LA Lights Java Soulnation Festival 2012 : Day 1 Report

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One of Indonesia’s biggest music festivals is back! LA Lights Java Soulnation Festival 2012 ready to feed your soul and this super September with a wide number of performances for three consecutive days (28, 29 and 30th) in the heart of Jakarta, Istora Senayan. Another masterpiece from Java Festival Production (JFP) presents this as a cross-cultural cooperation through music as its media and a variety of music and interest to deliver. This festival will be colored with more than 30 names from the archipelago and around the globe, ready to pump up five stages with rhymes, beats and tunes of soul, jazz, hip hop, RnB, rap and a whole lot of mixtures of other genres.

From the beginning Java Soulnation Festival has been set to serve a blazing urban party right in the heart of Jakarta. You can picture yourself standing amongst hundreds of thousands where colorful hues of music hit you from all corners. Then when you look up, you’ll notice many skycrapers surrounding you. This kind of feeling is magical. Step aside of any particular genre, you can always have great time by listening to variety of modern urban sound. That’s what we always feel whenever we attend this festival, the same feeling thousands of music lovers should feel too.

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[flickr id=”8032430705″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Opening performances for Day One included Indonesia’s sweetheart, Calvin Jeremy and Stereomantic on separate stages.  Well known with his hit debut “Dua Cinta Satu Hati”, Calvin Jeremy spreads the young spirit among the crowd with his fresh pop splash jazz. This duo, deriving its name from “Stereo” and “Romantic”, also took over the Juice Maverick Stage with a fresh start to the opening of the festival. This electro indie pop duo from Jakarta consisting of Maria Ferrari and Aroel, performing their studio album titled “Cyber Superstar” which sends us a message of the brief story of their four-year journey as a duo. They also created their second album in 2011, exclusively not for sale yet releasing it for free download on the internet. Creating a unique atmosphere with their creative way in presenting their music, the crowd just couldn’t resist them.

Java Soulnation sets its intention to gather round many artists from many ranges of age young and elder and sets of different genres into a stage where capital F.U.N and music collaborate to greet the audience who are in it to enjoy it!

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In 2009, Muhammad Ibnu Rafi or known as Rafi, created a group named  Rafi and The Beat, producing an album titled “Music from Our Soul” in 2011, making it into the AMI Awarsds nomination for the best RnB/Soul music production.  Later on in 2012,  Rafi and The Beat went through a change of members adding Felix into the group and deciding to change their name by adding a touch of “experience” behind it  to Rafi and The Beat Experience due to the many experiences they’ve went through with their first album and that was the leap of making them a better group. They didn’t only make changes in name, but they also started something new in the music they played. If they were known better for their Rnb/Soul back then, now they have expanded their beats to a range of hip hop and jazz. They’re music are said to be mostly inspired by Robert Glasper Experiment, The Roots and J Dilla. Their latest formation of Muhammad Ibnu Rafi (Drums), Felix Haryono (Guitar), Kevin Yosua (Bass/Kontra Bass), Abram Lembono (Piano), Andre Rugebregt (MC Rap) and Dimaz Pramadhyana (Vocal/Rap) and additional players Jordy Revilian (Trumpet), Yohanes (Guitar) and Gerry Blaze (DJ).

[flickr id=”8032724600″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] If previously they expressed their music through soul, Funk, and RnB, this year at Java Soulnation 2012, they served a little more of jazz and hip-hop on their plate with a list of songs including their introduction with “Dig It! (The Experience) followed by “Electric Relaxation” and “Never Stop Lovin”. They also blew the crowd with a good beat of “How I Got Over” and “Gibberish”. This group also did collaborations with Izzo and Kyriz Boogiemen who is known for his unique rapping style in a dominant style of jazz with “Show Me What You Got”. If your ears are more than just the music and more into the lyrics, “You’re Not My Girl” and “How I Got Over” were a great treat for those going through some hard times. What surprised us on this year’s stage was an appearance from Java Soulnation’s (also Java Jazz Festival and Java Rockin’ Land) Festival Director, EQ Puradiredja who featured along in “Coba Sekali”. As a member of Humannia, EQ surely knew how to deal with the big stage and Rafi and The Beat Experience knew how to bring their beats along with all that. This was a moment and great experience for this group adding many more special moments to their list and also ours as the audience. A little hint, Rafi and the Beat Experience is preparing their second album, make sure to grab one when it’s released.

[flickr id=”8032683183″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Enlivening the Wonderful Indonesia Stage, Theme Park, an indie pop-soul of three including Marcus Haughton, Miles Haughton and Oscar Manthrope. As informed on the LA Lights Java Soulnation’s official website, they are proud to present these up-coming and talented newcomers to festivals such as this. Also delivering their latest single “Jamaika” they successfully proved their performance as entertaining as their name. They also performed their make-you-wanna-dance tracks “Holland”, “A Mountain We Love” and “Milk”. Youtube sensations, Gamaliel, Audrey & Cantika also put their soul into their performance. Starting off from their creativity and video covers uploaded onto the social network and having thousands of views, these talented youngsters made their way up in the music industry with their beautiful and characteristic voices. Last year we caught them at the same event, this time once again these youngsters proved that they do have quality.

