Thursday, May 28, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "Interview"





Jazz saxophonist Roger Hanschel: “Take your time, drink tea and listen to music!”

Jazz saxophonist Roger Hanschel studied at the Musikhochschule Köln in Germany and School for Fine Arts in Banff, Canada. He founded the group Nana in 1983. His works have appeared in 23 CDs and he has toured extensively at jazz festivals around the world.

Since 1987, he has been a member of the group Cologne Saxophone Mafia, which won a number of awards. Hanschel also founded the trio Triosphere, quarter Heavy Rotation, and a duo with the singer Gabriele Hasler, and has teamed with Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger as well.

His most recent collaboration is with Indian musicians Deobrat Mishra on sitar and Prashant Mishra on tabla. Their group, Trio Benares, performed in Bangalore recently at the Windmill Craftworks jazz pub. I caught up with Roger Hanschel after his performance for this exclusive interview on jazz and fusion.

How did Trio Benares get formed?
RH: I have felt deep love for Indian classical music since a long time, because I am a fan of shehnai legend Ustad Bismillah Khan since the early 80s. But after all those years I was dis-satisfied because of my limited knowledge of this music. So, I decided to spend some time there in India where Bismillah Khan lived and take some lessons.

In summer 2013, I was visiting the Mishra musicians – Deobrat on sitar and Prashant on tabla. It was clear that this would not be a regular teacher/student relationship but more a ‘colleague-ship.’ So after playing a little together in Varanasi we had a concert in Cologne in September 2014. That was when we decided to form Trio Benares.

What made you interested in music in your early years?
RH: My mother was singing in a choir and my sister, who is four years older than me, is a violin player and was of course inspiring me in early years. I started playing recorder at the age of eight, and at the age of eleven I was listening to a concert where there was a saxophone player. I fell immediately in love with that instrument and never stopped playing it since then!


roger hanschel, jazz saxophonist


What are the challenges you face as a musician and composer?
RH: The challenge is to express my emotions through music and the way to get to this goal. I always want to find the emotional center in myself and make this portable through music.

Who would you say are the leading musical influences in your career?
RH: John Coltrane, Bismillah Khan, J.S. Bach, Jan Garbarek, Hariprasad Chaurasia.

How are you able to blend such different musical genres so effectively, i.e. create ‘fusion without confusion’?
RH: It is all about avoiding copies of any styles and to find the true voice of yourself. It’s about finding the real unique sound of this trio. We do not put fixed styles together. We try to be open minded and put influences of the colleagues into their own ways of playing. We are all leaving known paths and approach unknown areas without losing their own expression.

How would you describe your musical journey?
RH: In the beginning of my career, I was playing and composing much more experimental, searching for new possibilities which were not there before. The older I become, the more experienced I become with the ability of getting to the point of concern, which is searching for the real Roger. Who am I, and what is my center of being which has to come out through my music? For this aim I am now much more able to design my music, to know exactly what I want to express.

What is your vision of what music can do in this day and age.
RH: Music can move people emotionally. This is a big power I think. It can be stronger then every political statement.

What new album or video are you working on now?
RH: I am now working on the recordings we made with Trio Benares. The CD-recording has to be edited and mixed and will be released hopefully soon. There are also some videos we made of our concerts we played in India last month I have to work on. Besides Trio Benares, I am working on a pre-production CD for a septet. I was writing music based on poems of Christina Rossetti.

What have been your previous highlights in playing across India?
RH: In 1994, we played a four-week tour through India and Pakistan with the saxophone quintet, the Kölner Saxophone Mafia. That tour was very important to me. After being a fan of Bismillah Khan for many years, it was a little like coming home.

Do you compose on the road also, while travelling?
RH: Basically I am never composing on tour. At the most I make some notes to not forget ideas. Composing is for luxury of time and I want to have a good time while composing. No stress, good tea, silence!

Do you also teach workshops?
RH: Yes, I am teaching one day a week at the Musikhochschule in Köln. I am educating future professional musicians there. They can sign up for bachelor or master’s degrees with me.

How has the music industry changed over the years, and how has that affected your work?
RH: Producing CDs is not as important anymore as it was 10 or 15 years ago. Downloading or copying illegal is taking place more and more. The music industry is looking for money, not for art above all. This can compromise art. So, especially for young artists, it is important to decide how far they go away from their art towards a career for making money.

What message would you like to convey through your music?
RH: Take your time, drink tea and listen to music!

Written by Madanmohan Rao
Editor & DJ, World Music and Jazz; Bangalore
Global Correspondent for



CHASEIRO is certainly not a new name in Indonesian music scene. Formed in 1978, The vocal group consisted of Candra Darusman (vocal, keyboard), Helmie Indrakesuma (vocal), Aswin Sastrowardoyo (vocal, guitar), Edwin Hudioro (flute), Irwan B. Indrakesuma (vocal), Rizali Indrakesuma (vocal, bass), Omen Norman Sonisontani (vocal) made an important breakthrough after they won a competition held by Radio Amigos on May 6, 1978. Soon after they appeared at the first ever Jazz Goes to Campus, a special appearance in the 70’s popular TV show Nada dan Improvisasi and the rest is history.

Chaisero’s well known for their catchy melodies  and lyrics which often made simple but close to our everyday’s life, in many times inspiring or  even come with social and politic issue. For instance, “Pemuda”, is one of their best songs, memorable, inspirational, even the lyric is still relevant for our young generation now.


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More than 30 years have passed and now Chaseiro still full of spirit and energy to continue their music career. The surprise is here : Recently they released a new album named Retro 2 (buy here:, following the first Retro released a couple of years ago which marked the return of Chaseiro in the recordings. The press conference was held on October 11, 2014 at BlackCat, Plaza Senayan, Jakarta, moderated by Bens Leo. The popular group RAN was there too as the representative of guest stars in the album. The band is 36 years old, yet they are still showing high energy and passion to craft new things in the music industry.

