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These Three Hijab-Wearing Muslim Girls Shred In Their Heavy Metal Band

Firdda Kurnia, Eusi Siti Aisyah, and Widi Rahmawati grew up in West Java, a conservative region of Indonesia. In 2014, they took a music class together and discovered heavy metal. Now their band, The Voice of Baceprot, plays across the nation’s most popular stages, wearing leather jackets and hijabs and absolutely wailing.

The girls found their musical influences with the help of a guidance counselor at their madrasas, or Muslim school, named Ahba Erza, according to NPR. Ezra played them “Toxicity” by System of a Down and they were hooked. He then taught the girls how to play their instruments and eventually became their band manager, but Ezra says, “I don’t know why the girls love the metal bands.”

Is it such a mystery when they look this cool?

 

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Their name literally means “noisy” in their ethnic Sundanese language, and they say their influences are classic metal bands like Slipknot, Lamb of God, and Rage Against The Machine. Kurnia, who is 17, told NPR, “I found myself in the metal music.”

But playing in public hasn’t been easy in a very religious and conservative country. All of the girls have received backlash for appearing on stage in public, for playing such loud music, and for wearing hijab. They say they’ve received threatening messages and phone calls telling them to stop touring and playing. Even their parents were discouraging at first, though they’ve come around with the success of the band.

“They say my music is forbidden by my religion,” explained Kurnia.¬† “I’m a different musician because I’m a woman, and I play metal music but I’m wearing hijab. Hijab is my identity, OK?”

 

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Despite the push back, Assembly reports that the girls¬† play about three shows per month and have received considerable support from other popular musical acts in Indonesia. There is apparently quite a large underground metal scene in the country, but musicians from other genres have also been won over by their talent. Giring Ganesha is the vocalist for Indonesian pop band Nidji, and he has become a huge fan, telling NPR they’re “jawdropping.”

“They’re embracing pop culture. They’re embracing rock,” he gushed. “They show that, ‘OK, my religion is Muslim, that is my identity,’ but still I know they can embrace music, embrace rock music and have fun with it.”

Though they play a number of covers, they’re working on their own songs and are hoping to release an album this coming year.

“I hope my band will be successful,” said Kurnia, “And can be the inspiration of younger generations.”

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