Jazz Gunung 2010 : The Report

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Hong ulun basuki langgeng. That’s the warm welcome greetings of Tengger tribe that greeted us once again at Jazz Gunung 2010, which was held last Saturday, July 3, 2010 at Tengger Mountain.  Again this event gave a very different nuance of enjoying jazz event in a very special location with heavenly view. Last year the attendances had experienced the amazing feeling of jazz being served high up on the mountain. This year it appeared once again with another success.  Bringing the tagline, “Cool Music, Fresh Air” or in Indonesian they referred as “Lebih Asik, Lebih Segar” (“Cooler, Fresher”) was a pefect way to describe what we experienced up there. How often do we have jazz event being held on the mountain? Java Banana Lodge located above 2000 meters (approximately 6500 feet) from the sea level. Clear blue sky, fresh cold weather and stunning landscapic scenery gave a very different nuance for every attendances to enjoy jazz in a new way.

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Following the success of the first Jazz Gunung last year, this time the lineup was filled with some groups that were fully prepared to join the beautiful nature. Balawan and Batuan Ethnic Fusion, Syaharani & Donny Suhendra of ESQI:EF along with its other personnels, C Two Six (C26) Surabaya, Androginn from Malang Jazz Forum and Monday Night band from Yogyakarta. They were all ready to present their music on the open yard full with green grass. The audiences were spread all over the open space, with some wooden seats provided for the VIPs. The decoration was made to match the enviroment, using bamboos that looked so perfectly matched with the palm trees and mountain view from a far. What an unforgettable location it was. It was magic.

Jazz Gunung 2010 (9)The artiste Butet Kartaredjasa hosted the event together with Djaduk Ferianto. The sky was filled with dark blue color since the afternoon, and everything was perfect to start the show. It all came from Sigit Pramono‘s idea. As a big jazz fans and photographer, he found his calling to “re-brand” the Bromo tourist’s site. So why not making it big with a very special jazz concert, so the world would know that Bromo is not only a perfect place to watch the sunrise, but you can actually enjoy a lot of other things as well. Sigit Pramono took this year’s event as the chance to launch his new book with Gunawan Muhammad titled “Perpetual Reminder”. It’s a book of collaboration between Sigit’s photographs and Gunawan’s poems.  The traditional ensemble Jathilan opened up the show, followed by TDT Percussion (C26) from Surabaya. They brought some folk Banyuwangi songs such as “Bulan Andhung-Andhung”, “Ojo Cilik Ati” and “Gelang Alit.”

I Wayan Balawan has been known as a very special musician with unbelievable skill and strong concept. He’s very gifted, determinded and persistent. His skill could be categorized as “magic”. He could use 8 fingers from both hands to play bass, chords and the melody single handedly. His speed is unbelievable, yet with that speed he could still bring a clear sound. For Jazz Gunung 2010 he brought the band he established long time ago just after he finished his scholarship in Sydney, the band he called Batuan Ethnic Fusion.

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Balawan and Batuan Ethnic Fusion started with “Jayaprana dan Layonsari”, a stunning fusion embedded with Balinese nuance using gamelan that matched his dancing fingers on the fret. The crowds got stunned with his amazing speed. Before he continued to the next song, Balawan asked the audiences what they wanted to hear. “Do you want the slow  or hot ones?” he said. And the crowds responded, asking Balawan to bring it even hotter. And Balawan gave out 7 more songs. In the middle of his performance, Balawan shared a story of how gamelan could match the fingering speed on guitar. He shared the secret of what he did. He divided one part of standard bar into two, which played by two gamelans, filling up each other to complete the whole bar just like what Balawan played on his guitar.

Even with those 7 songs and a drizzling rain pouring from the sky, the crowds still asked for more. Amazingly the crowds still sat on the open space. Balawan didn’t want to dissapoint us all, so he gave another song as an encore.

Jazz Gunung 2010 (10)Luckily the rain stopped quickly. Djaduk and Butet came on and said that jazz is an open music that can always welcome any kinds of other musics to blend with it. Androginn from Malang Jazz Forum was next. Androginn is a campus band. They compare themselves to rainbow, to express their freedom in exploring the music. In specific, Androginn based their music on swing standard and fusion. It’s the combination between the music and a vocal harmony quartet. They started with The Manhattan Transfer‘s “To You”. They continued on bringing some pop songs turned to jazz such as Andra & the Backbone‘s “Sempurna” and Dewa‘s “Risalah Hati”.