We had chance to know the whole process about it. They shared their stories about recording, solidarity between them after Helmie’s passed away, being in the same square circle with so many young and new musicians and the next big thing they would like to do about Chaisero’s future music. If you have some questions about what’s inside the album or why you should get a copy, this interview will reveal it all too. We met some of them at Vio Hotel Bandung. At first there were only Chandra Darusman and Omen Norman Sonisontani but later Aswin Sastrowardoyo joined the conversation.
* * *


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The past three years must be hard for Chaseiro due to the passing of three friends. First Uce Hariono, then Ade Hamzah, and last year we were all shock by the passing of Helmie Indrakesuma.  How’s Chaseiro and how do you deal with it?
Of course it brings a huge impact on us. He’s a big loss for us, because Helmie brings an important role in Chaseiro’s vocal harmonization and music, and to our unity as one big family too. But life has to keep going forward. Now that he’s gone, we’re still keeping our friendship tight to his family.

He has a strong character over his voice that’s easy to distinguish in Chaseiro’s song..
Yes. In terms of vocal, Helmi is irreplaceable. We’re very sad and miss him so much. But Chaseiro is commited to keep moving forward, keep on crafting in Indonesian music industry.

It must be hard for you to realize that Helmi’s not there anymore every time you stand on stage, especially since he was already there with you from the beginning?
Yes, it’s sad to realize that he’s not there anymore. Well, why we can not sing “Shy” until now, because he sang it a lot (he actually wrote this song too in 1983-ed). But there’s no burdened feeling between the member of Chaseiro. We know we just have to keep going.



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Having existed for 36 years and obviously still driven by passion. With that kind of passion, surely you have some plans in mind. What’s next?
We still want to make new songs, where there’s a lot of changes over the years. We’ve been together since we were young and single, until now that we have family and kids. As we get older, we have a lot of responsibility. Musically speaking, our mission is not only about ourselves anymore, but also about the young generation.

You’ve been doing it for more than three decades. You know, the inspiring, positive message through the lyrics..
Well, those themes are still the same.. you know, about solidarity, honesty, friendship…  but we also realize that we need to keep on evolving.

One of the most important example is “Pemuda”. After all this year, the message carried by the song is still relevant. I think it can be mentioned as the most memorable one. A lot of people still enjoy listening to that song, it even appeared in the commercial nowadays.
We still don’t get it ourselves. (Chandra Darusman laughed). Maybe there’s still so many people need and looking for something so that it still feelsrelevant to a lot of people.




Now let’s talk about the most recent album of Chaseiro called Retro 2. First of all, I’m interested with the word “Retro”. Nowadays we tend to go retro almost in everyting. In the movie, photo, fashion, music and so on. Recycling something from the past to be a today’s trend… so the fact that Chaseiro uses Retro, twice in the comeback is really interesting.
Exactly. We actually mention it in the press release. We brought some of our old hits but made a fresh rearrangement. But there are new songs too. So it’s like the compilation of those hits with a new breath.

Again, this time you collaborate with a lot of guest stars, including the top ones in today’s music scene.
Yes, we work with a lot of young musicians to make Chaseiro’s music become fresher than before. This time we feature RAN, Marcell, Tompi and some other artists that have started before them like Riza Arshad, Tohpati and Uci Nurul.

So, modern element is important in Retro 2, just like the first Retro?
Yes. We’re trying to accentuate the modern elements so our content can be delivered to the youngsters.


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Such as?
Well, you will hear new arrangement over the songs that you’ve probably know. Speaking of modern, there will be rap, reggae and the new composition in a group like the way RAN has been doing.

Do you guys keep your eyes on the Indonesian music references today, especially on the young and new musicians?
Of course. We listen to RAN, Tulus, Raisa, Barry Likumahuwa, also the genius one, Joey Alexander. We think he’s way better than Indra Lesmana in his age. He’s gonna be the next big thing.

Knowing that the members are scattered in different sides of the sphere, you (Chandra Darusman) in Singapore, Rizali in India and the rest in Jakarta, is it hard to keep running especially in the recording process of Retro 2?
We have to admit that it was hard. In Retro 2, all the recording process held when we were in different places. Thanks to the technology, we could take vocals, send the data, and all the recording stepped without boundaries. There are lot of tech features that can be used such as emails, dropbox feature, etc. Those facilitated us during the recording process. Since Tohpati and Tompi were busy, we actually did it too with them. We were collaborating with Tohpati and Tompi indirectly using the internet to send their vocal and guitar tracks. We even sent the payment to them by using e-banking. (laughs).


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What is Chaseiro’s plan for the near future? Will there be a breakthrough or you will still go retro and serve those beauties in new style?
For the next plan, we do wish to make an album of all new songs. Chaseiro doesn’t have a plan to continue to Retro 3 after Retro 1 and Retro 2. In Retro 2 you can already listen to three of our new songs such as “Tell Me” (written by the late Helmie Indrakesuma), “Siapa Bilang” and “Pagi Hari”. Actually, we also have an interest on releasing song one by one with video clip, we compile it one by one and when it’s enough for an album, we make one.

So make one song after another, release it as a video clip? That’s interesting. But why exactly you want to make it that way?
It’s because making one full album is a lot of work and doesn’t always sell well, right? That’s why we have to think about new strategy, and that one seems good.

The messages contained in Chaseiro’s songs have a wide and universal meaning. And as far as the music goes, it seems that Chaseiro never stuck on one genre. Instead you go with whatever style, from jazz, Latin, pop to even country, often you also combine those elements. If one ask you about the genre of your music, what would you tell them?
Actually if we have to mention Chaseiro’s music in one genre, I think it’s going to be pop latin. That’s the closest element of Chaseiro. But, we also have a little jazz here and there, although it’s only mild or light. We also love to add some samba elements and other varieties of music.

