Braga Jazz Walk Special Edition: ROAD TO KITA INDONESIA! INDONESIAN JAZZ FESTIVAL 2015: The Report



The fact that jazz music grows so much wider in Indonesia nowadays is amazing. You can tell from many jazz events in big scale as well as in small scale are spread evenly around Indonesia. Café, Mall, Convention Hall, and outdoor area are all creatively used as venue for events so it can reach out many people as possible to come and see jazz performances. The organizer of jazz events is also diverse. Big promotor, university student, or a collaboration between a mall, music school, and online media like us also happily join the vibe to serve a jazz event.

The multiplicity in process to produce a jazz event indeed makes the event itself colorful and distinguish one to another. There are gigs where you can see a lot international jazz musician, or maybe both international and Indonesian, or an event contains only Indonesian performers The last one goes to the upcoming INDONESIA JAZZ FESTIVAL 2015. Consistently gives all stages for our own musicians,  this festival is emphasizing on the nationalism spirit as well as providing more chance for national musicians to rest their case. After the premiere in 2013, the second Indonesia Jazz Festival (IJF) comes back again this year later in the end of August at Istora Senayan, Jakarta.

Right at the first day of August, a great collaboration emerged. As usual, together with Braga CityWalk and KPH Music School combine their enthusiasm in music and entertainment to serve jazz event once a month. After last successful joint effort with Java Jazz Festival in their pre-event, this time we got another opportunity to work together with IJF for ROAD TO KITA INDONESIA! INDONESIAN JAZZ FESTIVAL 2015 as a special edition of Braga Jazz Walk.

According to Jazzuality’s founder Riandy Kurniawan, the lineup was created in sync with the Indonesian Jazz Festival’s spirit. “We wanted to capture its spirit. We just had to have the lineup consists of jazz icon, legend, the band which carries strong Indonesian traditional music in their concept, a pop groovy band and of course, really young talents.” he said. If you look at the list of artists, you would see that instantly. We believe this pre-event could stand as a miniature in representing the main event at Istora Senayan, Jakarta on 29-30 August 2015. At this event, the committee sold their tickets 50% off and gained many buyers.

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At Center Stage Braga Citywalk, Bandung, this event started early around 4 pm with groups of angklung ensemble. Not long after that, a pop fusion group named Apel Manis delivered songs from Sammy Simorangkir’s “Masih Ada”, Justin Timberlake’s “Love Never Felt So Good”, “Sugar” to the recent hit, “Uptown Funk”. Ayub (vocal), Debby vocal) Adi (guitar), M. Yusuf (guitar), Ramadhony (keyboard)  and Haidar (drum) gave a solid appearance in the afternoon.

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As more people came in, GFRtrio ft. Erick Gabe then took over the stage. This band has just suffered from losing its leader, Guntur Satria who passed away a couple of months ago at the age of 21. Most of the band will collapse and stop their journey, but amazingly GFRtrio decided to move on. The new chapter of GFRtrio consists of original members Farhan Faikar (bass) and Raka Rizkyandi (drums) plus two fresh players: bluesman Ijay Irawan, and vocalist Erick Gabe. Erick said like they usually do, jamming was their concept this time. This is the advantage of jazz, you can improvise as much as you like and have fun. In their act, they took jazz music as spirit not as genre. This is the reason why they could freely mixed it up with blues and other genres. “”I Feel Good” dragged more audience, then the song written by the late Guntur, “#2” was given in naughty blues. Ello’s “Gadisku”, and “Route 66” were the last drops from them.

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Promising new beginning for GFRtrio we should say, we hope they can keep climbing to the top. After that,  a crossover group that has bassist Jalu Rohanda, guitarist Arief Ginanjar and singer Dian, plus angklung and kendang player came afterward and gave us chill with their Sundanese tunes along with some today’s chart toppers in ethnic coated music.

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A group of boys and girls in their teenager phase work their talents in such a positive way is surely an inspiration. The Teens, formerly known as MY Kids joined the club and with no doubt gave their best all out and captivated our eyes. Luis Anastasia (vocal), Adam Gassor, Korin Werlina, Miguel Thomas (guitars), Yugo Junianto (guitar/percussion), Panji Saptadesta (bass), Brilliant Yosef (drums), Ferdiant Joshua (keyboard) are the personnels of this newborn group .Interesting thing about jazz for them is the difficulty, they consider it as challenge. “1000 Tahun Lamanya”, Yura Yunita’s hits “Balada Sirkus”, and Citra Scholastika’s “Aku Pasti Bisa” were delivered fine and showed their true quality. Their road is still long and school still is their priority but they have found their talents so early and radiated in good way. From what we see, they improve a lot, especially the vocalist Luis. If before she used falsetto to reach high notes, this time she demonstrated her new ability to use power in going up. As a unit, they played calmer and connected. We will be their supporter and can’t wait to see this teens blossom out with their musical skill.

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Six young fellows fast caught the attention with their ear-catching name, MotionVibe. Groove, soul, R n B, and beatbox are their secret weapons to quickly climb up the ladder and get themselves known among people. Embracing soul pop jazz genre, the band actually moved fast by having single already. For this event MotionVibe appeared in the alternate formation. Farhan and Raka were there, but they got help from Bhisma Jaya Prasaja (keyboard) and Hendike Yao (saxophone). They added surprise for this gig, Rizka Adlina Veriza, a  young nightingale came along with them and stole the crowd. Renee Olstead’s “A Love That Will Last” and Joss Stone’s “Tell Me ‘Bout It” were triumphantly played. Rizka does have a lovely voice. She is current with today’s music trend, she is beautiful and knows what kind of fashion suits her. Tonight she wore bohemian fashion style that gave her even stronger character. We believe she can be the next top female singer if she wants to. As for the band, not the original formation came tonight, yet they were rock solid.

