December is a month of joy. Not only to us who celebrate Christmas and having wonderful holiday to spend with friends and family, but also to all the ladies. More than just Christmas, this month we celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s the month to give a special honor to mothers in particular and of course females in general. In Indonesia especially West Java, we also celebrate the birthday of Indonesian female heroines named Dewi Sartika who fought really hard to give proper education to the females in her time. Dewi Sartika was born in Bandung, December 4, 1884. She graduated from Dutch school. being an educated lady, she realized how important it was for females to have education. She started to teach in 1902 and finally managed to open her own school in 1904. It was a breakthrough and might be controversial at that time, but Dewi Sartika kept on doing what she believed. For that, the Indonesian goverment honored her as the National Heroine in 1966.
What she fought back then was something big. In fact up until today we still see how difficult it is sometimes for females to break the male chauvinism. In the wonderful world called music, including the jazz world, we still find the evidence on this matter too. Yes, we have tremendous jazz singers and musicians through generations, yet some believe male are still showing their domination. One of the interesting fact came from Leslie Gourse in her book Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists . In there she gave a brief picture about the position of women in jazz from the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s which she called an exciting and crucial time of transition. “With few exceptions, before the mid-1980s, women were always second-class citizens in jazz, the most macho of all the arts.” she said. She even found the problem for women in music- classical, jazz and pop- in facing the nearly insuperable barrier of male chauvinism. More on Gourse wrote: “In music, nobody except a concert soloist gets a chance to play in public unless he or she is hired by someone for a group, whether a huge orchestra or a duo. Historically, men in jazz rarely hired women musicians. They did so increasingly in the 1990s.” If you read this book, you’ll know how hard the female’s position has been from time to time in jazz. The same fact can be found in Sally Placksin’s “American Women in Jazz” and Linda Dahl’s “Stormy Weather”
While it’s December, we think it’s the perfect time for us to give the honor to the ladies, showing them how much we respect them. KlabJazz also had this thought and prepared a special edition of Sunday Jazz tributing the ladies, Jazz & Perempuan in cooperation with the venue, the cozy and jazzy Potluck Kitchen. We were excited about this event from the start, to show that we actually have a big respect on the female musicians and singers as well. For this occassion, Jazzuality decided to support this event by sending us, female reporters.
It was a very special Sunday Jazz because we got great female artists who are great in their own fields. Not only female bands, musicians, singers and other jazz performers, we also got female sketch artists Aninditha Lakshmi, female jazz pictures by female photographer Mia Damayanti Sjahir and female poet Violetta Simatupang. For the live performance we got long list of artists as well, inculding Parkdrive‘s most recent vocalist Olive, the female jazz trio Starlite, the beautiful lady who could sing, play piano and accordion just as great Tiwi Shakuhachi, the soulful and explorative Grace Sahertian, Metta Legita of Contra Indigo with her Quartet, Dyah Sekar Utami Trio, Aldhiella and last but not least, the girl with a deep soulful voice, the expressive and unique Jemima. All these heavy lineups still added with two little girls’ percussion groups, The Moonlight and Trio Rasa.
Mia Damayanti Sjahir‘s fine works on capturing the female jazzers in action were placed in the special room all the way to the sidewalk towards the stage. Right after the coordinator of KlabJazz, Dwi Cahya Yuniman gave an opening speech, the little girls’ percussion group The Moonlight came to start the show. 5 of them showed a rhythmic beat while also chant and clapped on the first song, “Cingcang Keling”. The mentor Iyan then took over the stage, having Awang on side with bamboo flute and toleat giving up the magical world music. A percussion duel followed between Iyan, Putri and Awang. The Moonlight came again for the last presentation with Iyan, Awang and Putri. The whole team again gave a magnificent percussive action. Up to this part, we already got a very energetic live action from the stage. It was really amazing to see girls this young could already bring the complex percussion rhythm with cool stage action. Brilliant!