Aside of Chaseiro, what do you think of Indonesian music nowadays?
We see that the Indonesian music industry has been growing much better. We see Indonesian music is always irreplaceable in its home. Although there’s certain trend such as K-Pop or Western music domination, but somehow, the Indonesian music can still keep its path towards a better direction. Our music is actually doing better  compared to the nearest neighboring countries.


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Last question, but probably the most important thing regarding to the new Retro 2 album. What’s interesting in this album so the music fans have to own it?
First, we renew the old concept so it’s very refreshing.
Second, there are seven guest stars, many of them are from the young generation to reach wider, younger segment.
Third, you can still listen to the works of our late friends (Helmie Indrakesuma, Uce Hariono and Ade Hamzah). Before they passed away, we still got the chance to record some materials with them. So now you can listen as if they were still alive and played with us.

and then, Chaseiro also cooperate with Indonesian Cancer Foundation (Yki-Yayasan Kanker Indonesia) with our song titled “Dara”. As a part of our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), our consistency in humanity and future generation, we decided to donate all the royalties of “Dara” to the research and treatment of the ladies who suffer cervical cancer. Why we chose to donate it to the cervical cancer patient? There are some reasons. One, because I don’t know why, but we found out that Chaseiro’s listeners are mostly women. And cervical cancer is one of the most medical problems that women had to deal with. So we want to help them by contributing with our music.

(Aswin who also work as an Obstetrics and gynaecology (OB/GYN) doctor explained to us that in Indonesia this type of cancer is still the biggest threat to female. It actually can be cured if detected earlier, but many people don’t realize the importance just yet).

Lastly, the unique thing about this album is ‘the behind the scene’ part itself. As we said earlier, the album process was assisted by the internet techonology, such as vocal takes in separate places, send the data and stuffs. We know that we need to keep being updated with the technology development. that can always help us to evolve better from time to time.

BUY THE NEW ALBUM OF CHASEIRO : RETRO 2  at our online store:

See more pictures:


Interviewed by: Riandy Kurniawan and Maudy Puteri Agusdina
Photos during the interview were taken by: Armano Putranto and Mia Damayanti
Photos from the Press Conference belong to Dudut Suhendra Putra, provided by Niny Sunny


jazzuality- interview-rishanda-singgih


A very interesting show is coming soon during Valentine’s Day celebration. This show will give you not just something audible but also visual. You like watching movie with all the dramas inside it, you like live stage performance where you enjoy the songs along with the action brought by the bands. Even if you dream of having a Broadway-like show, you don’t have trouble yourself, because it does exist here in Indonesia. Well, HEART RECORDS: A Theatrical Concert presented by the Jakarta Broadway Team (JBT) is the show you need if you want to have both your eyes and ears to be entertained at once. (Read the complete event info here:

As the time draws near, we got the chance to interview the music director of this interesting show: Rishanda Wicaksono Singgih. This talented young man currently serves as the music director for Afgan and Marcell. His latest work can be seen on Afgan’s Konser Duo, The Voice Indonesia and Raisa’s performance at the Java Jazz Festival 2013. If you think you have seen him playing on stage, you’re not wrong, because he’s also a bassist who plays for Drew and Magenta Orchestra, just to mention a few. Rishanda is best known as an influential pioneer who celebrates individuality amongst Indonesian bassists. Other than that, he’s also a critically acclaimed producer who has such directing style that emphasizes the emotional visualization of the song and its connection to the audience. Now he’s ready to expand his territory by entering the musical theatre for the first time.

All the music, dancing, singing, theatrical acts and storyline are important in building the whole concept to meet the audience’s expectation. But since we are a music e-mag which is focusing on Jazz, we should try to dig everything behind the making of this theatrical concert from the music’s perspective. We see some really familiar faces among the musicians that we’ve seen often on Jazz stages. That could be a clue that Jazz patterns and sounds would be found too here and there inside the show. Or wouldn’t it? Since they dare to ask “What song does your heart play”, we can’t help but guess that the songs chosen for this show will all be familiar to you guys. Will the musicians also deliver some action, having more role than just providing the music? What’s the story behind the process? Or even, what’s the most important thing to keep in mind for a theatrical concert like this? A modern Broadway-like show is not that familiar to the Indonesian audience, therefore we think it’s important to let you learn more about it beforehand.

Here’s our full lengh interview with Rishanda Wicaksono Singgih. Happy reading.

It’s usual for us to celebrate the Valentine’s Day with live music events, candlelight dinners or even exchanging gifts. But it’s rare to have a full package of show like Heart Records: A Theatrical Concert. Where the idea came from first of all?
We want to make something that can please both ears and eyes. People usually go to the cinema or have dinner in a romantic place with live music. So why don’t we give them both? A theatrical drama of love cycle with a story line that easily connects with people — especially young people, wrapped with good musics as a medium to tell the story.

In your own words, what this show is all about?
Firstly, It’s about love (laughs). The cycle of love. Starting from the time you see someone that attracts you, then you meet him/her, share contacts, begin a nice chat, and then you start having butterfly in your stomach, waiting for him to ask you out, starting to date, change your status into “in a relationship”, until conflict starts to intervene the relationship. The tension keeps getting bigger and bigger, until you can’t stand no more and want to end the relationship.
Secondly, of course it’s all about great musics that wraps the whole show. Songs that are familiar and relatable with the audience.

Compare to the previous shows of JBT, what’s new this time?
This is my first time working with JBT. I think this is the first time they hire an outsource as a Music Director too. So the treatment of the show would definitely be different.

