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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.


Chaseiro-Retro2-Presscon-DudutSuhendraPutra (4)


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




As one of the most successful overseas program of Goethe-Institut, Serambi Jazz has been doing great in presenting quality jazz concert every two months since 2009. Riza Arshad who acts as the curator of this program works hard to maintain each edition by featuring skillful bands/musicians who have dedicated their love to jazz both from our local source and Germany. Series of clinics has been made that already bore fruit, meaning that there are successful bands today actually started from attending the Serambi Jazz’s workshop. Two months ago this successful program higlighted a great man that can combine the strong jazzpression with sophisticated and poetic tunes at the same time, Julian Marantika Just a month later, a special Serambi Jazz visit to Yogyakarta was held by presenting Duo Project, a guitar-piano session of Ramadhani Syah Warongan (Dhani Syah) and Johanes Radianto Both received great results from the society.

In this month of August Serambi Jazz is ready to spread its venom again. Unique might be the best keyword to describe this upcoming show. It involved four cross-aged jazz titans where each of them can pour out a deadly one. If a band decides to play without bass is already unique, what if we say that this band utilize just set of keys (piano, synthesizer and Hammond organ) plus drum? How can this formation carry the concept and how will it sound? Tell us if you on’t think it’s unique. We think these four dudes are really daring and brilliant at the same time. Who? Well, it’s TUSLAH. This quartet is the headline for Serambi Jazz August 2014 which will come on August 21, 2014 at GoetheHaus Jakarta, starting 7:30 pm onwards. Just like always, this one’s free concert and open for public.


tuslah, jazzuality, riza arshad, adra karim, sri hanuraga, elfa zulham


We call Tuslah a group of Jazz titans is not without reason. Other than they possess worldclass skills in dealing with their instruments, they know what to do in order to flip you upside down. Maybe you’re wondering what Tuslah refers to. It came from “Toeslag”, which is a shorten word from Toetsen (keyboard) and Slagwerk (drums).

The Serambi Jazz curator Riza Arzhad on synthesizer, Sri Hanuraga on piano, Adra Karim on Hammond and Elfa Zulham on drums are the personnels of this very unique quartet.

This idea came from Riza Arshad first of all, as he thought it would be interesting to form a band with an ‘unusual’ formation since he has some fellow musicians with specialties and distinctive characters. So it was formed some times in October 2013 and had the first gig in Red White Jazz Lounge. “What I wish to make is a home for these ‘non industrial’ fellows. I want us all to maintain our intellectuality as an improvisator, especially in this non industrial segment of music scene.” Riza explains. He also said that this becomes more relevant today since there are so many musicians that actually dare to take this path. So now four them is living harmoniously together, sharing and throwing the ideas to one another in order to make this work. “This band doesn’t have a leader, but rather is a collective band.” he says furthermore.

We heard this band for the first time when they were featured in Gedung Kesenian Jakarta’s event Festival Musik 2013  and then saw them again at the Java Jazz Festival 2014 .  Based on the uniqueness, masterclass skill, brilliant concept and fine execution, Serambi Jazz is exactly one of the perfect playground for this group.

Tuslah’s music is served as a creative impulse of the musician whose background is rich with musical experiences in Indonesia, also in Europe and America. What’s also interesting is, this group is like a combination of two groups. Riza Arshad and Sri Hanuraga are from W/H/A/T while Elfa Zulham and Adra Karim are two of the four players found in Tomorrow People Ensemble (TPE). From what we’ve seen, Tuslah creates a ‘new color’. They combine the element of classic, jazz, blues, funk and rock which are going to appear through original compositions and new arrangements.


tuslah, jazzuality, riza arshad, adra karim, sri hanuraga, elfa zulham


Just like we said before, each of them can make a difference when asked to play, now imagine what would happen when they join forces. Think of how the combination of piano, synthesizer and Hammond in one shot along with drum without bass would sound. What kind of ‘jazz hybrid’ does they create? The key-wiz Riza Arshad, the magic fingers Sri Hanuraga, the strong funky-punchlines of Adra Karim and the rich beat from Elfa Zulham will surprise you. Just don’t miss the Serambi Jazz August 2014 Edition on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at GoetheHaus Jakarta, and prepare yourself to see a concept totally different than what you’ve seen so far.


