The Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has given Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo Metallica a vinyl box collection as a gift during a state visit at the Bogor Palace in Indonesia. The present came after the Indonesian head, also known as Jokowi, declared his admiration of metal music after being pictured wearing the British metal band, Napalm Death, t-shirts. Their critically acclaimed third album ‘Master of Puppets’ was presented as a diplomatic endowment, used to strengthen the relationship between the two distant countries. The Indonesian leader was lucky enough to have the record case signed by Lars Ulrich- the Danish drummer from the Napalm Death group. The Economist claims that Jokowi “has a penchant for loud rock music” and actually possessed a bass guitar signed by a member of Metallica. Lamb of God and Led Zeppelin are reportedly other metal groups that he is a fan of.

Napal Death is described as an extreme metal band that was initially formed in 1986 in England. They are accredited as being originators of the ‘grindcore’ genre, which is a fusion of ‘death metal’ and ‘crust punk’. Widodo was in attendance of a Metallica performance in 2013 and said afterwards that “I am happy and satisfied with the concert. No one got out of control. We showed them that Jakarta citizens are all dignified. We could rock the night away in an orderly fashion.” So, the 56-year-old is not just a passive fan of the music but someone who supposedly enjoys active participation through seeing live performances.

Napalm Death has a broadly humanist and socialist outlook, which can be allied to some of Jokowi’s positions, as he is looked upon as a relatively secular Prime Minister in a nation that is used to more authoritative  military chiefs. Widodo is a keen social media enthusiast and frequently uploads YouTube content and videos. The awarding of the present was shared across all social media platforms and tweeted by the Danish Prime Minister who stated that Jokowi was “eager to dig into his diplomatic gift”. The intersections between popular culture and politics are being increasingly used as marketing tools to solidify relations and uphold proposed ‘shared values’.

Article by Yohannes Lowe. 

George Millington