Would you tell us who are the persons in charge?
The main team consists of me, Ali (Alicia Kasih) the director, Thya “Maknyes” Said the script writer, and Dhika (Adyuta Abandhika) the vocal director who’s also one of the singers). Four of us have agreed to match the story line with songs that people are familiar with, instead of making new ones. Therefore hopefully the upcoming show will be quite engaging and  more relatable to the audience.

The music in a show like this has to be able to bring more than an ordinary music concert.. it has to be integrated with the storyline, dancers and so on. Thus, the music will get much more roles than usual. As the music director, could you share us how you shape the concept?
Intergrating the  music with the storyline and the dance is actually the easy part. The hardest part was making sure that the songs we picked and the arrangement I have created can make the audience sing and dance during the show.


What do you have in mind to create it?
To achieve that goal, you really need to highlight the key parts of the song, that will easily be remembered by the audience so that they can notice the song immidiately.

Bringing out the musical show involving drama, cabaret show and so on ala Broadway is not something we find often here in Indonesia. What’s the most important thing to keep in mind during the process?
I think knowing that these kind of show is not really popular in Indonesia, you really have to blend it with something really common here. For me, I think, that thing is drama. As in everyday drama. Daily love-related-stories. Since we deliver the story through music, of course we have to choose songs that are already very popular. So the songs you will hear during the entire show would be songs you have been listening to everyday.

Working out the musicians to be ready for a nonstop 90 minutes show must be quite a work! As the music director, what’s the most difficult challenge for you during the preparation?
Getting the band as tight as possible. AND.. the most important thing is, to keep their mood on fire, eventhough we’ve been reharsing the songs hundred oftimes.

Any interesting story during the preparation/rehearsal that you can share to us?
That would be the revisions (laughs). Even in less than a month before the show, Ali still sends me a revision.

There must be variety of genres to be found in the show. Will jazz be involved in it? Does it have an important role in the music concept?
Cross-genre is my approach for this event. I try to put one genre into other genres. Doing something that people would hold their breath to and can not wait untill the next part of the song. So yeah, of course jazz will be involved. Every kind of genre has a big role here. But I guess the main genre of the whole show is still pop.

From what we heard, the list of songs used in this event is carefully selected as well. We’re guessing some unique covers of today’s popular music will be there. What songs will the audience get, what inspired you to select the songs and how do you go selecting them?
Unique. Yes, but the song still has to be familiar to our audience’s ear. People MUST know the songs. So the audience will be able to feel each scene and each song will be all related.


Then there’s the word ‘badass’ in front of the musicians which caught our attention. How far or wild will the boys go?
Just wait and see! (smiles)

From your own experience, how’s the excitement of the audience or their response towards Broadway-like show like this?
Musical production wasn’t very popular in Indonesia. However 3 or 4 years ago, it has changed. In a blink of an eye, it become the new big thing. The number of musical production escalates. And people are loving it.

Today Jakarta Broadway Team has more than 40 singers, dancers musicians, actors and creative talents. We have helped to announce several auditions made by the JBT since 2010. Do you have any difficulties to recruit them?
Not really. We open an audition each year. From there; the singers, dancers, and other creative talents are being chosen to play the role that suits them.

If a musician interested to join, what criteria they should have?
There’s no specific criteria. We just want a REAL talent with a REAL dedication.

What can we expect to experience at this showcase, from the whole perspective in general and from the music side in particular?
An emotional journey through dance, acting and most importantly, music.

Thank you for the interview, good luck!
Thank you!


Jakarta Broadway Team Presents: Heart Rercords, A Theatrical Concert

– Friday, 14 February 2014, 8:00 pm
– Saturday, 15 February 2014, 8:00 pm
– Sunday, 16 February 2014, 7:00 pm

Location: Graha Bhakti Budaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki
Jl. Cikini Raya no 37, Jakarta

Ticket Prices:
Platinum : IDR 500.000
Gold     : IDR 350.000
Silver   : IDR 250.000
Bronze   : IDR 150.000

Ticket Box:, or call +62 8777 5678 195

Full info: http;//

Interviewed by : Riandy Kurniawan




The jazz fans in Indonesia should feel lucky that there are plenty of jazz events to choose in their land. From small scaled to big sized, jazz has been invading and penetrating more and more regions with a going-up trend. We now have the biggest one in the world, we have regional ones which often placed in unique enviroments, from up above the mountains, countrysides, jungles all the way to the shores. Speaking of the resources, we have enormous number of players spread throughout the country. While many of us tend to think that jazz is currently not the main music trend, the appreciation and acceptance have been massive. If before the jazz musicians have to ‘smoothen’ their play by embracing more pop in order to gain audience, nowadays they can just go freely in pouring out their mind, taste and idealism without having to be afraid of losing listeners. You don’t see that much jazz on television, it only plays on limited radio stations, it’s not that easy to find in big cd stores, yet jazz shows its power elsewhere, like in cafes, festivals and in independent stores like online for example.

Since the hype is big, naturally new jazz bands (or pop/rock bands with slight jazz smells) appear everywhere. These young bands need time and space to perform, to gain experience and to feel the spirit of playing live in front of the crowds. Have the existed festivals give enough room for them? Have we appeciate them enough and care about their growth? Do we need more festivals to provide them chance to explore? These are the questions that sometimes we need to think.

Right after we entered the year of 2013, we heard the news that a new festival which is planned to be an annual one is coming. Indonesian Jass Festival is the name, a brainchild of ALBA Productions. From the name we can get a hint that it’s about rising up the nationalism, and yes, they do focus on presenting our national resources instead of mixing it with international artists. The Indonesian Jass Festival is going to start its first year on August 30-31, 2013, taking place at Istora Senayan Jakarta. This event is set to bring about 120 musicians (legends, today’s stars, newcomers/indie), placing them on 6 stages (one indoor stage and five outdoor stages) with the duration of approximately 8 to 10 hours a day, from noon until midnight. It’s going to be a new, different jazz fest for everyone.