Date: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Time: 06:30 pm – onwards
Location: GoetheHaus, Jl. Sam Ratulangi 9-15, Menteng, Jakarta


Photos of Tuslah were taken by Mia Damayanti Sjahir




What criteria does a band/musician have to meet to be featured in Serambi Jazz? We asked that question to the curator, Riza Arshad in 2009, a couple of months after the Serambi Jazz series has just begun. According to Riza Arshad, this event has to be filled by someone who has high dedication to Indonesian jazz development. In other words, still according to him, it has to be someone who has decided to live their life as jazz players. Furthermore he explained that there are so many musicians in Indonesia who are very talented and fully dedicated, but they haven’t got the credit that they deserve. At that time, Riza wished to introduce these talents so they could get more appreciation from the society.

That was 5 years ago. Since then Serambi Jazz has been growing very well and now stands as one of the most awaited regular jazz events in Jakarta. It has featured so many amazing musicians with their own distinctive jazz styles and tastes. So far this successful overseas program of Goethe Institut has become a showcase/gallery of great talents, a place for jazz aficionados to go whenever they want to see quality shows from artists that know how to cook their meals in perfect.

Speaking of the criteria, there’s a pianist who has his own color and more than deserves to be featured in front. He was already played in the first year of Serambi Jazz, but it was with his group, the Sarimanouk Quartet (Read the report here: . We have been waiting to see him get the spotlight because we know he has good things to offer. Now finally he’s the featured artist for Serambi Jazz. That’s about time, that’s what we think. He is Julian Abraham Marantika, also known as Joy Marantika.


julian marantika, serambi jazz 2014


Let’s point our attention more towards him. Julian started by learning classical piano when he was 14 years old by studied from Getih Indra Sunaryo, but then got his encounter with jazz when he learned it from Benny Likumahuwa for Music Theory and Saxophone. He then took his number one Jazz Piano lesson from Riza Arshad and Krishna Balagita.

In 2004 he enrolled to the Institut Musik Daya Degree program under Tjut Njak Deviana Daudsjah, Ivonne Atmojo, Aksan Sjuman, Masako Hamamura, Mark Isaac, and Jelia Megawati Heru. Julian graduated in 2007 holding Bachelor of Music in Performance.

Speaking of the stages he’s conquered, he already tasted many prestigious events such as Java Jazz Festival 2007 and 2008, Pasar Jazz 2006 with New Conservative Trio (his first jazz trio), Serambi Jazz as the pianist of Sarimanouk Quartet in 2009 and Jazz Speak 2012 in Bandung just to mention a few. Some of his shining project are the compilation album “Jazz Masa Kini” by Aksara Records, joining Ricki Lionardi Big band for a recording session for Ruth Sahanaya Christmas Album 2006, “Dunia Mereka” OST in 2005 and “Sarimanouk Quartet” album alongside Talafaral Ramiandriosa, Sandy Winarta and Doni Sundjoyo.

Another thing that you have to know is that beside performing, he is also an active educator. He’s been the Head of Contemporary Piano Department at Pelita Harapan Music Faculty from 2008. He teaches Jazz Piano, Improvisation Concept, History of Broadway Musical, Jazz Ear Training, Jazz Ensemble Class, also contributes as one of the educators at Ponpin Music where he teaches Jazz Theory, Rhytmic & Ear Training and Major Class. Now Julian has working on his latest trio for recording project.


julian marantika, serambi jazz 2014


At Serambi Jazz he will bring a strong team consists of Indra Perkasa (doublebass), Elfa Zulham (drums), Gerald Situmorang (guitar) and Cassia Agata (vocal). We have seen the exact line 2 years ago at Jazz Speak where they gave something unique, either his own standout compositions (including one song which the lyrics’ written by wife Mery Kasiman) and Miles Davis’ “Milestones” with lyrics ( We still remember Julian Marantika’s performance at that time clearly. Julian has two contrast music assets: the structured play style learned when he was into classical and jazz with good phrasings, both glued with great improvisations. This is the project that he’s been working on for several years, a project that involves a singer, different than any previous ones he’s done before.