Next the pianist Diah Sekar got her part. Dyah appeared with her boyfriend Christ Stanley and Grace Sahertian. Grace Sahertian’s lovely soulful voice has attracted us from the start when she was still active as the vocalist of “Palm for Moodytunes”. Later when the group went inactive, she still appeared either by joining the bands or as a solo singer. She is active in two communities, KlabJazz Bandung and Margo Jazz Community in Jakarta. Lately she’s been exploring her vocal ability by entering the experimentative world music, like taking on Anna Maria Jopek‘s songs for example. She even dared to sing in Polish for that matter. Currently she’s found a perfect partner in Tesla who is also known as the musician who likes to explore. Together they do such an interesting exploration where world jazz and new age collides with some experimental feel in it.
Formed in trio, they delivered an intimate session on stage. The famous song first famous by Billie Holiday “God Bless the Child” met the soulful blues through Grace’s voice. The swingin’ ragtime “I Got Rhythm” became the last performance of Grace before Dyah Sekar brought her trio on her session. Dyah Sekar Trio is a group that was formed just about a month and a half, and now got their first gig at Potluck Kitchen. Surprise,surprise, they brought the delicious samba on stage with “One Not Samba”. The second song was The Sound of Music‘s “My Favorite Thing”, presented in a delightful standard. Dyah brought her favorite song, “Beautiful Love” before rising the tempo with groovy “Sunny” that had a little bop improvisation in it. “It’s time for Dyah to build her own trio”, said Dwi Cahya Yuniman, and we’re agree. We hope to see her more often soon.
Metta Legita Quartet was next. She often played at the early KlabJazz 5 years ago before she continued to study at Insititut Musik Daya. Now she’s graduated and ready to paint the stages again with her performance. Gallang Perdhana Dalimunthe was there on stage among the personnel. Some landscapic bop were brought from them, including: Wayne Shorter‘s “Footprint”, that was delivered quite energetic eventhough the rain kept on pouring down from the sky. They continued the pattern on the next songs before playing her own composition called “Dreams”, dedicated to the late Tula Samdjoen who passed away some months ago. The mellow pouring notes became the media for them to send the respect to heaven. Aldhiella joined them, singing a swing standard tune “I Could Write a Book”. The next song was Eddie Cantor‘s classic “Makin’ Whoopee” that she sang in a vintage & flirtatious way. It was an attempt that grabbed the whole audience to stay with their gig. The loungish swing continued with “Lullaby of Birdland”. Aldhiella added some cool scat in the middle before she ended the song perfectly.
It was a first time for us to see poetry readings in jazz. Violetta Simatupang, who happens to be one of ten female poet in Bandung. She brought some of Maya Angelo‘s poems and her own poems accompanied by Tiwi Shakuhachi on piano. She was so attractive in reading a poetry. Instead of reading it by standing as we used to see, she choosed to make some attractive moves along with kind of gestures that went along with the poetry itself. She also asked the crowds snapping their finger to lead her. As a surprise, Yuyun George appeared on a stage with her saxophone on the next poetry by Maya Angelo “Phenomenal Women”. We are happy to see her tonight, came along with her family. If we want to talk about of how powerful female musicians can be, a real female role model, we should mention Yuyun George. She is a respected lady who has proven that a woman can be succesful in both career and family. She’s the leader of Jazmint bigband, she sings and plays saxophone, flute and guitar. She’s teaching too in Farabi Depok, and God bless her with a very supportive family. Through Yuyun George we see the reflection of super-woman that should be able to inspire every females in Indonesia. She got more chance to let us hear her smooth sax blows. She joined Tiwi taking on the classic “You’ve got a Friend”. Yuyun George’s appearance completed this event, because not only we got the great females tonight but we also got a perfect female role model entertaining us with her music.
