Tulus – Beyond Sincere : The Report

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If you ask who’s the fastest rising star during the last 1 year, the name Tulus definitely deserve some mention. Coming right from the city of Bandung, he released one debut album that became such a hype and catapulted him to the top in exactly no time. He topped the major radio stations with his first single “Sewindu” and soon his album was sold in multitude both in physical stores and onlines. He has a perfect pitch of croon voice which would be perfect to go swing, but apparently he didn’t want to fall into just that. Instead, he brought pop in various colors, both with full band or duo, even acoustic. What’s great about that jazz is naturally all over those songs in very friendly ways. As a result, his album has no difficulties in capturing the hearts of wide segment of listeners.

Just last month we suddenly heard his move to land at the historical building Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, presented by TRUSTGroup. It’s not often we saw a new star got this chance, but Tulus did it. The concert was fully crowded with highly enthusiastic fans that blasted the concert from start to finish. Tulus and the band did really well too in this show along with the wonderfully decorated stage and cool lightings. In conclusion, all created such a scene that we will never forget.

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Beyond Sincere, that’s what the concert called, lighted up Gedung Kesenian Jakarta on a bright Friday night where doors opened at 8 pm greeting everyone in. Spotlights shone on the red curtains of Gedung Kesenian Jakarta as jazzy acoustic “Merdu Untukmu” resounded clearly capturing the audience’s attention. The curtains opened and Tulus together with the whole band suddenly appeared creating a spectacular entry. The band consisting of sixteen members of four strings: Yoyo Sunarya,Ahmad Reza Iriawan, Tommy Ilham and Andan Andrian (violins and cello), three brasses: Andri Handyono, Andriyanto Haryanto and Azis Saxsoul (saxophone, trumpet and trombone), three backup singers: Lia Amalia, Nurul Rahayu and Lukman Hakim, Topan Abimanyu (guitar), Sindhu Banyusekti (electric bass), Fuad Rudyan (drums), Ferry ‘Gembong’ Nurhayat and Yonathan Godjali (keyboard and grand piano) and Ayla Noor Iman (percussion). Together with Tulus’ beautiful voice they took the audience away with “Teman Pesta”.  A cheerful and exciting atmosphere had the audience shake to the music. Muhammad Tulus greeted the audience as he expressed his gratitude and delight towards his concert and how he had been waiting for an opportunity like this.

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With another upbeat song “Jatuh Cinta”, he had the audience sway to the groovy music and amazing voice. He says that this song is an expression of the heart dancing and is rarely performed because he specially wanted it to be sung on such an event like this. He was charming, enthralling, fascinating, all of those. The audiences couldn’t stop screaming out his name as he interacted with them telling his story behind the song list choices and his happiness towards the concert and the preparations behind it. He created a songlist that was fluctuative, relating it human feelings. At times they go up and at other times they go down. So he wanted his songs to reflect that part of one’s feelings.

[flickr id=”7274789052″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Tulus did not only perform his own songs yet he also chose songs from a list of very promising musicians. One of them was Float’s soundtrack from the movie “3 Hari untuk Selamanya” titled “Sementara” which he believed the writer of the song did a wonderful job in arranging the lyrics. It was brought in such a beautiful way that goose bumps shivered down our spines and made you stare and listen. Ferry Nurhayat’s pretty lighting supported the peaceful and serene atmosphere along with shimmering sounds of the percussions and the melody of the grand piano.

Tulus stated that he did not want to fully bring other people’s songs on stage because this concert was a rare opportunity and he wanted to also deliver his own music for the audience to enjoy.  A song inspired from his personal trip to Prambanan temple after a recent earthquake disaster there, made him see the little things that continually happened and the little details and stickers that people put up on the walls of Prambanan. “Diorama”, as he thought, was brought in a sexy and elegant arrangement though the band attempted a little unexpected entertaining intermezzo of the Pink Panther’s theme song and had Tulus and the audience laugh and giggle together. The trumpets gave a unique highlight to the song and captivated those watching.

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Beyond Sincere concert was intended by the event organizer, TRUSTGroup as a charity event to donate part of the ticket selling revenue for Rumah Pintar Dadap under the role of Yayasan Tunggadewi and Yayasan Pansophia Indonesia.  Donations will be given to help children in expanding education and chances of a better future where they all hope will lift a better and positive level for that cause. “Musik Tulus” defined as sincere music, reflected the sincerity of the humble and divine intentions towards the charity.

[flickr id=”7274785216″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Referring to love, we can never separate the theme of loneliness, as Tulus stated. Therefore he wrote a song about a man and a woman both being alone in their existence.  This time, eyes were on the string section where Tulus sang in fabulous high notes reaching the end of the song. The audience had the chance to request their favorite song for Tulus to sing as he asked and friendly interacted with them. The next song performed was “Negeri di Awan” originally by Katon Bagaskara brought in his splendid version. Tulus himself chose the song when he was reading his Rolling Stones magazine and noticed it in the list of 150 Indonesia’s Best Songs. Tulus’ fine vocals blended together with just him and the grand piano and continuing to the next song, one of the late Amy Winehouse’s  “Love is a Losing Game” from her album Back to Black which Tulus adored very much. His mature voice hypnotized the audience as it was so powerful and enchanting.