As Indonesia has cultural diversity, the music scene demonstrates the same too. If you look at today’s trend, you might find mostly pop influenced by foreign music dominating the scene, from the Western to K-pop, then on the other hand dangdut and pop melayu are still having many loyal fans. But there are many, many musicians that chose to answer their callings by going against the mainstream. They go on transforming whatever they have in mind and producing it for us to experience. They can be still influenced by some already-known genres, but their creativity enable them to craft a new musical hybrid, opening new terrains, exploring new horizons in open minded perspective. So there’s a commercial side of music, but there’s also stuffs that go more into the artistic corner. What’s amazing is to know that some geniuses can live and breath inside this sphere, stand the test of time and still being productive despite of what the recend music trend is. The cross ethno-progressive ensemble simakDialog should always be one of the most valuable respresentatives for that. The ensemble which is led by key-wiz Riza Arshad has been active for 21 years and still counting. They still have many ideas, wishes and dreams to achieve and up to this time they never loose their passion. A concert held a couple of days ago (April 3, 2014) at the monumental building of Gedung Kesenian Jakarta contains many stories to tell, either from the band’s history related to past, present and future and as a gift from the Indonesia’s creative side to the world’s musics and arts.

Not many bands dare to take the progressive jazz inside the road that leads to the mystical, magical Javanese/Sundanese ethnic musics, and the number decreases even lesser when we talk about never ending and continuous research and observation which has been going on for 2 decades. But simakDialog (in English means “to listen to dialogues carefully”) does it. If you listen to their album from the first to the latest sixth album entitled “The 6th Story”, you will certainly find all the band’s progress of sound development being recorded inside. For us, simakDialog means an ongoing process of studying further measures and possibilities towards perfection. And if you wonder why this becomes so important for them, one of the reasons is because they decide to replace the role of drums with traditional Sundanese set of kendangs. Without any intention to choose either the modern Western or traditional South-Eastern types of music to be in front, they are setting up their course into the new sonicscape. What they have been doing has successfully gained critical acclaims and respect internationally. That’s made possible by being available in the international market through US-based label, MoonJune Records since the fourth album, “Patahan”.



Perhaps it’s important to explain how they build their concept by utilizing kendang set. While ago Riza Arshad told us that in simakDialog kendang isn’t used only as an addition but really as the ‘backbone’ rhythm, which, in this case, has more vital role to be the ‘time keeper’. “Just like Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussein did by introducing Indian instrumentation in Western music. It’s not an easy task to place kendang into the progressive jazz pattern especally if one wants to have the best result, mainly because both corners have their own distinctively specific pattern. That’s why they need to do some observations, researches and studies, which has been going on for many years until they could finally find the most comfortable way to play it.

Now let’s go back to the simakDialog’s concert at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta as a part of its April program. If somehow you thought they were going to promote their most recent 6th album which was released last year, you’d be wrong, because in this concert simakDialog actually decided to go backall the way to their first album “Lukisan” (1995). This is a very important, if not crucial, step for them to make. Why? Because if you haven’t followed them from the start, Lukisan was made by still utilizing drum in normal quartet formation. Thus, since they are no longer use drum, it’s important to ‘complete’ their story by revisiting the earliest works and bring them into the the current concept.




The historical Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Art Building/Jakarta Playhouse) which was built during the Dutch colonial period (known as Schouwburg Weltervreden at that time) consistently presents variety of showcases which are related to art, culture and music every month. Either as stand-alone program or regular annual events, you can always find something interesting in their program. The rich variety of Indonesian cultures, Indonesian bright artists, or even if you want to see what’s going on in the cultural world from the other part of the globe, you can find it there from time to time.