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Still from the same stage, Wisnu! Not too familiar with the name? Well, Wisnu Witono Adhi was born and raised in Indonesia and moved to Norway for educational purposes. With his color of RnB and soulful voice, he entered Norwegian Idol and made a terrific achievement, making it as a finalist in the top five. Now he’s back in his motherland to explore the music scene with his easy listening tracks “Love Like That”, an energetic track “Follow Me” and voice from the soul with “Me, Myself and I”. With this kind of voice and creativity in writing songs, no doubt at all Wisnu will boost up the Indonesian music scene in no time. We won’t be surprise if one day he will stand among the top of international superstars.

[flickr id=”8033209967″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”small” group=”” align=”left”] On a similar path, strolling down the same lane, both away from home, expanding careers in music and experience in music contests, Sandhy Sondoro who spellbinded the Indosat Stage with his soothing yet powerful performance. His ability to have the crowd stop, stare and listen to his voice is always one of his prominences in his performances. Having experience in many stages national and worldwide through musical strands of jazz and soul, Sandhy Sondoro is presently one of Indonesia’s finest male solo singers around. We still remember when Dianne Warren gave him a standing applause and then brought him to perform abroad. That’s the magic [flickr id=”8033318774″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] talent possessed by this man and he possessed the crowd with “Always On The Run”, “Why Don’t We” and “What’s Going On”. We can see how Java Soulnation gives the opportunity for young talents in the music industry to release what they have and show the crowd what they’ve got through their own one-of-a-kind genres.

Meanwhile, the Juice Maverick Stage was also full of people waiting to see the rapper, Optimuzt. Listening to him, resounds the influence of Rakaa Iriscience, Nas, and Mos Def. Also N.I.C.K. and the DJ dubstep format of 24/7 Crew: Sanjion (UK) & Mils (Australia), taking part in expanding the dubstep growth in Jakarta. Drum n’ Bass MC , Sanjion and the 247 crew also continue to push the pure London backgrounds of bassline music for all to enjoy.

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Spice Girls Experience we could say is a breakthrough of creativity in this year’s Java Soulnation. Lala Karmela (Ginger Spice), Sashi Gandarum (Sporty Spice), Jemima (Scary Spice), Emily Laras (Baby Spice) and Renita (Posh Spice) delivered something out of the box. Yep, the names ring a bell? Well, Sashi Gandarum, vocalist of Drew which previously performed at Just Jazz 2012, came up with idea to create this concept and sent forward the message to the program director of Soulnation which was happily accepted. Together with Jemima (Soulnation 2011), Lala Karmela (Singer and songwriter), Renita (Maliq n d’Essentials backing vocalist) and Emily (Newcomer in Indonesia’s music scene), they took the audience to a flashback of the 90’s! Not only did they sing tracks from this all-time UK girl band such as “Spice Up Your Life”, “Stop”, “Everything”, “Too Much” and “Viva Forever”, but they also dressed up and each performed their own role of the Spice Girls, Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, and Geri Halliwell. Even in the song “Mama”,  the member’s moms were also standing in the crowd singing along with them, a heart-to-heart moment. They even presented precise choreography which was a triple highlight of their performance and even a special concept of performing songs from the songs that were created after each of the Spice Girls had left the group and went solo with their own singles. A special appearance from Yacko also amazed the crowd when she did her rap session together with Sporty Spice’s part of the song “Never Be the Same Again” which was originally featuring Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes. The marvelous backdrop of photos and lighting also lit up the stage together with the band players called Spice Boys consisting of Harris Pranowo (Keyboards), Kitut Sinjingu (Keyboards), Rishanda (Bass), Reno Castello (Guitar), Rayendra Sunito (Drum) and Dito (Perkusi). All having experience in performing, these five women spiced up the night with a rare and rawr-ing experience! As Jemima says “We want the audience to have the experience of watching the real Spice Girls” and if you ask the audience about that statement, you would’ve gained many “We sure did!” and satisfied smiles on their faces.

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Java Soulnation 2011’s  Soulmate, a duo consisting of Ade and Bowo are also back this year. They have taken part in many events such as Java Jazz, JakJazz, Folk Song Festival in Beijing and many more. Homogenic was also back on stage again this year with their electro-lounge taking away the crowd with a relaxing atmosphere along with “Happy Without You” and “Destiny”.
Backalley, on the Tebs stage embellished the night with their songs. A formation of Dhydha Maryudha (Vocal), Adhe Arrio (Synth), Gerry (Guitar), Rayan (Bass), Isar (Midi Controller), and Dimas (Drum) feasted our ears with easy listening and catchy tunes including their newest video lyric song “Andaikan”.