Since the concept is interesting (even the decision of using ‘Jass’ instead of ‘Jazz’ is surprising), we need to find out more about it. We believe it will help you to understand the main concept, the background, the vision and goal of ALBA Productions and its Indonesian Jass Festival. We established a contact with Adrian Bramantyo Musyanif, the director of ALBA Production who happily answered us in an exclusive interview. We do hope this interview can answer your curiousity too, as well as giving more in-depth information that a new festival made in different concept is marching in.


Where did the idea start?
Well, nowadays we have a lot of international stars come to Indonesia, probably every month or even every week. So we think of something new, to appreciate our local talents, giving them chance to show their existence as well as proofing that our talents can play just as good, either in skill, quality and performance. Therefore in this Indonesian Jass Festival, we strictly let only Indonesian bands or artists to join in.

From ALBA Production’s point of view, how far is the development of jazz in Indonesia today?
It’s delightful to see where our jazz stands at today. More people start appreciating good quality of music and in specific, jazz has been gaining more and more fans lately. We can see the evidence from the number of audience in jazz clubs or cafes in Indonesia, also from the fact that there are so many jazz events in Indonesia from small- to large scale, where in each event we can clearly see how much they enjoy the music from each performer. From youngsters to seniors, they all love it. The variation is also great. There are plenty to choose, since we do have all kind of jazz, especially the creativity of young talents who are able to blend jazz with other music genres such as hiphop, ethnic, rock and so on.

So we can conclude that the jazz development in Indonesia is going up, and it would be better if it gets support from people who appreciate good quality of music in Indonesia. This becomes important since there are many piracy issues and also there are a lot of musics that don’t care about the quality anymore but only made for commercial purposes. So let’s work together in establishing high quality of music in our country.

There are many jazz festivals in Indonesia already. How urgent it is to make a new festival?
Just like I’ve said before, we wish to give appreciation to our local talents. Most of the already running festivals placed international artists in their lineups. We realize that we are not in that class. By making up this festival we have only one goal, that is to give a good ground and appreciation for Indonesian talents to bring out the best in them, also to provide a home for Indonesian jazz musicians to gather, inside a festival especially made from Indonesian musician, for Indonesian musicians.
Now let’s talk about the word Jass you use as the name. I consider this as something unique and interesting. Jass as the origin of the word Jazz hasn’t been used anymore at least since the early 30’s, so not many people from today’s generation know about it. What does this decision base on?
One of the reason why we use “Jass” instead of “Jazz” is because according to the history, the first jazz recordings came from a band named “Original Dixieland Jass Band”. People would think it was mistyped, but as you said, it was originally written as “Jass” and not “Jazz”.

Other than this reason, we want to grab more attention from the society, so they will be curious to know more about this festival.

There are so many independent jazz bands in Indonesia which offer wide varieties. They do need more chance to perform at big events. On the other hand, most of the organizers usually are afraid to bring new bands since they don’t create enough hype and aren’t commercial enough for a festival. what does ALBA Production think about this?
We give opportunity to independent jazz bands by opening more slots for them in the rundowns, so they will have more chance to perform. But of course we need to make proper selection beforehand.


Speaking of quality, how’s these independent jazz bands doing according to you guys?
They make us all proud! Many young musicians already know how to play jazz sophisticatedly, they are good in feel, arrangement, performance also individual skill.

The breakthrough taken by Indonesian Jass Festival by presenting only local talents could turn out to be a risky decision for many organizers. What do you think of it?
Risky? On what matter? Our vision in creating this festival is never profit oriented. For us, profit is only taken as bonus, as a result of the hard work of everyone inside the team. Our objective is for the Indonesian musicians to get well appreciation from the audience, and for the audience to be satisfied after buying the ticket. Good quality of music and performance will cover this objective.

Education also plays an important role in jazz development. Is it also an important factor in making up the Indonesian Jass Festival?
Of course. Throughout the festival, there will be wide variety of jazz being served. This contains the education factor, letting the audience to get deep with jazz, its variety and the magic created by blending jazz with so many other genres. It will be very interesting!

Other than presenting our own resources, will there be anything different for us to enjoy at the Indonesian Jass Festival?
There will be a spot called Jazz Garden Concept that you all can enjoy. You can have a nice relaxing moment while being entertained with live jazz performances.

How far is the comfort factor of the audience playing part in your priority?
It’s one of our main focuses.We do think about it a lot. We are arranging the rundown in such way so that the audience will have easier access to choose what they want to see. We also limit the number of tickets so it won’t go over the capacity of the venue.

We believe a big jazz fest like Indonesian Jass Festival has a long time vision. We know that you’re only just begun, but we’d like to know your target for next years to come.
We hope this festival could stand as an annual event, running in good planning. We also hope our festival become one of the high quality festivals, from the production point of view, the selection of performers and also from the good concept. May the Indonesian jazz musicians give their support and blessings, and be proud of this festival. Because by making up this event, we have vision to push Indonesian music industry forward by presenting good quality bands as well as giving up apprecation to the local artists.

Last question, if we ask ALBA Production to describe Indonesian Jass Festival in one sentence, what would that be?
Jazz in Unity!!

Interviewed by Riandy Kurniawan
Photos are provided by Hendrawan Revianto (Cak Hend)



Danish group Habadekuk: Blending folk and jazz in an explosive 21st century mix!

Powerful wind instruments and contagious rhythms characterise Habadekuk – one of Denmark’s leading folk-jazz bands, playing this weekend at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia. With a vibrant mix of folk, salsa and big band jazz, the lively nine-man band catapults old folk melodies into the 21st century. Habadekuk was awarded ”Album of the Year” at Danish Music Award Folk 2011 for their debut album ”Hopsadaddy”.