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Let’s move forward to another star from young generation, West Funk Rhythm. A group with four talented people greet us with their first song, two of Chick Corea’s hits, continued with two of John Coltrane’s masterpiece. They were formed from a rhythm class and mentored by a senior drummer Eddy Syakroni. “Looking at the way his students play prove one thing: Eddy is not only a great drummer but great teacher as well.” said Syaharani.  Young lions Rio Fritz Torang Siahaan (piano), Chika Olivia (piano), Hafiz Aga Anshari (bass) and the sensational 13 year-old drummer, Bima Adhitama Suradji played like an experienced jazz band much mature than their age. What also makes us glad is that eventhough they served pure jazz, they got good crowds as well. Since Chika is going to Berklee College of Music soon, we still don’t know how the band will do. But we hope they will find the way to keep going, because they play really good. Happy to be able to feature them.

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Lantun Orchestra came up on stage and attractively gave us distinctive sounds to listen to. A perfect combo between traditional, Batavian keroncong to be exact and modern tunes, presented in funny theatrical concept. Dressing in Batavian traditional style, the intro from Si Doel Anak Sekolahan mixed with Benyamin S’ “Ondel Ondel” cheerfully opened the performance. The vintage atmosphere felt wonderful with “Kicir Kicir”.  Next, their new single “Si Mei-Mei” that took us into the old Indonesian Chinese keroncong music. Imagine jazz musicians playing this, imagine the rich sound when trumpet, flute, violin and kendang go hand in hand with bass, guitar and piano. The founder Chaka Priambudi on bass and Nesia Ardi on vocal, Tiyo Alibasjah (guitar), Donny Prasetyo (keyboard), Armiya Husein (flute),  Iyus (trumpet), Dika Chasmala (violin), Arman Chaniago (percussion) and M Rizky (accordion) successfully attracted people inside the mall, dragging them to their show and made everyone happy. With “Tahu Tempe” they sealed their show.

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Established in 2013, maybe now they haven’t recognized well, but they surely have dazzled our heart and ear with their pure passion and love toward Indonesia’s rich musical heritage. For us Lantun Orchestra is considered not only unique, but also important and urgently needed in terms of preserving our rich local cultural heritage in such creative way. They bring the authentic sound just as the way it should be but somehow suits today’s style of music. Entertaining theatrical stage act should be added too as one of the most interesting new concept at present time. Look at how many happy crowds they got in Bandung. Since Indonesian Jazz Festival is made under the spirit of nationalism, this band becomes important and relevant to participate in this pre event. For everything they bring, we think it’s safely said their kind of music truly represents the spirit of IJF.

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The gang of Syaharani, Donny Suhendra, Bekti Sudiro and Eddy Syakroni came up last. It was our pleasure to see a performance from half part of ESQI:EF’s founder and was charmed with Syaharani’s appearance. What a bless to see such big name still gives her support toward jazz community. Syaharani and the band began with a medley containing “Buat Kamu”, “Anytime”, “Selalu ada Cinta”,  each represents ESQI:EF albums from first to third. Then Syaharani sang one of her latest hits “Arisan Hujan” and for the first time ever sang a gem from 1942 “There Will Never Be Another You”.  Reminding us of the first album, the team gave “De’Dia”.

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What an honour for us to have the legendary jazz musician, Idang Rasjidi coming to this event. Syaharani knew that too, and called Idang to join her. Under the chant from the crowds, Idang willingly agreed to participate. He walked on to the stage and gave cool mouth trumpet, guitar and scatting for a start. Then he took position on piano, together they played “Route 66” in jamming spirit. The last song was ESQI:EF’s first song for the third album written back in 2010, “Morning Coffee”. This high energy, rock ‘n roll tune sealed this pre event just a couple of minutes before 11 pm.

Enjoyable, intimate, colorful genre, full house crowd, are things you will find everytime you watch Syaharani and friends on stage. Just like fine wine, Syaharani’s voice absolutely getting better with age. Crowds still coming during her show. Shouts, chants, loud clappings and plenty of sing-along created such a joyful vibe. Her friendly and interactive approach while performing, including her ‘signature’ of sitting on the edge of the stage brought every audience closer to her, more than one could ever imagine. It’s an honour for us to have Syaharani, Donny Suhendra, Eddy Syakroni and Bekti Sudiro in this event. Thank you folks!

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So many unforgettable moments happened in this IJF 2015 pre-event in Bandung. We got great happening, excited loud crowds, enjoying variety of jazz served nonstop for almost 7 hours. Every bands gave their best, creating triumphant performances that escalated this event, more than just a pre-event to be in a scale of mini jazz festival. We are happy with the result and hope to be able to make another one in the near future. If we can still have your supports like this one, why not?

As clearly as it’s written in the title, Indonesian Jazz Festival is a home for our beloved musicians to spread out their art, their love for music, and meet their loyal listeners. With the spirit of our Independence Day in August, IJF will goin bold with their red and white as you can see everywhere from their logo. 5 stages are going to give you the best night ever in two days in a row and you freely going around and choose which artists you will watch. As one of many pre-events of IJF, we are in great honor for being a witness for many skillful people, enjoyed their play, and had a great time. How much this event tempts you, fellas? Join the excitement! Mark your calendar in the end of August and don’t forget to catch your ticket soon. See you at Istora Senayan on August 29-30, 2015!

Watch the highlight of Braga Jazz Walk: Road to Kita Indonesia! Indonesian Jazz Festival 2015

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Reporter: Mellysa Anastasia
Photographer: Mia Damayanti Sjahir
Video Editor: Vierna Mariska Kurniawan