“Bengawan Solo,” a song about the Solo River in eastern Java, was first composed by Gesang Martohartono in 1940. Recorded as a Kroncong song, it became popular on Java during World War II.
Japanese soldiers then apparently brought the song back with them to Japan where a version was recorded by Toshi Matsuda in 1948.
Poon Sow Keng/Pan Xiuqiong 潘秀瓊, a Chinese singer from Malaya, then recorded the song in Hong Kong in 1957. This was followed by a version that Hong Kong singer, Koo Mei/Gu Mei 顧媚recorded:
Around this time Shanghai-born singer Rebecca Pan (Pan Dihua 潘迪華) also recorded a version:
In 1961, Chhun Vanna recorded a version in Cambodia:
Then there was a more upbeat version recorded by Indonesian-born Dutch singer Anneke Grönloh:
The Crescendos in Singapore gave it a pop twist:
And Poon Sow Keng/Pan Xiuqiong recorded another version in 1968:
Since that time, this song has been recorded many different times in many different ways, such as this bossa nova version by Japanese-Brazilian singer Lisa Ono:
And it continues to be performed:
Singers may come and go, but it looks like Bengawan Solo will probably last forever.