The band has played extensively in the West and are coming to Asia for the first time this month. Kristian Bugge, fiddle player in Habadekuk, joins us in this exclusive interview on the band’s musical journey.

What was the vision behind founding of your music group, and the name of your group?
We wanted to form a group that could really move some energy and share the happiness we find in this music – the tunes, the wildness and playing style! It’s very joyful music, that’s our focus.

Our name comes from an old dance tune with a short singing text. All it says is Habadekuk. We took the name because it sounds fun and musical, but it doesn’t have a meaning in Danish nowadays. Maybe it did once… ?

Who would you say are the leading influences in your musical career?
There are a lot of them! Traditional dance musicians from Denmark, names like Karl Skaarup, Peter Uhrbrand, Evald Thomsen and Viggo Post are some of our heros. Internationally I have to mention La Bottine Souriante from Canada, JPP from Finland, Vasen from Sweden, Jerry Holland from Canada, but also legends like Jimy Hendrix, Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin have brought a lot of inspiration.

What music influences did your family have?
Some Danish folk music, but also great stuff like Simon and Garfunkel, the Doors, Buffy Saint-Marie. I was never forbidden to play something, I used to play electric bass in a heavy band when I was a teenager, Metallica and AC/DC, I still enjoy that music a lot too!


How do you blend different musical influences and genres in your music?
We haven’t decided any restrictions beforehand, we try stuff out and see what works. We like music in many forms. We all listen to a lot of very traditional stuff but also find it very exciting to blend it in new and different ways.

What is the profile of some of the artistes in your band?
Some of us come from a jazz background, some from traditional folk and dance music. Some have played a lot of classical music before. We all met around the joyfulness in this music, and we all try to share our ideas and dreams in this.

How would you describe your musical journey?
We started out being only focused on the instrumental work. But we’ve been experimenting more and more with our vocals, even though none of us are singers by profession! But it is somehow too tempting to sing along to music, and it is not always about the beauty or control of the voice.

What kinds of messages have been conveyed in your recent albums?
I hope that people feel a vibe of togetherness in our music. It is supposed to invite people along, not depending on national or cultural or belongings. I think music is one of the best and most important ways to communicate. And if you have your own musical standpoint or musical home, that helps a lot to adopt and meet other styles, personalities, traditions and ideas.

How does your composition process work?
There is no one way for us to do it. Some pieces we jam between us, other times one of us brings a new melody along and the others will take it home to try it out.

We’re currently working on a new studio album as well as a vocal single. We have some wild ideas for music videos, if you keep in touch we hope to surprise you sometime soon!


What have been your previous highlights in playing across Asia and other parts of the world?
This is our first time to visit Asia with the band, and we’re very excited! In fact, the farthest east we’ve played before is Helsinki, the Capitol of Finland! Some of our earlier highlights abroad has been the Womad Festival in the UK (how that audience could dance and sing along!) and The Mission Folk Festival in Canada last summer, where we were lucky to play the main stage right after Buffy Saint-Marie as the final act Saturday night, what a celebration!




A short yet valuable conversation it was. After they had about an hour authority on Kampoeng Jazz stage, the legendary Fariz Rustam Munaf, better known as Fariz RM and the enormous Indra Lesmana back to backstage and provided several minutes for interview session. The first thing we saw two of them was their appearance, they looked trendy with their casual style. Mr. Fariz RM with his black jacket and Indra Lesmana on his blue shirt welcomed our reporter in front of Grha Sanusi (Padjadjaran University, Dipatiukur-Bandung). “Well, hello guys..” said Indra Lesmana to start the interview. We asked about his collaboration with fariz RM on the stage, since it’s been so long we have not seen Fariz RM whether on live performance or music programs on television.

Since last year we saw more frequent appearance of Fariz RM on stage, either in his own solo concert or a couple of appearances for example at the Red White Lounge which is hosted by Indra Lesmana. It’s like fate, both of them got together again after being separated for about 2 decades. “Due to our own busy activities,” said Indra Lesmana in between performance.

You can imagine what’d happen when two legends collide in the same frame. When we saw this collaboration in Kampoeng Jazz 2013, we could feel the magic brought by the reunion of two best friends. If feeling isn’t enough, you can see the fruit of their partnership through a song titled “Sleeping Beauty,” which also played at this festival. Sleeping Beauty is Indra Lesmana’s song which is a track packed inside his 1984 album, “No Standing” (with his then-group Nebula, featuring Steve Hunter, Andy Evans, Ken James, Vince Genova and Carlinhos Gonzalves). The song was originally an instrumental composition, but now Fariz added lyrics on it .”At first he was only suggesting the idea so Mira (Mira Lesmana, Indra’s sister) would write it.” said Indra. “But since he kept writing the lines, I said to him, “why don’t you just make it yourself?” So then, finally he was the one who made it.” Indra continued.


On stage they served a deadly keyboards match, setting up dialogues, complimenting each other, shouting and trading conversations through their instruments. It was madness. Especially for “Sleeping Beauty”, since we’ve heard the original before, it now appeared like a new song from them. Something magical like this could only happen when two wizards join forces.

More about Fariz’s comeback, other than making more and more appearances on the surface, he has released his new album entitled “Fenomena.” As a hit maker who wrote many evergreens such as “Sakura” and “Barcelona”, time will tell whether he will produce new hits or not from the album. But one thing for sure, the album was made with all his heart and contains a lot of good stuffs in it. Meanwhile, Indra Lesmana just released his limited 2nd album of LLW, “Loose Loud Whiz.” If in the first album he sent the message of “growing wisely with love and knowledge”, the 2nd album holds the next message: “growing wisely with freedom and courage.” Other than the current personnels including Indra Lesmana, Barry Likumahuwa, Muhammad Rafi and Kyriz Boogiemen, the album also features Indra’s daughter Eva Celia and trumpeter Maurice Brown.

