Modesty of a true diva

Ve Handojo, Contributor, Jakarta

While other Indonesian female singers are craving for the title of diva, mother of the pack Vina Panduwinata has made a choice to feel at home with herself in the Vina Vina concert, which drew crowds on Feb. 18 at the Jakarta Convention Center in Senayan.

Some may ask whether Vina's attempt at holding a solo concert was merely a trailing gesture to what have been done by new performers, mostly half her age.

""I am just grateful that in my forties I could still have a chance to do a solo concert,"" she replied.

Vina then proved that she is a vocal, a tune and an attitude that can genuinely stand the test of time.

Opening with a humble medley containing one of her latest hits, Aku Makin Cinta (I love you all the more), Vina descended from among the audience.

The first half of the concert paraded hits that have raised Vina's profile as one of the first Indonesian women singers to have made it to international music festivals.

The sing-along tunes appeal to fans who have been memorizing Vina's lyrics from the 1980s. Burung Camar (Seagull) marked the peak of her career, winning her awards and a flamboyant nickname -- The Seagull. These highlights of Vina's golden achievements are symbolized by her first costume of the same tone of color.

The second half toned down the pace, yet succeeded in stirring and blending mood and atmosphere.

This is where Vina finds herself in total comfort. She carries out numbers such as Kumpul Bocah (Gather the kids), Aku Melangkah Lagi (I'm stepping forward again), and Anakku (Child of mine), whose lyricists were present.

She had the entire evening wrapped around her finger, and she wound it gently by acknowledging all celebrated songwriters, including Oddie Agam, Deddy Dhukun, Santoso Gondowidjojo, Aryono H. Djati, and many more.

Dressed in a modified kebaya (traditional Javanese blouse), Vina created a homey atmosphere. The whole VIP section turned into a sitting room where she welcomed her family, friends and relatives. She approached them one by one, from veteran artists Titiek Puspa to Titi DJ -- the latter of whom she addressed ""my daughter"" -- and to comedian Tika Panggabean, who jumped up and waved in appreciation from afar.

The concert thus was like a heartwarming reunion, thus rendered in the way she communicated with her audience.

This was the part where we were reminded that Vina is an artist who belongs to everyone because of her ability in bringing every song closer to her listeners. Her jazzy vocal transcends genre and resonates through all kinds of music lovers, which has given her a wide range of fans throughout the country.

Apparently with this in mind, Vina dedicated Vina Vina to those people who have supported her. She addressed genuine acknowledgements to those who elevated her to fame, confessed her love for her family and joked with her fans, who couldn't stop crying out their love for her.

Yet, the concert didn't become weepy, as newcomer Ilham Poppies got up on stage, stole the mike, then sang her aunt's cheerful Surat Cinta (Love letter) in a rock mix.

An unscripted surprise came when Vina insisted on having Malaysian singer Sheila Madjid and Harvey Malaiholo join her from the audience to sing Begitulah Cinta (That's love).

Giving credit where due and her humility only serve to reestablish Vina as a true performer.

She called Titiek Puspa ""the real diva"", and the accolade was returned as Titiek shouted, ""Viva Diva Vina!"" from which she launched the final act of the show.

Wearing designer Anna Avantie's third outfit for her solo show -- a blazing red gown with a low-dipping gold V-back -- Vina acted out the role of a star against the glitzy backdrop of the stage, escorted by rather unnecessarily over-glamorized male dancers.

Megahits such as Chrisye's Cinta (Love) and Fariz R.M.'s Wow were nicely arranged by composer-conductor Addie M.S. and his Twilite Orchestra, working hand-in-hand with composer-arranger Aminoto Kosin and his troupe. The much-anticipated Logika (Logic), unfortunately, wasn't part of the repertoire, which lent a slightly low note to the evening.

Although she doesn't claim to be one, Vina has been crowned an Indonesian diva by fans, musicians and friends alike.

It doesn't take millions of dollars in designing a show to make a diva, but a humble attitude that pays respect to everyone. More than just a concert, Viva Vina was a reminder that such quality is what passes the test of time.

Post Your Say

Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.