Ebiet G. Ade — Menjaring Matahari — English Translation

Ebiet G. Ade — Menjaring Matahari — English Translation

(To Catch the Sun)

Ebiet G. Ade — Menjaring Matahari — English Translation

(To Catch the Sun)

This is one of Ebiet’s more melanochic songs, played on the piano and accompanied by a violin. It’s quite poetic and difficult to explain or even translate.

Kabut, sengajakah engkau mewakili pikiranku?
Fog, do you intend to represent my mind.

Pekat, hitam berarak menyelimuti matahari
Dark, flock of black clouds covering the sun

aku dan semua yang ada di sekelilingku
I and everything around me

merangkak menggapai dalam gelap
Crawling to reach(get something) within the darkness

Mendung, benarkah pertanda akan segera turun hujan?
Cloudy, does it mean it will rain soon?

Deras, agar semua basah yang ada di muka bumi
Heavy rain, everything on the earth will get wet

siramilah juga jiwa kami semua
Watering also all of our souls

yang tengah dirundung kegalauan
Which (referring to our souls) is afflicted with feeling blue

Roda jaman menggilas kita terseret tertatih-tatih
The era passes us (time passes by), unsteady walk

sungguh hidup terus diburu berpacu dengan waktu
life is constantly being hunted against time

tak ada yang dapat menolong selain yang di sana
No one can help except for the one

tak ada yang dapat membantu selain yang di sana
No one can help except for the one

Dialah Tuhan — Dialah Tuhan
It’s god, it’s god


The title means literally catching the sun, the sun can also represent the light or hope, jaring means net, (i.e. a net is used to catch fish).

The song starts off by addressing “the fog” (kabut). Sengaja (meaning intentionally) is turned into a question by the suffix “kah”, engkau is a poetic synonym to kamu (you), mewakili means to represent, pikir means to think, by adding the suffix -an it becomes a noun, pikiran means thought or mind.

Pekat means concentrated or dark, hitam berarak describes the moving of the black (cloud). In an Indonesian tropical context, fogs and clouds often come together, and fog is seen as a lower cloud (awan rendah).

Merangkak (to crawl) menggapai (to reach) dalam gelap (within darkness). It implies he’s crawling to reach the sun in the darkness.

Mendung (cloudy), benarkah (is it true, suffix -kah) pertanda (sign), segera (soon) turun hujan (rain). Turun means down, or fall, and is used together with hujan to describe falling rain. The sentence asks if the sign is true that it will rain soon.

Tengah literally the middle, in this case it refers to the present. So “yang tengah” = at the time/ in the process of (kamu tengah mengetik=you’re typing)

Roda jaman (wheel era) is an idiom for an era or time period, It is passing by us (menggilas literally means grind or run over), terseret means dragging. So, you tried to follow the era, but you can’t follow it so your walk becomes unsteady, staggered.

Yang di sana (the one over there) is an idiom for God.

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