The trend of renting a karaoke booth with friends to shout and dance seemed like the most reasonable way out after a day of misfortune. The main lights that went out replaced by flickering disco balls, colorful laser beams, and television screens that show the lyrics. Everyone tussles to put their desired songs, everyone desires to sing. This activity is usually done with a few close friends, ending in two or three hours — four hours on weekends.
But, what if karaoke is carried out in congregation? Dozens of people, driven by the same taste in music, agreed to go to a place and scream together while staring at the lyrics on the screen. It’s like a cult that tries to prevent doomsday by screaming, or mass possessed. Five years later, this mass karaoke phenomenon appeared. In the event, usually a karaoke DJ, A karaoke guide and somehow gets the title of disjoki, acts as a guest star. His job is to play his curated songs and keep the karaoke atmosphere ecstatic. The DJ, in interactive and persuasive ways, invites everyone to sing together. Even when you don’t know what song is playing, the DJ tries to make everyone contented.
“Back then, after people went clubbing, they were really drunk, tired of dancing. Now, through this mass karaoke, some people don’t really get wasted, because they are sober while reading those songs lyrics.” said Narpati Awangga, whom we called, Oomleo, who was preparing to play at The Moon, a bar at the Hotel Monopoli Kemang, South Jakarta.
The first joint karaoke organizer, as far as Oomleo remembered, was a club in Jakarta named Parc in 2004. Oomleo Berkaraoke formula is now often used, then developed into a karaoke session with thematic playlists, such as Emo, Disco, K-Pop, and so on. This karaoke event is usually held regularly in bars or nightclubs in South Jakarta.
Employes or unemployed can make one feel depressed. Salary that feels like never enough to buy a favorite thing can be frustrating. Annoying coworkers and superiors make you unable to complain. Loneliness may be afflicted by every creature that lives in big cities, it becomes a kind of epidemic. In the United States, according to Cigna’s research with a total of 20,000 respondents aged over 18 years, two out of three respondents felt human relations were meaningless and as many as 43% felt isolated. Generation Z, aged 18 to 22, is claimed to be the loneliest generation and experiencing worse health problems than the previous generation. Ironically, now, humanity is living in an era where communication is no longer a problem: internet connections, messengers apps, and social media. Those tools are the examples that can accomodate human needs to interact.
Perhaps interacting online is not enough. Perhaps you need something that can be touched, the smell of sweat, and facial expressions in front of you. Perhaps you need to scream at the top of your lungs, without having to be thought to have a mental problem. Perhaps you, a citizen of a big city, occasionally need this karaoke in congregation in life.
** This photo project was released online media tirto.id on April 8, 2019, “Ibadah Karaoke Berjamaah”