Showing posts with label job opportunities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label job opportunities. Show all posts

YOUNG AND PASSIONATE; optimistic and resilient, that's what Lilik Dwi Fajar Riyanto should be credited with. This young man from Boyolali, Central Java has demonstrated persistence and confidence in what he does, making him a man of value. His courage is exemplary when he decides to continue the business of gamelan production previously run by his foster father. Not only does he open up job opportunities for young people of his age, but also contributes to the preservation of Javanese culture.  

A regency located at the foot of Mt. Merapi and Mt. Merbabu, Boyolali has long been known as the City of Milk since it produces the largest amount of fresh cow’s milk throughout the province. With Fajar’s emerging business in gamelan production, the city is now getting even more popular as the gamelan he produces has reached the national market and made its way to consumers on a global scale.

Fajar's decision to produce gamelan is exemplary conduct. (Photo: 

However, the business he’s currently running has once been an object of mockery. When commencing it four years ago, one of his friends joked, "Why would you bother with a gamelan business that is not modern?” Instead of allowing himself to get offended, he took the comment to advance his business until he became what he is today.

Dedication that blossoms

Fajar recounted his early experience back in 2008 when working for Suwaldi. One of his tasks was to accompany Suwaldi when paying a formal visit to several government agencies that are likely to purchase their gamelan. In addition to describing and showing the quality of the gamelan, Fajar is also assigned to ensure the stock that it is obvious what to buy for materials that are no longer available.

His thoughtful performance on the job and untiring dedication to helping Suwaldi’s business have ended up with Fajar being considered his foster son. What happened in 2018 confirms his commitment when Fajar decided to set up his own business under the title CV. Berkah Bopo; Kerajinan Gamelan in Ngaru Aru, Banyudono, Boyolali. When his foster dad passed away, no relatives of his would like to continue the business of gamelan production. Fajar took the initiative to take over the business since it has regular customers.

“I’m establishing this business all by myself; say it is from zero but under the auspices of Mr Suwaldi. I have also taken his previous employees to work with me,” Fajar who is a graduate of Sekolah Tinggi Hindu Dharma (STHD) spoke to Daryono, a journalist at 

It is no wonder that his emotional attachment to his foster dad is reflected in the name of Fajar’s business. Berkah Bopo equals father’s blessing in English and that clearly defines Fajar’s eternal gratitude to Suwaldi. 

Employees of CV Berkah Bopo completing a gamelan (Photo: Lilik Dwi Fajar Riyanto)

With 50 million rupiahs from his personal savings, Fajar then rented a house where his gamelan is produced. Since gamelan doesn’t provide quick profit, he should come up with another idea for generating income. And it is laundry that’s considered profitable to cover their daily expenses.

A negative remark that his friend once made was never allowed to get in his way. His sole purpose is to preserve local culture while promoting employment opportunities for people in the neighborhood—especially the young generation. He assumed those who despise his endeavor clearly have no idea of the thrill of getting gamelan produced. While the process is exotically challenging, the market price is indefinite as every order is customized.

Unlike commodities whose specs and prices are available on the marketplace, gamelan seems to be more unique because more emotions are involved. The making and selling of gamelan is not entirely about money, but art appreciation as well as cultural preservation. His devotion has caused the business to blossom.

Cherishing the spirit of collaboration 

The gamelan he produces can generate a minimum turnover of IDR 100-150 million per year. Because Fajar takes orders for gamelan either per piece or as a set, the transaction figures vary. At one time, he could make IDR 1.4 billion for 7 sets of gamelan for the Purbalingga Regency, Central Java. It's not a standard turnover though.

The friend who used to make fun of him would probably be shocked to find out that Fajar's product is not only favored in Central Java, East Java, and West Java, and even outside Java. The quality gamelan produced by CV Berkah Bopo has also penetrated foreign markets including Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United States. What makes it interesting is that he offers similar price for all buyers, both domestic and abroad. 

A variety of gamelan at CV Berkah Bopo (Photo: Lilik Dwi Fajar Riyanto) 

In order to meet demands, Fajar invited local SMEs on the basis of collaboration as he knew that he could not do everything alone. This scheme actually opens up opportunities and blessings for gamelan craftsmen in other regions, just like the name of his business suggests. He has so far collaborated with 25 home gamelan craftsmen from Bekonang District, Sukoharjo. For the following stage, Fajar's employees will be completing the finishing process according to Fajar's directions and customer orders.