Entering the month of April, Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (GKJ) has announced three interesting concerts. If you are into classical piano recital, the young pianist/future maestro who won the 2002 Abilene Collegiate Orchestra Concerto Competition in Texas USA, Mario Santoso should be interesting to catch. He will bring some of the well known masterpieces from legendary composers on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Then if you’re into the sound of guitar, your need will be filled fully by Jakarta Enam Senar (Jakarta Six Strings) concert, coming to you on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. The theme is: “Maaf Kami Lupa” (“Sorry, We Forget”). All the information needed for these concert can simply be found by looking at the poster above. The only one we haven’t mention is related to jazz, especially if we talk about the most important bands/figures in our own jazz historical timeline. It’s an group of geniuses that likes to mention itself as Cross Ethno-Jazz Progressive Ensemble. It’s a unit that has redefined the jazz-ethnic hybrid by fusing the Western progressive jazz with our own traditional music (most especially Sundanese) approach. It’s the ‘A’ team that’s decided to replace the role of drums with never-ending exploration of kendangs. It’s a band that has shown its strength by withstand the test of time (21 years and counting). It’s none other than simakDialog.


simak dialog, gkj, jazzuality, tohpati, riza arshad


For many, music might be just a source of entertainment. But to others, music can give much more meanings or values of life. Music provides unlimited space for exploring ideas, freedom of expression and everything comes out of our mind. The geniuses inside simakDialog (in English means “to listen to dialogues carefully”) seems to realize it and know that they can do so much more than anyone would ever think of by embedding themselves totally inside the world of music. The intensive exlporation, trying and research that has been made for almost 2 decades should be able to give you clue of how different they are, conceptually speaking. MoonJune Records, US called them “a legendary psychedelic/gamela-jazz/world music phenoms who has the spirit of pioneering excellence, presenting progressive jazz masterpiece as an astounding work of uncomprimising excellence.” Too much? We don’t think so. Imagine how difficult it is to use kendang as the ‘backbone’ rhythm and vital role as ‘time keeper’, replacing the role of drums in normal bands. But they have intensely studied, examined and analyzed the long play system for years to find the best click. Imagine when there are musicians who are so much into jazz but still wish to utilize their own traditional instruments in order to compliment the treasury of world’s music. The super team of Riza Arshad (piano), Tohpati (guitar), Adhitya Pratama (bass), Endang Ramdan (kendang), Cucu Kurnia (kendang/metal toys) and Erlan Suwardana (kendang) have been marching on wildly  into the unknown-world, opening more and more ‘sonus’ terrain, and they always invite us all to go along.

SimakDialog is set to hold their concert in Gedung Kesenian Jakarta on Thursday, April 3, 2014, 8:00 pm sharp. You can already start securing your seat from now on by simply contacting the GKJ (find the phone number/email below), but before that, we think it’s important to let you know about what they are going to bring this time. And if you still don’t know so much about them, we think it’s necessary to share their story too, especially since this concert is tightly related to their history. Buckle up, here we go.


simak dialog, lukisan, first formation, riza arshad, tohpati, arie ayunir, indro hardjodikoro

 simakDialog’s formation in the first album, Lukisan


The simakDialog history started way back 2 decades plus one year ago in 1993 as the brainchild of Riza Arshad and his musical soulmate Arie Ayunir. In our exclusive interview with Riza Arshad (, he explained that they were inspired by the monumental English progressive rock group YES among other influences, such as Weather Report and Pat Metheny for example. With the first formation: Riza Arshad (acoustic piano, snyth, bass synth), Arie Ayunir (drums/percussions), Tohpati (acoustic/electric guitar) and Indro Hardjodikoro (electric bass), the launched the very first album in 1995 titled “Lukisan” (Painting), containing no less than 9 songs. You can see that simakDialog actually started with drums.


Festival Musik GKJ


The historical building of Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (GKJ; Jakarta Art Building/Jakarta Playhouse) was built during the Dutch colonial period and once known as Schouwburg Weltervreden. The idea of making this building came from Dutch Herman Willem Daendels and realized by Thomas Stamford Raffles in the early 1800’s. The building has already used to hold performances since as early as 1811. This historical building now stands as a culture, art centre and music concert hall in Jakarta, proudly presents variety of showcases either as a stand-alone program or a part of regular events. Speaking of regular events, GKJ has the annual mid-year Jakarta Anniversary Festival which already reached the 11th edition. The other one is FESTIVAL MUSIK, presented in December. Last year the Festival Musik higlighted “The Unplugged”, presenting 4 performandes no less than four bands took the lane of the minimalistic sound of acoustic, where two of the shows will be full of jazz delight. (



As we are marching into the last month of 2013, the Festival Musik program is ready to roll again. This time it will feature 3 bands with interesting collaboration and concept that will surely make your December full with creative musics. What, who, when,  you ask? Scroll down, we will spill them one by one.



