“Even though today we can still see new releases in children’s music catalogue, I am still quite concerned about the lack of seriousness within the quality of the music. While on the other hand, there are many electronic, indie, and other musicians who have sprung up. If the taste and skills of us, musicians are gradually growing these days, then why can’t the growth itself be apparent in children’s music industry?”
The artist statement above describes best the main reason of Rendyadi Amnar — known as Rendy — starting out a career in his own musical path under the name Hoala & Koala. Music itself has become a big part of the Jakarta-based musician’s life since he took piano lesson in elementary school and was first introduced to the world of classical as well as orchestral music. However, the thought of becoming a professional musician, especially to create such nursery rhymes or music that is aimed for children hadn’t crossed Rendy’s mind yet until he started a family and had his own kids when he realized that the development of children’s music in the world can be considered as quite worrisome. “I decided to make songs for children with a serious and detailed treatment, just like how any other musicians usually do when working on their albums for adults,” as Rendy explained the big picture of this project.His journey with Hoala & Koala then finally began at the end of last year (2020) with the release of his debut album, “Volume 1”.
Consisting of 9 songs within it, “Volume 1” is a slick piece of an exploratory album in which each song is sung by the characters, Hoala and Koala that are especially created to make this project more friendly and closely relatable to children. In the process of making this album, Rendy took each piece of everything within and surrounding him to greatly influence his songwriting process while looking up to the legendary figures of Indonesian children’s music such as Pak Kasur, Ibu Sud, and Papa T Bob. All these different inspirations are weaved seamlessly with his inherent influence — piano — as a basis for the main arrangement, built around the J-pop and Jazz-infused instrumentations which we as a listener can rarely hear in local children’s songs that have existed to date. Along with his desire to break the current stigma that children’s music is only limited to Pop genre in a MIDI format/minimal chords, here Rendy cultivates each element of music by himself in almost every number in this album with a full-band arrangement (which also involves some session players from various countries from America, French, Russia, to Argentina et cetera to help Rendy with some shortcomings that he had on playing other instruments), and despite the grand treatment, the output sound of this whole album is still designed in a such simple way that it can be easily enjoyed by the children themselves.
Rendy himself feels that apart from the music identity as a work of art, children’s songs have bigger roles which one of them is to support the growth of a child’s development. Therefore, in addition to adapting his personal experience in raising a child into the lyrics writing process, he also sought for various lessons from pediatricians, psychologists, to teachers in order to craft an educational story within the lyrics that is not only appropriate for the age of children, but can also be enjoyed and used as a medium of teaching by the parents.
“I hope that many professional musicians will have a wider perspective on children’s music, because instead of being a mere work of art, songs for children are also a medium that our children can use in their learning process. This means that us musicians can get two benefits here from creating music for children: we have a space to create our own art while also educating Indonesia children at the same time.”
In addition to the album, Rendy also released a video series to accompany each track of “Volume 1” in a visual storytelling format using a 3D animation concept in order to have the children experiencing Hoala and Koala characters in a more enhanced way. All these videos are uploaded and free to be enjoyed on Hoala & Koala YouTube Channel and its official website.