Tulus wrote his first song in 2006 taught by a college friend and now also his friend in the music industry, Andra Teja. Since then he gained the confidence to continue and create more wonderful songs. With the full band colored by the green and purple lightings, the saxophone added such a hype and funkalicious highlight to Etta James’ “At last”. You could not deny his tremendous vocals hitting high notes and improvising it into such an ear delight.

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As one of Tulus’ sensationals airing on radios and hitting the top charts around Indonesia, “Teman Hidup” was inspired by the word “Teman” (Friend) and “Hidup” (Life), written about a life-long friend. He intended to write the lyrics as a universal story. Not just about love among two people but also able to relate to almost anything like environment, plants, animals and even belongings. As for a mother, it could also mean a life-longing friend of a son/daughter. A young woman and dear friend of Tulus named Anggi was called up on stage due to her pregnancy-crave request on wanting to see and be on stage with Tulus when he performs. He fulfilled her hopes and took Anggi’s hands and brought her up on stage. Strings opened the music as the chandelier of this extravagant building lit up as he sang offering the microphone to the audience. Tulus sang as he looked into Anggi’s eyes and we could feel that essence of the song so deep. He took Anggi’s hands and took her back to her seat and wished that the baby would grow up to be as cool as him.

[flickr id=”7274782938″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”left”] Tulus did not only cover new songs but he also chose a few songs from way back which he couldn’t wait to bring up on stage. A song from one of Indonesia’s maestros, Gesang,  with “Bengawan Solo”. The drums of Fuad Rudyan and the piano drifted in with a soft and gentle entry. It was improvised in a kind of jazzy yet calming and soothing way. There was also a bass solo from Sindhu Banyusekti, that captivated us all as Tulus sang such a fine voice.

From a slow song he continued to Chrisye’s “Serasa” where the audience was able to dance to and get them shaking and swaying with the beat.  Tulus and the backup singers sang together as they all clapped together with the interplay of the Topan Abimanyu’s funky guitar melody and Yonathan Godjali’s grand piano. The whole song made you want to move your body making you feel that upbeat vibe. The performance was colored by the percussion solo where Ayla Noor Iman’s stick slapped and drum tapped his skills away and bedazzled the audience. Spotlights were even shone upon the backup singers as they had their chance to deliver their wonderful voices for us to hear.

[flickr id=”7274785484″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”right”] Beyond Sincere Concert would have not been a success without help from other people because Tulus himself didn’t work alone. As he explained in his concert, the people behind the album were also there to thank. His music arranger and producer, Ari ‘Aru’ Renaldi was brought up on stage as he was thanked as the brain behind the album. Ari was the person who convinced him to become a singer and give faith in him that he was able to produce an album and yes it all came true.

Tulus gave an excitement for the audience when he made the audience curious of what song he was going to bring next. The string section opened the song with a harmonious tune brought in such an elegant way, slow and calming as the spotlight sparkled upon him. “Sewindu” it was, a top hit the music charts that brought him to rise in the major music industry. The audience sang along as he got off the stage and stood in the aisle walking down and interacting straightforward with the singing audience. The whole band amazed everyone with an impressive arrangement. A surprising solo coming up to the middle of the stage from the saxophone astonished everyone watching. Reaching the end of the song, the guitar also made a confounding finger typing act and did a miraculous duel with the saxophone. Tulus also thanked everyone who came including a special thanks to Teman Tulus (Fans of Tulus) and the person behind the twitter account that has helped to spread information and upcoming events and who was in the audience seat smiling back at him.

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The audience were very disappointed when they knew that Tulus was on to his last song of the night, “Kisah Cinta” a very jazzy and catchy song brought in such a variation stream of instruments. All the instruments colored this song and the solo guitar and the keyboard effects were totally spellbinding. As he sent his thanks and gratitude to the audience, the whole band left the stage and the curtains started to drift and close. The audience clapped while screaming out “We want more, we want more” and suddenly Tulus reappeared on stage and gave the last song. This time it was really the last song.  He rounded up his concert with an acoustic performance of “Juwita Malam”, a gem from another Indonesia’s greatest maestro Ismail Marzuki where he made it fun by arranging the song with a neat beat.

The audience went home with smiles though it was sad to know that the one and a half hour concert had already ended. Tulus proved that he was capable of delivering his first oh-so-very satisfying concert even with the launching of his first must-listen self titled album. The concert was beyond what we expected, beyond amazing. All worth every second to enjoy. We wish to see other great performances and hopefully another great concert from this fascinating singer. Well beyond done Tulus, the whole bands and everyone else behind this event,  Beyond Sincere was overall spectacular and top notch!

See more pictures:

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Reporter: Khairiyah Sartika Syofian
Photographer: Nuri Arunbiarti
Editor: Riandy Kurniawan

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