Let’s get back to the back-stage meeting. Right after their performance at Kampoeng Jazz 2013, we approached Fariz RM and asked about the collaboration with Indra. “Actually, I have known Indra for very long time. We’ve been established music school several years ago. And my sensibility in Jazz also influenced by Indra’s father, Jack Lesmana. Some of my knowledge came from him. More than ten years we did not play the tunes together, until one day he called me and asked me to do a duet on Red White Lounge in Jakarta.” said Fariz while also stating that he is close with Indra’s family.

“So this is not the first time we had collaboration, but after a long term of ‘rest’ this could be our first come-back collaboration. Fortunately, Kampoeng Jazz invited both of us to take a part on their event, and there was our performance” added uncle of young talented singer Sherina Munaf.

Then we asked them about the development of Jazz in Indonesia which becomes a popular issue recently. Especially for the movement that mostly arranged by college students or let say young people of the nation. “Of course we want to. In my opinion, music is available for every category. There’s no special genre for the youth neither for the elderly. Music is a blessing for everyone. Age does not matter. In future days when I invited to the event like yours, I would like to come. Surely, I support the movement of your generation on developing Indoesia’s music specially Jazz,” answered Indra Lesmana clearly. In addition he revealed the excitement of the audience since it was rain not heavily but still unstoppable until their session finished. “I appreciate it.” closed Indra Lesmana followed by a couple of friendly smile from him and Fariz RM.


In conclusion, the atmosphere of Jazz and positive energy from the youth that night returns into nutritious meal and affection for Fariz RM to boost his creativity in music. Though he’s already through a half century of his life, we still waiting for more of his classy artworks to color up the industry at present time. We wish you for a long and healthy life, Sir! Keep absorbing the energy from the stage and use it as the power to keep going. Finally, we gave another great greeting to Indra Lesmana who never stops creating the new acceleration for Indonesia music industry. Let us be the witness of Jazz development!

Interviewed and written by: Shely Napitupulu
Photographer: Nuri Arunbiarti


One of the European bands playing at the Penang World Music Festival 2013 ( this weekend is the fusion group Oratnitza ( from Bulgaria. The group plays a fusion of folk, dubstep, aboriginal and drums’n’bass. The lineup includes Buny (cajon, tupan), Horhe (didgeridoos, bagpipes), Popa (vocals) and Hristiyan (kaval, double flute).

They join us in this exclusive interview on their unique musical blend, culture in the post-communist age, and their upcoming first performance in Asia!

What was the vision behind founding of your music group, and the name of your group?
The group was founded in 2009 after we met each other and after we had some jam sessions. The mixture of didgeridoo sounds with Bulgarian kaval and voices is magical, intriguing. After some time we came up with the name – Oratnitza – this is a famous Bulgarian ritual on Shrovetide on which people perform fire dances because the fire has a cleansing power.

Who would you say are the leading influences in your musical career?
Bulgarian folklore is the biggest inspiration for us. Another thing is the city, the urban life, the modern musical genres, the nature with its tranquility.

How do you blend different musical influences and genres in your compositions?
Actually it’s quite easy. Our instruments are non conventional. Our sound is odd – whatever we play with them sounds fusion because a didgeridoo doesn’t play dubstep for example. We blend the styles we like, the genres we listen to.




One of the regional bands playing at the Penang World Music Festival 2013 ( in Malaysia this weekend is Kalayo ( The Filipino group plays experimental, folk, fusion, contemporary and roots music. Louie Talan, the band’s bass player, co-produced and engineered the group’s debut album “Kalayo-Malaya” alongside Sammy Asuncion, who is the musical director, vocalist and guitarist.

Louie joins us in this exclusive interview on the group’s unique blend of tribal and contemporary sound, improvisational styles, and Asian connections!

What was the vision behind founding of your music group, and the name of your group?
Kalayo (in certain Philippine dialects) translated to English means “fire” or “heat.” Words which suit a certain kind of aggression that we like to put into our music. This is definitely not a passive outfit!

Our vision, which we carry over from our group’s past incarnation as Pinikpikan, is to create music that has its roots in the music of the indigenous tribes of our country, but openly acknowledges and embraces musical influences from all parts of the world. All of us are broad, open-minded listeners, and we live to absorb all the beautiful music this planet has to offer. Hopefully, our compositions reflect this.

How do you blend different musical influences and genres in your compositions?
We don’t really think about it. It’s just a very natural process where the music just comes out a certain way. A result of varied listening I suppose. We can go through the whole process of writing and recording a song, then only upon playback realise “hey that’s got a bit of salsa in it eh?”

What is your vision of what music can do in this age of political/economical turmoil?
I believe a sincere, unselfish and courageous act by an individual can move mountains. The world has witnessed this many times. If a song can inspire that individual, then music can do so much.

kalayo, jazzuality


What are your thoughts on fusion and blending of music of different genres, though some purists frown on it?
If no one decided to try blend blue and red, there would be no purple! It is necessary in order for music to evolve.

Tell us about the more unusual instruments you have in your ensemble.
We use a lot of bamboo instruments (tungatong, bungkaka), juice harps (kubing), brass gongs (gansa) and two string lutes (hegalong/faglong) from the mountain provinces. We also use djembe-inspired drums homemade by one of our percussionists, Boy Garrovillo.

What new album or video are you working on now?
We released an album mid 2011, and along with it, a video for our song “Lumaban Ka” which can be seen on YouTube. We are due to start recording again mid-2013.


