The Jakarta Post
Gardika Gigih’s music has garnered a patient but steady stream of admirers. (SRM Bands/File)
Like his gentle piano compositions, pianist Gardika Gigih’s music has garnered a patient but steady stream of admirers.
This Saturday, those listeners will have the chance to watch the Yogyakarta musician’s first solo concert, taking place at IFI Jakarta as part of the Supersonik concert series.
Gardika’s music combines elements of traditional Indonesian music and influences from world music, including the nostalgic flourishes of Japanese neo-classical music. Gardika has previously held a duet concert with Japanese composer Makoto Nomura in 2015.
Gardika is a graduate of Institut Seni Indonesia, beginning his music career in 2012, when he worked on Train Music, a series of compositions inspired by the sounds of locomotives, train stations and the history of the railways in Indonesia. This work was performed that year at the Societet Hall in Yogyakarta.
He also made a name for himself as a composer for film soundtracks, having worked with filmmakers Wregas Bhanuteja, Bobby Prasetyo and Yosep Anggi Noen.
His debut album, Nyala, was released earlier this year, with the upcoming concert also meant as a late release party.
Nyala consists of 13 songs and utilizes the talents of his musician-friends, a few of whom will make an appearance at the concert.
The album was recorded live, meaning the musicians played together at the same time instead of one by one.
“We chose to record live, because it felt like the most natural way to catch that energy and moment. We wanted to keep that energy from the musician’s interactions,” he said. Gardika describes his music as flowing, referring to the fluid nature of its composition that often leaves room for spontaneous improvisation, either within his own piano playing or between the other instruments.
These are elements that Gardika promises will be heard during the concert.
“We want to explore the atmosphere that comes out during the concert from the communication we build with the audience,” Gardika says, explaining that there will be moments when some of his band members will perform between the audience and sections when his piano will coalesce with the other instruments, namely the violin, cello and guitars.
“The point is [to create] momentum, so there is an element of performing arts in the concert.”
Six songs from Nyala will be performed, many of them alongside guest musicians including Ananda Badudu, Monita Tahalea, Remedy Waloni, Luthfi Kurniadi, Suta Suma and Jeremia Kimosabe.
The level of musicianship assures Gardika that there will more than a hint of spontaneity that he craves for in the concert.
“That chemistry has since long formed between [me and the guest musicians],” he says. “This is a celebration of a moment, made on top of sounds served to the audience. That energy can reach the heart.”
Gardika bases his collaborations on admiration.
“All those musicians have their own strong musical characteristics,” he says, pointing to Remedy’s work with ethno-alternative band The Trees and The Wild, Luthfi’s playing with dreamy-pop band Elemental Gaze and Tahalea’s “very unique” voice.
Gardika hopes that the optimism found in Nyala makes it into his live shows. The album title, meaning the lighting of a light, refers to moments when darkness takes hold of a life but eventually brighter things return.
“It’s hard to summarize because this album expresses a host of emotions. But what’s most important is that [the album] is an honest expression of my feelings. We’ve all been happy, sad, in love, OK, disappointed and have disappointed others. All those feelings are what makes us human and all these contradictions are at the heart of Nyala.”
Gardika Gigih Live in Concert.
Saturday, Dec. 2,
from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
IFI Jakarta, Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 20, Central Jakarta