Serenade: GIGZ performs in a local singing competition. (JP/Nurhayati)
Singing competitions can be pathways for people to garner success, and a lot of people have become living witnesses of that, both locally and internationally.
From the dozens of local singing competitions, the Indomaret Vocal Group Festival stands out.
It may get less attention than similar TV-sponsored singing competitions, but the consistency — this year is the 10th — deserves praise.
Netting hundreds of entrants from 11 regions throughout the archipelago, then pooled in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Medan, the competition has tight requirements.
Professional singers and producers like Pongki Barata, Maia Estianty and Trie Utami were hired to oversee the process. As a result, after months of selection, 15 vocal groups moved forward to the final round, which was held at the Balai Sarbini concert hall in Plaza Semanggi, Central Jakarta.
Divided into the three categories of children, youth and adult, the groups showed the public that they had earned their places in the finals. The children’s category had Gita Suara Nassa from Jakarta, G Keys Generation from Surabaya, Budya Wacana Sisters from Yogyakarta, Narwastu Kids from Medan and Rich Voice from Bandung.
The youth category had Puella from Jakarta, Armonia from Bandung, Teen’s Voice from Medan, Koe from Surabaya and G-Voice from Semarang. The adult category had Bellavoce from Medan, Kirana from Bandung, Cakti Voice from Malang, Gigz from Jakarta and F Girls Voice from Yogyakarta.
The final night was opened by a unique welcome dance in which two dancers wearing traditional the Javanese attire of Gatotkaca and Hanuman blended in with four other dancers in modern costume.
After the dance, finalists performed one by one. Aminoto Kosin’s band did a great job accompanying the finalists, offering a different vibe for each and every performer that night.
The band, for example, played jazzy tunes when accompanying Koe. The vocal group performed with clear yet tender voices and good choreography.
A performance by Gigz from Jakarta also deserved praise. The group started casually, singing in
a slow rather bluesy mood, but managed to gain the audience’s attention.
Jurors Pongki, Maia and Trie headed to another room to discuss their final assessments and the stage was given to pop rock band Kotak. Kotak, the product of a talent scouting event in 2004, then gave a 45-minute mini concert. The band performed popular hits like “Please be Gentle” (Pelan-pelan Saja) and “Action” (Beraksi).
In the middle of their gig, the band also inserted some melodies from Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child O Mine” and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”, and the audience screamed and acted like it was a rock concert.
Besides Kotak, the group that won the 2010 competition, Sparkling, also performed. Sparkling, comprising four women, recently released their debut album and performed their latest single, “Your Sun” (Mataharimu).
Following the performances, the jurors returned with the names of the victors in two different categories, favorite group and best group.
The favorite group in the children’s category was the Budya Wacana Sisters, the youth category went to Puella from Jakarta and the adult category went to Kirana from Bandung.
Each winner received a trophy and Rp 3 million (US$310).
The best group in the children’s category went to G Keys Generation from Surabaya, the youth category winner was Koe from Surabaya and the adult category went to Gigz from Jakarta.
All the best group category winners received a trophy, a free three-week vocal course at the Purwatjaraka Music School and Rp 30 million, Rp 35 milion and Rp 40 million, respectively.
Indra Nugraha of Gigz said he was happy about the award.
“We will move forward and do our best in this industry,” he said.
The winners of the best group category also earned places in an upcoming album, the recording fully funded by Indomaret.
Wiwik Yusuf from Indomaret said in a speech that the festival was Indomaret’s idea to assist local talent. He said he hoped that besides giving a positive impression of the company, the festival itself could promote local talent.
“During ten years of organizing this festival, we have proven ourselves able to produce gold-quality vocal groups,” he said.
Wiwik said Sparkling, 2010’s festival champion in the adult category, had won gold at the World Choir Games competition in China, beating out dozens of participants from 114 countries.
However, it seems that most of the performers focused more on their voices than choreography. Only some managed to stand out with excellent dancing and blocking.
Organized since 2002, the festival is sponsored by Indomaret, the country’s retail giant that operates 7,000 outlets nationwide.