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LA Lights Main Stage went wild with screams of enthusiasm calling out Oklahoma’s vocal group who still has their own loyal fans in Indonesia after all these years, Color Me Badd. Back then, this group had 4 members: Bryan Abrams, Mark Calderon, Sam Watters and Kevin Thornton before they got disbanded in 1998. Later on they returned as a duo and now they are ready to continue the journey as trio with Brian, Mark and Kevin due to the previous moment of Kevin’s leave serving as a ministry but he received calls from his friends asking him to come back and how he could say no, as a result now we have them back to the trio. Before starting their performance, their DJ gave an introduction of the famous 90’s hip hop to build a lifting atmosphere amongst the crowd. Then they hit it with their rnb, new jack swing, and soulful tracks from their early years such as “All for Love”, “Time and Change”, “I Adore Mi Amor”, “Forever Love” and “No Diggity. They even gave an acapella round at “Somebody is Calling My Name” and continued on with “Slow Motion”, “To Proud to Beg”, “Choose”, “Earth Sun and The Rain”, “Close to Heaven”. They sang their last song of the night “I Wanna Sex You Up” which sure put a lot of color for their crowd with almost a never ending applause. Ending day one of Java Soulnation 2012, on three separate stages were Jay Sean, Hercules and Love Affair and Horney Browney. Some might’ve forgotten that they had one big hit “Forever Love” which was included in Mo Money’s OST. We asked about it at the press conference and they gladly replied “You wanna hear it tonight? Well of course we are excited about it and so was every one in the crowd.

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Jay Sean, born with an Indian background name, Kamaljit Singh Jhooti, is actually a British singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and beatboxer. He took away the crowd with “Eyes on You”, “Ride It”, “Maybe” and “Break Your Back” and even his song way back years ago in Punjabi “Dance With You” (Tere Naal Nachna).  His energetic stage act and ability to sing and dance had the crowd go wild and he even recorded the crowd singing his newest song on his phone “I’m All Yours” to be put up on Youtube and also a wild reaction from the crowd when he sang “Down”. Together on stage with the beatboxer and turntable they turned the stage into a party that was just too good to miss.

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As for Hercules and Love Affair, they are an international name coming from New York under the great performance of Andrew Butler, Kim Ann Foxman, Mark Pistel, Aerea Negrot, Shaun Wright and Nellyphant.  Bringing up a new frame of disco revolution and house music with “Blind” and “You Belong” getting everyone up and dancing with their music.

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And last but not least, as the closing act of day one was Horney Browney, serving party again in unique concept. If last year they created a theme of “Tribute to Funk” http://jazzuality.com/jazz-event-report/java-soulnation-festival-2011-tribute-to-funk/ with many supporting artists where they funk-tastically combined their funky bass line with elements of the turntable and rap as its vocal base, this time their back with a smaller team featuring Doni Joesran (Keys), Jordy (Trumpet), Rafi (Drums) and Dennis Junio (Saxophone) with more out-of-the box music, proving that music can blend in its own way and become a masterpiece. But who are the people behind this name? Yep, Barry Likumahuwa (Bass), DJ Cream (DJ) and Kyriz Boogiemen (Rap). Realize it or not, they all actually have a same thing in common! They’ve all marked their footprints in the music scene, including jazz and funk. Kyriz Boogiemen as a rapper but also having many experiences in jazz scenes such as Urban Jazz Crossover 2012, Java Jazz Festival  and The 5th ASEAN Jazz Festival. We can’t forget him rapping legendary Indonesian jazz names  too in one of LLW song “Stretch N Pause”.  The world’s renowned deejay, DJ Cream with his urban and house beats has also collaborated with many artists such as Maliq n d’Essentials, Glenn Fredly, Dewi Sandra, Sandhy Sondoro, Mayla Fayza and Indra Lesmana. Last but not least, Barry Likumahuwa who plays his bass music under the roots of jazz but certainly capable to stretch his horizon to reach the other musical baselines.

We surely acknowledged how the rap/hiphop songs love to use samples of old(er) songs. Based on this, they decided to hold a ‘Sample Concept’ in creating an urban party on stage, delivering hits from Jay Z, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G, and other rap songs that base their samples on oldschools such as J-Lo and Jackson 5. So for those who missed out, they created samples by singing the original and then wrapping it up with the rap version. Cool enough? Wait, they even played non stop like a DJ scene yet this was a full band concept. Now that’s what you call an urban party !

It’s only been Day One and we’ve had a blast already, still ready for more music, more fun and more info? Well we will have the whole review of Day Two just for you so stay tuned on Jazzuality’s report on LA Lights Java Soulnation 2012!

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Khairiyah Sartika Syofian, Riandy Kurniawan, Daniel Irawan, Bintang Steffy Tania, Fardhani Ramadhana, Vierna Mariska
Photographer: Omar Arif Maulana, Praditya Nova, Dwi Ratri Utomo
Photo Editor: Ata Michaella

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