The Final Serambi Jazz 2011: Mian Tiara and Shadow Puppets Quartet: The Report

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Last Friday night was just like any Friday night. It was the end of working days for many people and they usually started looking for something to relieve themselves from stress and busiest days. Some chose to go to the malls, some to the parties, and some prefer to go home, enjoying the quality time with their family. The atmosphere of last Friday night was simply wonderful, almost full of joy. The same feeling we felt from the people who gathered in Dr. Sam Ratulangi Street, Jakarta, in front of the GoetheHaus to be precise. They all came to enjoy the final performance of Serambi Jazz‘ third year in service. Even in this final show for 2011 they just didn’t want to stop to amaze their fans. For three years, Riza Arshad as the curator has been giving his time and life for the growth of Indonesian jazz through this regular two-monthly event. He held workshops, cultural exchanges and concerts. Riza Arshad has been doing all the efforts in encougraging young talents so they could flourish in time. Yes, Serambi Jazz is an event that has managed to get many loyal audience by maintaining the quality and variety. During its journey, Serambi Jazz has produced and developed the opportunity for Indonesian musicians not only to get better chance and education, but also to open up the chance to be recognized by musicians from another country, especially from Germany. Riza Arshad shared his dream to us during the show: “I dream that Serambi Jazz won’t be only about workshop and concerts, I want it to be a place for jam session, where the foreign musicians can come and play with our local musicians”. It’s not just a dream, but he’s been doing so much to make it happen. We dare to say that Serambi Jazz has been a success. They have passed these three years by bearing many fruits and the good news is, they will continue the efforts for the fourth year.

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For this final edition of 2011, Serambi Jazz had prepared two alumnis of Serambi Jazz’ workshops, Shadow Puppets Quartet and Mian Tiara. Shadow Puppets Quartet was even born from the workshop (Henning Sieverts’ workshop in December 2009), when the personnels met and found their chemistry to one another. We were surprised to see that the contrabassist Indrawan Tjhin was replaced by his own student, Kevin Yosua in this concert. What shocked us more was when Denny Sakrie, the senior music observer and regular MC for Serambi Jazz informed us that Indrawan’s already resigned from the Shadow Puppet Quartet. We met Kevin Yosua and asked how he felt of joining the group.  “I only played with them once before this, and it was last Monday” said Kevin while laughing. “I was so nervous back there, but it was fun playing with them. You see, they are all senior musicians and I’m still new here, but yes, I had fun.” he continued. Whether he was nervous or not, he did great in replacing Indrawan on the acoustic big bass.

[flickr id=”6504758491″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”left”] Indrawan Tjhin becomes the second player that quits the band after the drummer Yusuf Shandy Satya a couple of months earlier. We missed them both, but the arrival of Sandy Winarta on drums and Kevin Yosua on bass will keep the band stay in shape during the stormy weather, joining the remaining original members, Irsa Destiwi and Robert Mulyarahardja. It’s not easy for the band to experience the turbulence like this, but at least we can see that the rest of the members plus the new players work hard to keep the band alive. We certainly hope for the band to pass the test, since Shadow Puppets Quartet is a promising band that we can keep our expectation high.

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The Shadow Puppets Quartet began with “Emoticons” a new composition written by Irsa Destiwi. The bopping tune filled the air, hypnotizing the crowds right from the start. Irsa, Robert, Kevin, and Sandy played in excellent harmony. Being familiar with each other as friends has helped them a lot in keeping up the connection on stage. “This formation is not final yet, but I hope we don’t have to change it. Playing with Sandy and Kevin is great, and I just want us to keep on being a Quartet, I don’t have any concept of a big band in the near future”, said Robert to us after the show.

[flickr id=”6504757795″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”left”] The next songs were “Unspoken Thoughts” and “Tune Color”. Just like the first song, the audiences loved it too. “our inspiration could come from everywhere, and we already hold the concept for our third album, I hope we could release it next [flickr id=”6504757259″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”right”]year”, said Robert. Their music was full of improvisation, yet it wasn’t difficult to enjoy. One of the reason why we love Shadow Puppets’ music style is that we could find different style and taste from them but still with the same spirit attached.

While the new formation felt solid, the changes were quite significant, especially on drums. Sandy Winarta’s experience after playing in so many bands with different  styles brought a different flavor into the group. He’s indeed a modern jazz drummer who can add up more character into the band. We even felt some trace of urban sound that he might get after establisihing LLW with Indra Lesmana and Barry Likumahuwa. As for the remaining original members Irsa Destiwi and Robert Mulyarahardja, they are now getting more solid as a team. More connected, more attached, and that brought more feels with that kind of strong chemistry.

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After the first treat from Shadow Puppets Quartet, the second part of the show presented Mian Tiara. Notorious for deep and poetic lyrics, a collaboration between her and the Shadow Puppets, which created a melodramatic and waltzing tunes, promised a great if not mouth-watering show. Tthe audience seemed to be swept in awe with the first song, “Am I the One”. Originally a slow, tantalizing ballad, Shadow Puppets re-arranged it into a faster, ‘moving on’ tune without erasing its anxiety.

[flickr id=”6504753361″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”right”] After that, Mian Tiara said thanks to all people that helped and made her progressing this far. She carried on with “Selalu Ada” which re-arranged much more youthful than original. We believe people could feel the buoyant tune flowing. Then she silenced all the audience by singing 2 songs in medley, “Little Space in Between” and the painful “Disapih”. Robert’s honest guitar play and Tiara’s delirious voice made people fell in their thoughts in the first one, and then with “Disapih” they delivered the finishing blow for the weak-broken hearted audiences. They could evensent them crying with that song. Mian Tiara and Shadow Puppets really nailed it in this song. There was even a several seconds of silence after the song ended, which we believe because of the audience were still not getting a hang of themselves.

[flickr id=”6504754877″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”false” size=”small” group=”” align=”left”] They brought “Ini Rindu” after that. Originally, this song only has 1:41 duration. A very short but epic, just like listening to the work of legendary maestros like Ismail Marzuki. For this time they brought the full length version with full band. It worked perfectly as well. The last song was “Against The Obvious” which re-arranged and brought in much more natural and dark feel, thanks to Shadow Puppets.

It concluded the end of Serambi Jazz’ 2011 editions. It’s a bit sad to see that we have come to the end of its third year in service, but we are also excited for knowing that we will leave this tasty year to enter the next year just in a short time. As they said, “Farewell is not the end, it’s just the beginning of a new journey”. From the bottom of our hearts, we send our respect and grattitude to Goethe Institut, Riza Arshad and all the Serambi Jazz team. Thank you for the wonderful jazzin’ year, see you again next year. Farewell Serambi Jazz 2011, welcome Serambi Jazz 2012!

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Novan Yahya Renatal
Photographer/Reporter: Bayu P Warjiyo
Editor: Riandy Kurniawan

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