As it started to get darker when the sun began to hide behind the mountain, more attendances arrived on scene, including the Regent of Probolinggo. Djaduk Ferianto went on collaborating with a gamelan ensemble “Wargo Budoyo” with the personnels consists of farmers of Tengger mountain. They gave a cool repertoire, “Merenung Sedakep Gunung”, the one that he prepared for 2 days exclusively for Jazz Gunung.

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After the sun fully dissapeared and the night went colder, “Monday Night” from jazz community in Yogyakarta got their chance. The name “Monday Night” was taken from their “ritual” to gather every Monday night at Bentara Budaya to discuss and performing jam session. They called it “Jazz Mben Senen”. Monday Night heated up the stage with the nuance of swing and bossa nova. They brought some fresh re-arrangement of popular songs including Chrisye‘s “Aku Cinta Dia” and Sade‘s “Smooth Operator”. As it felt more colder, the organizers brought some small furnaces to set the fire to warm the audiences. Monday Night continued on with some more songs such as the classic bossa track “Corcovado” that tells a story about the beauty of a mountain in central Rio de Janeiro, located in Tijuca Forest. The Beatles“Come Together” came in as more audiences filled up the space, while some local people stood behind the fences watching the performance.

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Jazz Gunung 2010 (24)Then it was time for Syaharani and Donny Suhendra of ESQI:EF to perform. Syaharani wore long pants and sweater to heat herself in the cold weather. (Check out what Syaharani said about Jazz Gunung at our exclusive interview with her). Donny Suhendra appeared funky wearing a leather jacket and a head band. But soon he opened them because Donny got warmed with his own play. Syaharani made the audience felt comfortable fast as usual. After the first song, she sang the last song from ESQI:EF’s brand new album“Anytime” entitled  “Picnic to the Sky” attractively. She asked the audiences to sing along and clapped their hands. The crowds followed enthusiastically. The icy-cold weather didn’t seem to stop the audiences from enjoying ESQI:EF that night. Iwano Coconut gave out a cool percussion play that made the crowds popped. For the third song, Syaharani brought a song taken from the first album, “Kemareen”. Jazz Gunung 2010 (35)They played it more danceable, and the crowds started to dance with it, or tapping their feet the least. The next song was “Katakan”, a song about someone who fall in love but don’t have the guts to express it yet. Then a famous Nat King Cole’s song, “L-O-V-E” appeared, and everyone sang together. The hit single from the brand new album “Anytime” followed. “Sayang Sayang Sayang”, that’s the song that now becomes more and more popular among the music listeners. Syaharani asked the Regent of Probolinggo to sing together. The lovely bossa-feel title track “Anytime” became the next song, followed by Bee Gees‘ collection. “De-Dia” which re-appeared in the brand new outfit in the second album was made as a surprise. With this song, Syaharani asked the audiences to dance while leading them to perform a “long-train” dancing. It was cool and fun! 10 songs were done by Syaharani, Donny Suhendra and the rest of the band. Syaharani called Djaduk Ferianto and Balawan to join her on “Bermain Api”. The crowds still asked for more, and Syaharani called the Batuan Ethnic Fusion personnels to join them. Bringing the mystical “kecak” (Balinese dance), the crowds reached their climax, and the Jazz Gunung 2010 finally ended.

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Jazz Gunung 2010 (36)Djaduk and Butet told us that there will be the third Jazz Gunung next year, scheduled on July 2, 2011 featuring Dwiki Dharmawan, Tohpati and the superband Krakatau. Butet also stated that Jazz Gunung could actually be presented on the other mountains as well, whether it’s in Indonesia or abroad. “Jazz is the choice because it can represent the meaning and spirit of the society really well.” said Djaduk. While Syaharani said “Jazz Gunung is a brilliant concept, beautiful and unique.” About the cold weather Donny Suhendra said it actually made him even more comfortable, just like in air conditioned room. Our thanks and salute to all the performers, Sigit Pramono, Djaduk Ferianto and the rest of the organizers including WartaJazz for making this unique event in the beautiful landscapic nature came real. We hope to see you next year in Jazz Gunung 2011.

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Destina Kawanti
Photographer: Poetoe Surya
Editor: Riandy Kurniawan

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