Serambi Jazz is on again this year! This is an event with important mission, to rejuvenate the mutual relationship between two great nations, Germany and Indonesia that had actually been established in 1967. Serambi Jazz was started last year, and successfully held some events in two month range with amazing achievements. It’s wonderful to see how these two nations can exchange the cultures with each other, especially in music. Jazzuality.com is honored to be involved in this important mission.
Riza Arshad, the curator of Serambi Jazz once stated in our exclusive interview that Serambi Jazz will always based on two things, the good quality of skill and the ability to give good education. Whether the artists are from Germany or Indonesia, they have to meet these two conditions. And we believe both will color up the selection for 2010 as well.
Carrying such an important mission, Serambi Jazz started strong with an outstanding group with a very unique concept, TUOMI. Led by German-Finnish vocalist Kristiina Tuomi with Carsten Daerr on piano and Carlos Bica on contra bass, the group gives a new signature in music, including jazz. First of all, Kristiina and Carsten started setting Shakespeare’s sonnets to music while studying jazz together in Berlin. Then the Portuguese-born Carlos Bicca added a splash to complete this trio. So here, we have the combination of German poetic art with Nordic spirit. We have the special blend of poetry and music, strengthening the on-going love affair that has always been on romanticly over the centuries.
Tuomi’s debut album, “Tightrope Walker” had received critically acclaimed for opening a new horizon of music and poetry, and this was followed by the next album “The Expense of Spirit”, which proved once and for all that Tuomi is not only about putting on song recitals with accompaniment, but it’s also about congenial trio at work. With a unique blend of Scandinavian folk, jazzy pop, Shakespeare-inspired art song and Mediterranean Saudade, this group emerged as a highly creative trio with strong concept. Not only Shakespeare’s sonnets, but they also inspired by Edgar Allan Poe‘s poems and Rainer Maria Rilke‘s poetic writings. Placing it into wide horizon of music, then you got the remarkable TUOMI‘s style, such style that will be difficult to find from any other artists. You’ll feel the spirit of Kate Bush and Sting in their presentation, and it was fascinating. For me, it’s not an easy task to interpret poetical lyrics and fit them into certain melodies. We’ve seen The Doors did it brilliantly back in the late 60’s, then some of the artists had tried it over the next decades. But many of these artists didn’t have it as their main menu. Here’s TUOMI taking this path daringly and I must say that they did it very, very well.
And what a night it was in Bandung when we entered the hall of Bumi Sangkuriang. The rain was just stopped pouring, the weather was cool enough to enjoy the great jazz. Riza Arshad stood in front welcoming everyone and explained about the program. “It’s great to share this excitement to Bandung”, he said. Then it was time for Kristiina Tuomi, Carsten Daerr and Carlos Bica to be on stage.
“Two of One” was the first song. It’s a very beautiful song taken from their album “Tightrope Walker”. It was mind blowing, very dreamy and lovely. Kristiina voice was in full control, strong, seducing, smoothly streamed along Carsten’s piano and Carlos’ rhythm on bass. For the next song, “Golden Brown”, Carlos started it by using bow on his upright bass while Carsten scrambling the melody. It was another meditative song served chilled in a very imaginary tunes. Carsten’s play didn’t stop on the keys but he also went on the hard strings inside his piano as well. Then “Hide and Seek” came up. Carsten made the melody felt like chasing with his fingers. It was nice indeed, as the crowds gave another big applause for them.
Carsten moved on pianica to start the next song, before he came back to his piano. Kristiina gave a perfect control on her voice once again with the song entitled “Bridal Ballad”, with the lyrics taken from Edgar Allan Poe‘s poem that he wrote in 1837 . A very nice version of The Police/Sting‘s song “King of Pain” came next. Kristiina poured her heart once again to bring the song alive. It was like a poetic story tale wrapped in melody, in a style that only TUOMI could deliver. They kept on experimenting on the melody, taking on some reggae rhythm in the middle. They continued with the next two songs, including “Staring Red Carpet”. Then Carsten introduced the next song, it was “Th’Expense of Spirit”, based on Shakespeare Sonnet 129 that also became the title for their second album. Again, it was mind blowing. The dark song that had a bit of hope in the end came next, it was again taken from Shakespeare’s sonnet entitled “Rid My Pain”. Huge applause once again came from the crowds who had been enjoying their presentation very much.
After “Tightrope Walker”, the last song appear, and it was taken from a lovely German poem written by Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the greatest poets in German language of the 20th century. It was “Liebes Lied” or in English it means “Love Song” that was brought in a very beautiful way. The three of them left the stage, but the crowds wanted more. Kristiina and friends came on stage again and brought “Carlos” as the encore. Sadly the concert reached the end. Standing applause from the audiences proved how we all love their performance.
As music is universal, we are happy to see Serambi Jazz continuously bridging the relationship between Germany and Indonesia through music, especially jazz. We might have different language, culture or tradition, but we can always find something in common through music. This is the program that we believe could establish the new strong bound between two great nations. We are also delighted to see such a quality music and ideas from a remarkable trio. It was stunning and successfully proved that actually poetry and music can blend together in harmony. Meditative, dreamy, heartfelt, poetic, served in nice blends of experimental jazz, folk, and some of new age delightful style. What a stunning performance by TUOMI, and we’re glad to have the chance to see a new experience in music like this in Bandung, a city that always known to have solid jazz community. Don’t forget that TUOMI will perform again at GoetheHaus Jakarta tonight (February 12, 2010) at 8:30 PM, follows by the workshop from February 15 to 19, 2010 also at GoetheHaus. We thank Serambi Jazz to bring this high quality event to Bandung, the great TUOMI or Kristiina Tuomi Trio and everyone else who participated in this program. We hope to see more of it in months to come.
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