SONG OF THE DAY De Evergreens – Es Lilin (Java Surf)

Back in 2019, Belgium’s Radio Martiko reissued a rather old and classic rarity which was originally released in 1968 on the Dutch label, Durlaphone. Backed with a crazy surf track called Gonzalez by the Les Jaguar’s de Casablanca, Es Lilin comes to us from the distant shores of Java….and even more distant in that this comes from another era!! Dug up from the lost beat generation and smothered in surf dreams, this track is the B-side’s more dreamier counterpart!

Tony Turpijn and his Evergreens indulges the dream of every pantropical music lover with this glossy instrumental rhythm ’n blues take on the Sundanese love song Es Lilin (Ice Lolly). Described by Radio Martiko as “Link Wray meets Mulatu Astatke meets Oslan Husein in Rotterdam, 1965″, this instrumental fancy gives your mind time to wander, should it be in need a bit of escape!! My mind certainly does!!

Alongside the reissue of both these rarities came an extensive write-up about the bands – which you can read in more depth here (and, should you feel compelled, you can also purchase these delights from this link!). For the purpose of reading about today’s band only, I’ve just pasted the relevant details from Radio Martiko’s page but, like I’ve said, you can read more extensively on the record’s release page. I hope you enjoy!!

“…The Evergreens – mistakenly credited as “De Evergreens” on the original issue – were formed in 1965 and led by drummer/vocalist Ruud Reindorp, a man who was a prominent figure in the Dutch Indo Rock scene. Other members of the band were John Wessel on bass, Nos Lapré on vocals, Tony Turpijn on lead guitar and Ruud Wunderlich on rhythm guitar. The Evergreens were among the last batch of many Indo rock ’n roll formations that boomed since 1958 in Den Haag, Rotterdam and all over the Netherlands.

The Evergreens mainly played music at Dutch-Indo dance parties and gatherings and got attention through their regular performances for Radio Sinar Sang Surya at the then trendy Radio Veronica. Besides playing uncut western rock ’n roll, they characterised the subculture by re-arranging Indonesian popular songs and Kroncong (romantic Indonesian music) into latin, r&b and rock flavoured versions. Since 1968, the band’s line-up changed several times. Nowadays, with Tony Turpijn, being the only original member, the Evergreens like to play a versatile repertoire. Despite the long existence of the band, they only recorded one single and one full LP.
The song “Es Lilin” is a Sundanese (West Java) folksong (daerah) in the melancholic pélog scale. The melody line feels very old and is composed on an ancient Gamelan scale from Java. The lyrics are a love poem referring to a kind of ice cream from Bandung. The song belongs to the classic repertoire of Indonesian folk and reflects the age-old cultural crossovers in the archipel.
The Evergreen’s sloppy instrumental version of “Es Lilin” lets the intoxicating melody bounce on a monster r&b groove and reminds us of Ethio Jazz. The old Gamelan scale is modified here from 7 to 5 notes, which is similar to the Ethiopian “Tizita” scale…..”

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