Two musicians from Indonesia and Colombia, who unite their vision to combine Indonesian ethnic and pop culture with the Latin American’s, especially the one from Colombia. This group sets their aim to bring (re-introduce) the real Salsa, the specific music and dance form with origins from the Cuban Son (Cuban music) to the music society. As the name Sol, that means “Sun” in English, they want to bring the music at the most exotic way under the sun. Along the way, SoL Project has combined their style with many ethnical influences besides fusing themselves with other music genres from rock and other Western musics, the Latins to even traditional Indonesian arts such as Jaipong or even Batavian Lenong. Often we find South American percussion mixed with Indonesian traditional music, and many kind of South American songs mixed with songs from Bali, Aceh, Nusa Tenggara and other places in the archipelago, with a golden voice of a traditional Javanese singer. They like to bring something out of the box, compelling and certainly entertaining in unique ways possible. “La Musica Maak Nyoooss…”, what’s that going to be? Will it include theatrical? Find out by watching it!

Date: Friday, December 6, 2013, 8:00 pm
Time: 8:00 pm
Ticket: IDR 100.000 & IDR 75.000 (balcony)


Konser KunoKini “Masa Lalu untuk Masa Depan”

Since the collaboration in a Folklore Festival in Wismar, Germany (2003), KunoKini keeps bringing up the enthusiasm and nationalism by using the richness of Indonesian traditional instrument. Holding on to the roots of Indonesian music, they use traditional instruments and blend them with modern instruments. Through the combination KunoKini creates an interesting music form, not only for people to enjoy but also capturing the mystical nuance of Indonesian natural ethnic sound. Based on their concept, KunoKini is a perfect name to choose. The name was formed from a combination of two words: Kuno (old, vintage) and Kini (present). They love to show how traditional music can also be used to make modern music, and to remind us, the music lovers about the beauty of ethnical sound. The enjoyment in creating music with Indonesian native music devices, exploring their harmonization, uniting the sounds of bamboo flutes, Irian shells, Javanese Percussion, Kolintang, Rebana Biang, Saluang, to Krecekan, with sounds from music device from other countries, like Conga, Djembe, woodblock, Didgeridoo, Bass, to modern brass instruments like Trombone, Trumpet and Saxophone. In this Concert that holds the theme of “Masa Lalu untuk Masa Depan (The Past for The Future)”,  KunoKini will present a collaboration of enchanted traditional and modern sounds by re-interpreting the old songs of KunoKini from their first album “Reinkarnasi” (, favorite songs and teaser of new songs from their upcoming second album.

Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013,
Time: 8:00 pm
Ticket: IDR 100.000 & IDR 75.000 (balcony)


Jazz Concert: Jazz Kuartet TUSLAH

Riza Arshad synth
Sri Hanuraga acoustic piano
Adra Karim hammond organ
Elfa Zulham drum

This is a group of Jazz titans that can surely flip you upside down once they use their weapons. A very unique quartet of Riza Arzhad, Sri Hanuraga, Adra Karim and Elfa Zulham who called themselves as TUSLAH is combination of instrument of piano, synthesizer, Hammond organ and drum altogether as one. You might think of an ordinary composition when you hear ‘quartet’, with drum, piano, bass and guitar, but now these four venomous jazz cats are going to shake your perception, proving that there are many alternatives that can be surprising under a unit of four players. TUSLAH’s mousic is presented as a creative impulse of the musician whose background is rich with musical experiences in Indonesia, also in Europe and America. Interestingly, this group is like a combination of two groups. Riza Arshad and Sri Hanuraga are from W/H/A/T while Elfa Zulham and Adra Karim are two of the four players found in Tomorrow People Ensemble (TPE), as well as doing their own projects. Mind you that in TUSLAH there will be a ‘new color’. As a hint, they combine the element of classic, jazz, blues, funk and rock, presented in 8 new compositions from each musician, which are the original compositions and some new arrangements. Each of them can make a difference when placed in a project, now imagine what would happen when they join forces. Even if the names still don’t hook you up, you can think of how the combination of piano, synthesizer and Hammond in one shot along with drum without bass would sound. What kind of ‘jazz species’ will be born by these four strong pillars. The key-wiz Riza Arshad, the magic fingers Sri Hanuraga, the strong funky-punchlines of Adra Karim and the rich beat from Elfa Zulham will surprise you.

