Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Sings for the Laughter, Sings for the Tears

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Indonesia’s president followed Aerosmith’s sage advice in January, releasing his third album of pop music, I’m Certain I’ll Make It [Ku Yakin Sampai Di Sana]

The BBC reports that the Indonesian government has been under fire after bailing out a bank in 2008.

Reuters reports that ratings have fallen from 90% to 75%, according to a poll conducted last Sunday.

Some would argue that the president’s priorities should be to run the country and ensure that his people are prosperous and happy.

The names of some tracks on the album seem to convey Mr. Yudhoyono’s feelings about his native country – with track names such as ‘Go Forth my Country’, ‘Save the Planet’ and ‘For you, Sweet Child’.

However, the BBC reports that the message on the cover of his latest album is one of hope, happiness and above all, love for his countrymen.

His music is said to be “inspired by a belief that no-one can change the destiny of a nation but the children of the nation itself…It is through these works of arts I hope to convey my inner feelings to the wider communities, to the children of Indonesia.”

Mr. Yudhoyono says he uses his time away from his official post to “express [his] feelings in the form of arts”.

Rather than performing solo on this album as in his previous works, the president has collaborated with prominent local musicians, including a former winner of Indonesian Idol.

The president's single 'My Longing for You'

Mr. Yudhoyono has been singing and composing since he was in high school, and even performed during his time in the army, according to former spokesperson Andy Mallarangeng.

“He gets inspiration anytime anywhere, including on plane trips abroad and also at the Presidential Palace,” Mr. Mallarangeng told Reuters.

The president is said to have penned certain songs while on state visits, and draws much inspiration from those he meets in his official capacity as head of government.

The proceeds from the album are to go to various charities and education efforts in Indonesia.

It is clear that music is a means by which the president feels more connected to his people; perhaps at this time of difficulty he feels a melodic message to be more appropriate than a political one.

Mr. Yudhoyono is not the first statesman to express himself musically, nor is he the first to make such a talent public.

Former US President Bill Clinton is a saxophonist. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair plays the guitar; former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice had dreams to be a concert pianist.

Mahatma Gandhi, India’s freedom fighter, was known to play the concertina.

This could be a political manoeuvre to increase domestic faith in the government; or to make Indonesians feel their president is still there as a pillar of support and leadership, as he has been for years.

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