony then attempted to return to releasing his album in major label in 2007 with a title “Anak Kampung”. The nuance that radiated from his sixth album still had the combination of reggae music and Indonesia’s traditional elements but more dominated by social theme songs, and eventually caused his music to be more liked by low middle class people especially from outside Jakarta. Soon, Tony’s fans were expansively growing, thus he facilitated his fans wishes by launching fans club which were situated in almost all areas in Indonesia and up to the neighbors such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. In the early year of 2009, right when the process of Public Election was occurring, Tony back to releasing his seventh album independently titled “Presiden”, and it was fully done in Sydney, Australia. In his new album, he was truly intended to give a strong feeling and nuance of politic for acclaiming and responding to the ongoing Public Election. With his music arrangement getting more varied in each step of the way, it came with it too that he had a nostalgic moment with country music where he tried to mix the sound of banjo in the album. When it came to the middle of 2009, after a prolonged process then finally a demo that was once offered by a music label called Cumbancha in United States - owned by former A&R since 2008 and originated from world music label Putumayo, Jacob Edgar, United States – could reach the deal. Cumbancha gave the opportunity and offer to release Tony’s songs internationally. The album itself will be go public in early 2010, internationally and domestically. TONY Q RASTAFARA OTOBIOGRAFI Name : Tony Waluyo Sukmoasih Nick Name : Tony Q Artist Name : Tony Q Rastafara Birth : Semarang / 27 April 1961 Album 1.Rambut Gimbal (1996), Hemagita Record/BMG 2.Gue Fallin In Love (1997), Hemagita Record/BMG 3.Damai Dengan Cinta (2000), AK Production 4.Kronologi (2003), Indonesia Rasta Production 5.Salam Damai (2005), IM Production 6.Anak Kampung (2007), Tony Q Production & 267 Records 7.Presiden (2008), Tony Q Production Single & Compilation 1.Single ”Aku Anak Kampung”, (2005) IRR Compilation Album 2.”Pat Gulipat”, (Damai dengan Cinta, 2000) Putumayo World Music International 1.Headliners ”Bob Marely Festival” ,Houston TX , USA (2002) 2.Invitation ”Legend of Rastareggae Festival”, Houston TX,USA (2003-2005) 3.Putumayo World Music Album Compilation ”Reggae Playground” (2006) ALBUM & ARTIST MANAGEMENT CV.KOTAK ATIK (IM Production) Mailing Address & Office : Jl. Pulo Asem I C No.57 RT.015 RW.001 Kel.Jati