Wednesday, December 03, 2008

'It all started with the blues,' says Zue

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 11/30/2008 10:34 AM | Headlines

It often rains on jazz nights -- but that didn't stop fans from hearing world-class and local noted musicians on the second night of Jakjazz 2008 on Saturday.

Some 30 performances were staged around and inside the Bung Karno Sports Center in Central Jakarta.

Local Agam Hamzah Acoustic Connection featured British-born Zue Bonnington, who opened the show entertaining hundreds of spectators.

"I've got two missions here. First is the regeneration of jazz. It's good that so many people love jazz now but it's not going to be enough just to have your favorites from seniors. We also have to think about the new generations," Zue told the audience from the stage.

"We have to give them opportunities like JakJazz. My second mission is to bring blues to everybody in Indonesia."

"The blues is where everything began. Without blues there would be no rock 'n roll, there would be no jazz. It's not a mission impossible," Zue told The Jakarta Post after the show.

Both local band Iga Mawarni and Friends and Amsterdam-based Boi Akih band drew nearly 1,000 spectators to their respective shows.

Iga Mawarni and Friends, formed in 2005, opened their show with "From Now On"; and the audience sang along to top hits such as "Andai Saja" (If Only), "Masquenada" and "Dansa Yo Dansa" (Dance lets Dance).

"I sang this song because I know that even in a crowded city like Jakarta, many people are lonely," Mawarni said after singing "Alone", as her fans shouted in approval.

Amsterdam-based Boi Akih mostly performed in the Maluku Malayan and Harukunese dialect, a language spoken on Haruku Island in Maluku province.

Boi Akih also performed Indonesian folk songs such as "Nona Hitam Manis" (Sweet Dark Girl), "Ole Sio", as well as "When Evening Falls", a song written in a combination of English and Harukunese.

Boi Akih's vocalist Monica Akihary said they were so impressed by the response of the public to their songs, especially those in the local dialect -- even though the audience might not have understood the words. Many Indonesians have not heard of Haruku.

"It seems that this language is actually perfect for singers because it has open vowels especially for melodies and also for improvising. It's really a beautiful language," Monica said after the show.

"We have performed a lot in Europe and also in Africa ... people don't understand the words but they love the atmosphere of the music, they really feel it inside their body. As a musician, it is the best compliment you can get," she said.

Apart from enjoying the music, young and old visitors munched at the foodstalls and painted T-shirts to take home.

Among other international performers late Saturday were the Australian Michelle Nicolle Quartet, Dutch Daniel Sahuleka, Japanese DJ Shuya, Open Hands Project Abraham Laboriel of the United States, French Roland Tchakounte and Malaysian Bassgroove100.

World-renowned Mexican bassist Abraham Laboriel, who has over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks, became emotional when a reporter asked about the difference between jazz 30 years ago and today.

"We have teenagers and children coming to watch. Thirty years ago we were playing jazz and now we are able to play jazz with our children. The best way to inspire your people to fall in love with music is to explain to them that music is really alive. It is not an art form to put in a museum. It's a lifestyle," Laboriel said, who has been awarded a honorary doctorate degree in music by the Berklee College of Music in the United States.

Other local bands such as Indra Lesmana Reborn, Barry Likumahuwa Project, Ireng Maulana & Friends and young stars Afgan and Andien also powered up the night on each of their respective stages.

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