Date: Friday, December 13, 2013 – 8:00 pm
Time: 8:00 pm
Ticket: IDR 100.000 & IDR 75.000 (balcony)




Twelve years ago compser/key-wiz Riza Arshad established a beautiful connection with guitarist Oele Pattiselano in an album titled “Talks”. This album gave an essential dialogue between two musicians which spoke their heart out into stream of notes by using their instruments. No one and nothing else, just the two of them, but in each song we could feel the artistic side brought by two masters. They might be silence while playing, but the communication was intense, musically speaking. The album is long gone from the market, but it’s still well remembered until now.

12 years have passed, now Riza Arshad is ready to make the second collaboration, this time with much younger guitarist but just as good. He is Robert Mulyarahardja (Robert MR) as the highlight of Institut Français d’Indonésie (IFI) Bandung’s Saung Jazz, June edition. This project is called Riza Arshad/Robert MR ‘Harmonik Duo’. So, other than watching the new piano-guitar connection from Riza and Robert, this edition will be the second concert that exhibit the harmonious marriage between these two instruments. The first one was last year in March with Dhani Syah and Johanes Radianto.

Let’s take a closer look of both artist. Riza Arshad is one of the most respected names in Indonesian jazz scene. He has been contributing a lot in jazz movement in Indonesia for many years. Riza started his career at the age of 15 in a progressive rock band, Rara Ragadi and never stopped playing ever since. He currently has two bands with different concept: the ethno-jazz progressive ensemble simakDialog and #3scapes (formerly known as Trioscapes). The simakDialog has been with him for 20 years. This band is very well known for its uniqueness by replacing drums with set of kendangs and metal toys plus the braveness to explore the jazz territory rarely visited. Since 2007 their albums are distributed internationally by MoonJune Records. Just a month ago Riza and the simakDialog launched the 6th album entitled The 6th Story. Then the #3scapes (established in 2001) digs the subtle funk with other ingredients together with his two compatriotes, Aksan Sjuman and Yance Manusama. Also known as a brilliant composer and producer, you will always amaze by the sound he creates whenever his fingers dance above the keys. “Speaking of the outside notes, Riza Arshad is the king indeed.” said a musician to us a while ago.

Then, Robert Mulyarahardja. This Berklee College of Music alumni has been coloring the jazz scene after he returned home several years ago. He’s known as one of the founders of Shadow Puppets Quartet which has released two albums and has landed on many soils in Indonesia. This talented man has collaborated with many names including joe Lovano, Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, Bubi Chen and uncountable Indonesian artists. Robert just launched his first solo album two months ago titled “Gratitude”. His calm and cool style are reflected in his compositions. Rich, challenging but melodious and still easy to listen even by the common listeners. Other than his stage and studio activities, he also works as the Head of Performance Concentration at IMI and a lecturer at Universitas Pelita Harapan.




It’s important to be ‘fluent’ in ‘speaking’ jazz, but we shouldn’t forget that we can also create a new way to enjoy it by involving our local-traditional cultures. The nature of jazz which has freedom and openness provides unlimited possibility, and that’s a very interesting playground for creative musicians.