The next performance was Jemima and The Orgasmic Brothers. She’s a rare gem in our music scene especially jazz. She has the kind of soulful vocal with the authentic vibes. We say she’s the missing link, because she bridges jazz with the soul music world that we know today, like those we enjoy in RnB and hiphop. More than that, she’s able to deliver her soul out to reach her audiences. She brings the soulful side of jazz that we don’t hear it too often anymore, and it was delightful to know that finally we have the missing link appeared through the one and only Jemima and her band with unique name, The Orgasmic Brothers.
They brought a plenty of soulful tunes such as “Window Seat” and “Home Grown” that made everybody nod their head to the rhythm. Then, she warmed up the night with “Kabar Bunda” and Amy Winehouse‘s “Stronger than Me”. They continued on bringing more song such as “Maybe Tomorrow”, “Brown Sugar”, “Paradise”, “Don’t Let Me go” and “Laid Back”. The nu soul has been a certain kind of hype for some time out there through some artists like Erykah Badu or Sade for example, and now we have a soulful lady with her unique soulful voice who knows how to bring out her soul. And that’s Jemima. With the great band behind her including Fajar Adi Nugroho, Sirhan Bahasuan and Torank Ambarita she added up a special color tonight. We hope to see more of Jemima and Orgasmic Brothers soon.
The nice got hotter and hotter, and for the final performance we got female-trio Starlite featuring Olive. 3 beautiful ladies with great jazz skills. That might be the good way to describe Starlite. Jeane Phialsa (drum), Sheila Permatasaka (bass) and Rike Astari (piano) has been living in the local jazz scene for quite some time. They appeared cool, energetic, but sweet to see. “We’re happy to be back in KlabJazz’ event, something we haven’t done since 2005” said Sheila. These talented ladies presented “Manteka” as the opening that made the crowds shouted and applauded loudly due to their awesome performance. Up next, they delivered “Night in Tunisia” and the always cool “Seven Steps to Heaven” before Olive came in. It was nice to have Olive Latuputty, or better known as Olive in this special event. We have known her since several years ago when she released two jazz albums, “You” (2005) and “Fantasy” (2007). Later on she released her gospel album titled “Shining” which also released to US and became the vocalist of Parkdrive. In all her album she showed her unique voice which has the feel of jazz in every phrase she sings. Her deep, warm sultry voice sounds sexy, along with the beautiful vibration in it. But not just the voice we have to highlight, Olive also knows how to entertain by being attractive and communicative to her audiences. Again as a respect for the late Tula Samjoen that mentioned by Olive as “one of the greatest singers Indonesia have ever known”, they played “So Nice” in bossa. The crowds came to their highest hype when they covered one of Stevie Wonder‘s well-known tune “Isn’t She Lovely” with a bit piece of “Summertime” to close their amusing performance. They seemed not hesitate to gave the crowds an endless and satisfying eargasm. What a perfect collaboration to paint the night more beautiful. Jeane Phialsa gave an attractive action with her drumset, we have missed her and the band since 2005 and now we know they still have the exact power just like how they were back then. A perfect climax for tonight were given with this brilliant pairing.
Jazz & Perempuan, the special edition of Sunday Jazz ended as a grand party. Tonight we witnessed some of the finest female artists who are fully blessed within their own fields. They have successfully shown that they are not behind the male artists. Not only the live jazz performances were great, the photography and drawing exhibitions plus the poetry reading too. If the mature ones were great, don’t forget that we also got little girls’ percussion groups who could give a stunning action on stage. All these form of arts were represented nicely by the talented females, making this special event tonight stands as one of the unforgettable moment for us. If some still think this is a man’s world, these ladies have proven them wrong. It was a clear evidence that women can’t be underestimated anymore. For us the female reporters, we feel much prouder than ever to be one after we saw all the artists tonight. Indonesia has to be proud to have them painting the world of art with their colors. We say thank you to KlabJazz, Potluck Kitchen, the artists and everybody behind this event for bringing up this brilliant idea, and we also say thank you to all of you, wonderful audiences for supporting it. On behalf of jazzuality, we give our highest respect to the female artists and all ladies in general. You’ve made us prouder as women.
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