One of the highlights at the Penang World Music Festival 2013 ( in Malaysia this weekend is Dendê (, a Brasilian percussionist, singer, composer, bandleader, teacher and multi-instrumentalist. He has been a professional musician since the age of 14, when he appeared in the frontline of Timbalada, Carlinhos Brown’s superstar percussion ensemble. Dendê was born and raised in Salvador, a city in Bahia, Brasil’s most African state, and now shuttles between New York and Brasil.

His flagship band has been packing clubs and festivals in the US and Asia. Dendê joins us in this exclusive interview on his music, the advantages of shuttling between New York and Brasil, and the artistic giants he has played with!

Tell us about your new album Back to Bahia.
The album combines Brasil’s rhythm heavy music with the grooves of afrobeat, reggae, merengue, and others from around the world. The album includes special appearances by Ilê Aiyê, Melvin Gibbs, Graham Haynes, Vinicius Cantuária, Magary Lord, Luizinho do Gege (Daniela Mercury) and Gerson Silva & Mikael Mutti (Carlinhos Brown) among many others

I recently finished a U.S. tour for the release of the album – we played in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. And I look forward to playing in Penang this weekend as well!

What were the musical influences in your life?
I grew up in a poor neighbourhood, surrounded by traditional music. When I was a kid I would play rhythms on the kitchen table and tell my mom I was going to be famous someday. I used to hold the drums for the older timbal players at the sambas de roda and after they’d finished playing, they’d let me play and show me the different rhythms. I also soaked up the rhythms I heard at the candomblé ceremonies in the neighbourhood.

How did you get started off in your professional music career?
At 14, I auditioned for Timbalada, the two hundred-piece percussion troupe founded by superstar Carlinhos Brown. I started in the last line and worked my way up to the front. Over a period of eight years in the band, I toured internationally with Timbalada and recorded many of their albums.

I was also given the opportunity to perform and record with some of the superstars in Brasilian music like Carlinhos Brown, Marisa Monte, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil among many others!

dende, jazzuality


What has it been like to play in New York as well as Brasil?
Since 2001, I have been splitting my time between New York and Bahia, and have played with Mongo Santamaria, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussain, David Byrne, Melvin Gibbs and Vinicius Cantuária.

My own bands include the folkloric music and dance troupe Ologundê, the acoustic Samba de Três, and Arrastão do Dendê, a traditional Afro bloco (samba party band).

How did the move to New York come about, and how has it worked out for you?
I began to teach classes when I was in Brasil, and then moved to New York with one of my students. We even played in the subway in New York!

Being exposed to musicians from all over the world has taught me rhythms that I never could have dreamed of in Brasil. New York has given me opportunities that I would never have at home, but I’m glad that I can always go Back to Bahia!

Written by Madanmohan Rao
Editor & DJ, World Music and Jazz; Bangalore
Global Correspondent for




The Penang World Music Festival 2013 ( will draw music fans to Malaysia again for a terrific lineup of artistes and performers from around the world: including Mu ( from Portugal. This Portuguese fusion band began its musical route in 2003, blending traditional sounds from many musical styles.

Its members play various instruments from all over the world: India, Switzerland, Egypt, Brazil, Morocco, Australia, among others. This allows the group to travel between a lost world and actuality, rescuing and interpreting beautiful sounds from these ancient worlds. Mu has been honoured with Portugal’s Arribas Folk Award and Carlos Paredes Award, among others.

The lineup  includes Helena Madeira (vocals), Andreia Barão (accordion), Sandra Martins (cello, clarinet), Ruben Monteiro (guitar, bouzouki), Hugo Osga (hurdy-gurdy, tarang, Jewish harp) and Nuno Encarnação (percussion). Their albums to date include “Folhas que Ardem” (2011), “Casanostra” (2008) and “Mundanças” (2005).

Mu joins us in this exclusive interview on their musical heritage, diversity of instruments, and their first upcoming performance in Asia!

mu, portugal, jazzuality

How was your group formed?
Our group started with only two musicians playing in a jam session. The instruments were only tabla and didgeridoo. The idea was to mingle different sound from different parts of the world! Later two musicians joined us with accordion and violin, the project did grow up, and now we are six musicians. MU means a symbolic passage, a place where you are neither in or out, it’s a limbo place, like when you are crossing a door (Japanese character).

What have been the musical influences and blends in your group?
We are six different persons, each one brings their own influences. And there are so many influences that we just can tell you that it’s music from the whole world! We keep playing, experimenting and jamming together with our creativity and taste. The purpose of our music is not political or social, our purpose is spiritual.

We are not against blending different music genres since we use the same method. Although it’s very important to preserve all the traditional roots music in all parts of the world, because they are the fountain where we go to drink for our compositions, and like this we can create our own musical personality. We also teach European traditional dances and we can teach how to play any instruments that we use in the band.

Tell us about the more unusual instruments you have in your ensemble.
For us we have some “special” instruments, one it’s Bulbul Tarang (from India), Hurdy Gurdy (Eeuropean medieval instrument), Didgeridoo, Jewish Harp and many many more!

What new album or video are you working on now?
We just released our thid album. Our idea is to record next year a live CD. For the moment we are promoting our latest work “Folhas que ardem.”

What have been your previous highlights in playing across the world?
We already played in several countries in Europe, but not so far away. We’ve never played in Asia and we are very excited to play our music in Malaysia!

How do you choose what to play in just a short 45-minute session in the festival, given your repertoire?
This is the most difficult question. We will decide that on stage, yeahhhhh! For the moment we are prepared for a two hours concert, let nature decide! In our Penang concert we will perform a powerful set list to our Malaysian friends to dance and have fun. It will be an unforgettable 45 minutes, yeahhhhh! We will present two new tracks and a short retrospective of our Muuuuusic!

Written by Madanmohan Rao
Editor & DJ, World Music and Jazz; Bangalore
Global Correspondent for

Photos are taken from Mu’s official facebook page