SimakDialog has been walking in this particular field since 1993. It was founded by key-wiz/composer Riza Arshad and his music partner Arie Ayunir in 1993. From using drums, Riza took a daring move by replacing it to sets of Sundanese (West Javanese) kendangs and metal toys, opening a whole new soundscape that only a few dare to visit. As a band of six members featuring virtuous keyboardist/composer Riza Arshad, all-round guitarist Tohpati, bassist Adhitya Pratama and three musicians who master the traditional instruments, Endang Ramdan, Erlan Suwardana and Cucu Kurnia on kendangs and metal toys, this ensemble play music that’s not only for entertaining purpose, but also produces something that we can study and be proud of. This is reflected in the group name, which in English means “To listen carefully to the dialogue.”

simakdialog, the 6th story, jazzuality


The last album of simakDialog was released 4 years ago titled “Demi Masa”. Since this album goes internationally through the US label MoonJune Records, this cross ethno-jazz progressive ensemble gained a lot of critical acclaims worldwide. Since then, Riza Arshad and the team has been working for another step, from making new compositions, establishing new concept to continuing the research of fusing the traditional Sundanese rhythm into the modern jazz.

As the magical simakDialog celebrates its 20th anniversary, they are happy to inform you that the 6th album with the title of “The 6th Story” is ready to launch. Following the first promo concert at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta in December 2012, now simakDialog is set to make the second concert. SimakDialog ‘The 6th Story’ concert will be held on May 17, 2013 at GoetheHaus Jakarta, starting from 8:00 pm til finish. If you attend the concert, you will receive the simakDialog’s new album and listen to the songs through live performance, all for only IDR 50.000.

Through endless reseach over the years simakDialog has successfully replaced drums with Sundanese kendangs and metal toys. It’s not an easy task, but as time goes by, the ensemble can deliver it comfortably. They have fun in playing the music, we have fun in enjoying well-executed magical masterpieces. They bravely use kendang as the backbone rhythm, much further also utilize it as the time keeper. Last month we attended Riza Arshad and Kai Brückner collaboration as a part of Serambi Jazz program in Bandung where Riza brought his traditional rhythm section into it. At that time we approached Brückner and asked what he thinks about kendang. Can it be used in jazz, replacing the role of drums? “Yes, absolutely. It can fit the jazz concept perfectly.” he said. (read the article here:

simakdialog, jazzuality


For The 6th Story, Riza Arshad and the band is focusing on the harmony/structural wise than some tracks in previous albums. “For instance – I used more ‘common’  harmony approach almost in each composition in order to make listener pay more attention on the band’ rhythm section, and hope that they would experience with this ‘new approach’ concept and begin to get familiar to our music that based on traditional Sundanese terms.” says Riza.

So, it’s time for you to see where the invention stands today. The new crafts of simakDialog which all listed in the new album can soon be yours, as well as enjoying them through a live performance, simply by attending this concert. Only a few days left, make a reservation now so you won’t miss it.

SimakDialog ‘The 6th Story’ Music Concert

Date: May 17, 2013
Time: 08:00 pm – onward
Location: GoetheHaus, Goethe Institut Jakarta
Jl. Sam Ratulangi 9-15, Jakarta

IDR 50.000 as a payment of the new CD

For reservation, contact : Andi +62 816197777
or email:




If you ever been to Bali, Ubud should be one of your most favorite destination. This town is surrounded by rice paddies, creek with steep, located in the central foothills of Gianyar. For more than a century Ubud has been popular as a large tourism site since there are many fine arts, dance, music and other forms of cultural can be found throughout the place, not to mention so many sacred nature reserves like Ubud Monkey Forest, temples, cave or even art/painting museum. Now think of this. What if this land with beautiful nature surroundings adds its charm by serving jazz, not a single show but festival, for two days? That sounds great, right? Well, that’s what going to happen. Here comes the first ever International Jazz Festival ever held in the heart of Ubud-Bali, the capital of Art of Indonesia by the name of UBUD VILLAGE JAZZ FESTIVAL 2013.

The idea of this event was triggered a musician/composer/teacher and the founder of Underground Jazz Movement Yuri Mahatma and the director/owner of ANTIDA Music Productions, Anom Darsana. This is a new higher step for them after partnering for some regular jazz concerts that has different themes in every edition. The idea of making up a community concert came in the early 2012, but then it rolled bigger by having the involvement and support from majority of community artists. Hence, the concept of hosting a community concert in this unique village was born.

The Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2013 is created in medium size with around 20 performances, involving about 100 musicians (local and international) for two days which will be divided into 2+1 stages (two main performers and one stage for amateurs, new talents and music students). As how the jazz festival normally goes, you can find plenty of jazz forms to choose. Just in case if you’re hungry and thirsty during the event, the event also provides variety of best food in the culinary section. Other than live performances, Ubud Village Jazz Festival also facilitates workshop of local and national music educators to investigate ways of getting more people to be interested in playing jazz. The festival will be held on August 9 and 10, 2013 at the 5-star Arma Museum and Resort, Ubud, Bali.


ubud village jazz festival, lineup, jazzuality


Now let’s talk about the artists. As we have mentioned earlier, the lineup consists of local, national and international stars, either with their own groups or through special collaborative acts. Representing Netherlands is Peter Beets, a world-acclaimed pianist with classy, infectious swing. Then look at the combination of Mexico, Japan, England and Malaysia under the name of Diego Maroto and No Black Tie Artists. From Japan comes an interesting ensemble Yokohama Association of Artist Orchestra also known as YAA. After visiting many Asian regions like Korea, now they are going to expand their coverage area by playing in Bali.


Serambi Jazz-Riza Arshad-Kai Bruckner Project


An amazing concert from Serambi Jazz was finished brilliantly at the East Hall of ITB Bandung! A genius collaboration between Kai Brückner and Riza Arshad plus their respectable team mates really gave something new in the world of jazz.

There were many things to highlight or to be placed as the headline from this April 2013 edition. It’s about a new big leap of Serambi Jazz, it’s about the continuous effort and support for the Indonesia’s jazz development which now has entered a higher level, it’s about how far the friendship between two great nations – Germany and Indonesia – through art and culture can create magical madness and it’s about a bunch of highly talented men; with creativity attached; making a couple of very special showdowns for the jazz lovers in Indonesia. Curious to know the detail? Keep reading, we will reveal them all to you.

We once wrote about another role of jazz which can be used much further than just for the entertaining purpose. Jazz, as one of the biggest and most influential music style has a strong, specific and universal grip that can be understood by the players, no matter where they live or base their career at. In this case, naturally jazz can become the ‘glue’ when collaboration of artists want to create something new by using the traditional ethnical subjects. It would be challenging for them to play, it should be interesting for us to hear as well. Jazz can be the ambassador of introducing the rich musical cultures of any particular nation, and when it happen, it often creates a new musical dimension which we might have never heard before.


Now let’s take a closer look of the continuous program of Goethe Institut Jakarta, Serambi Jazz. This program started running since 2009 normally as a two monthly event, but there have been some twists like its landing on the Java Jazz Festival (6 bands for 3 days) in 2012 or the two days mini festival in 2011. Since the beginning this program has been intending to give support to the Indonesia’s jazz development by providing enough room for the artistic sides of jazz to walk on as well as adding more alternatives of enjoying live jazz gigs in Jakarta and some other cities, but the initiators never wanted to stop just on that. They have thought of extending the idea to open up the possibility of collaborations between the artists of the two nations, which finally now happened in 2013.

The Assistant Cultural Programme of Goethe Institut Indonesia who also acts as the Coordinator of Serambi Jazz, Dinyah Latuconsina told us that, as one of the goals of Serambi Jazz is to provide space for sharing knowledge and experience, the collaboration between German and Indonesian musician should take place and be carried on for more from now on. Serambi Jazz didn’t wish to wait any longer, they decided to launch the next level right away this month.


For a start, Serambi Jazz presented a special project as the brainchild of its own curator, Riza Arshad and guitarist Kai Brückner. We have known as Riza Arshad has been doing a lot of efforts to introduce and socialize the way jazz grows and assimilates in Indonesia by infusing our own ethno-musicology in his jazz crafts for many years, especially in his supergroup simakDialog, a cross ethno-jazz progressive ensemble which soon will reach its 2 decades in service. With this group, he bravely replaced drums with Sundanese kendang, not only in providing the rhythm but also in charge of the time keeper and other roles of drum in a band. So far he has gained uncountable praises from overseas, both from critics and jazz fans, especially since simakDialog is distributed internationally by MoonJune Records.