This collaborative practice is of paramount importance as there are at least 22 types of musical instruments in one gamelan set. Bonang, peking, saron, kempul, kenong, gender, selenteng are some to mention. The completion of a set is likely made easy with SME craftsmen working together, especially the wood craftsmen who make the cages.

Some gamelans are made of iron, some brass, and some other bronze. The iron one is the cheapest, offered at IDR 60 million per set, and is normally ordered for musical practice in schools. As for the brass gamelan, it is more expensive, sold at IDR 250 million per set. The most expensive is the bronze gamelan which is offered at IDR 400 million per set. 

One may be puzzled by the high price of a gamelan set. It is not uncommon though when one understands the process of making gamelan that takes about a month in several stages. It takes one month to complete an iron set and two for bronze gamelan.

The initial process is the melting of materials, such as bronze, tin, and copper. The material that has been melted is then molded into blades and forged until the desired shape is obtained. It is the forging that is the most complicated stage among the other stages. In this stage, craftsmen must have excellent forging skills.

Forging is vital as it determines the next stage, namely membabar. It is a stage when the craftsmen reexamine the physical condition of the gamelan. If a defective form is found, the gamelan will have to be repaired.

A set of gamelan on its way to the customer (Photo: Lilik Dwi Fajar Riyanto) 

The most intriguing stage is the tuning process known as melaras. This process has to be dealt with great care as it requires special skills to achieve the scale desired. The gamelan has to be assured to avoid discordant sounds when played. Finally, the gamelan is sanded, painted, and placed into each cage to be delivered to the customers.

"I hope that gamelan will always be talked about and introduced so that today's young people will continue to know it. It will be ironic that the cultural heritage of our ancestors, which is known throughout the world, comes to be unknown to our younger generations." That is what Fajar prompted when speaking to

It is clear that Fajar's business is not money-oriented. It is neither about profit nor economic calculations. In addition to financial support, gamelan production is an effort to help preserve the Javanese culture, which has now been largely abandoned, especially by the younger generation.

That is what makes Listyanto happy. This 29-year-old young man has been with Fajar for five years. Initially working for Suwaldi, Listiyanto admitted that he felt at home working for Fajar because he received proper rights. Apart from salary, he also gets overtime money when working on increasing orders. Listiyanto enjoys working at CV Berkah Bopo because Fajar understands what his employees need.

Finishing touch of gamelan at CV Berkah Bopo (Photo:

Challenge and optimism for gamelan 

Fajar admitted to having experienced business turbulence during the pandemic back in 2020. Some orders were canceled due to a budget shift in government agencies from the original purchase to Covid-19 handling. He once produced 10 as ordered but only five were paid. There has been a significant decrease in sales turnover, i.e. 70% leaving only 30% to amass.

It was a hard time when he had to temporarily lay off some of his employees due to the pandemic. By 2022, CV Berkah Bopo's business has gradually improved. While the turnover is not yet 100 percent compared to that before the pandemic, the business is getting normal while employees are rehired.

For his dedication and optimism in managing the gamelan production business that has contributed to cultural preservation as well as opening up employment opportunities, Fajar was awarded Satu Indonesia Awards (SIA) by PT Astra International, Tbk. He was among other recipients of the prestigious award presented annually and named a Youth Conservator of Gamelan Musical Instruments in Boyolali at the Provincial Level in 2021 in the individual category in the field of entrepreneurship.

The optimistic Fajar to keep gamelan to the future (Photo: Daryono/

As far as Fajar is concerned, gamelan will thrive in the modern day and will continue to exist in the future because it can actually be played creatively with other modern musical instruments. If the younger generation remains apathetic about their own cultural heritage, which proves to be valuable and highly acclaimed internationally, it is just a matter of time before identity loss occurs.

From Fajar we learn that running a business that generates profit doesn't have to look modern or fancy. With gamelan production, he has done something beneficial for people in the neighborhood economically. What's more important is that his business dealing is a creative way of preserving cultural heritage before it is claimed by another country or lost in time.