The Jakarta Post
Candlelit concert: Pianist David Gómez performs his concert “1 Piano & 200 Candles” at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta playhouse in Jakarta. (Embassy of Spain/File)
On a silent, dimly lit stage, Spanish pianist and composer David Gómez walked while playing a melodica — a small blow-organ that looks like a toy.
It has been 18 years since his last visit to Indonesia and he was back to perform his concert, “1 Piano & 200 Candles”, at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta playhouse in Central Jakarta.
After reaching the piano, Gómez put down the melodica and continued playing on the piano that was waiting for him on the stage. The piano was surrounded by hundreds of candles, serving as the only source of light on the stage.
The candles were something inspired by Gómez’s time in the Netherlands, and the intimate feeling they radiate. “I always played piano with that atmosphere and I really liked that. I hate the spotlight. It’s a very simple reason,” he told The Jakarta Post afterward.
After a short welcome speech, in which Gómez joked about the length of the performance, he played six of his own songs on the piano. These included “Ignacio”, a song inspired by a friend that battled and eventually beat an alcohol addiction. Other songs have more pragmatic titles, like “Distance” and “The Lighthouse”, dedicated to, respectively, distant love and a lighthouse.
After this first set of songs, Gómez whipped out an accordion from the side of the stage, one that belonged to his mother.
“I know women always say that no man can do two things at the same time, right? Then today is the first day!” Gómez pronounces confidently to the audience, who were audibly amused by his bravado.
That same audience also pulled out quite a number of mobile phones to record Gómez when he started playing the accordion and the piano at the same time, after he jokingly asked for the technicians to start playing a CD recording to help him out.
Gómez likes to break up his songs with a bit of humor to relax the minds of the audience, which he says is only done well with smiling. “My pieces are very melancholic, they are not happy. So that’s the mix. I’m happy, but I play sad pieces,” he laughs.
After putting the accordion down, Gómez was joined on stage by Avel Hirose, chello lecturer at the Institute Kesenian Jakarta. Together they played three songs, “My Piano”, “The Traveller” and “Idem”. The artists played well together, which might be why the audience was a bit too eager to applaud in the second song, disturbing an intended lull in the music.
After Avel left the stage, Gómez played several more songs, including “My Father”, in which he picked up the accordion again. For his second-to-last song, “Sixteen Years Old”, he invited a 16-year-old member of the audience on stage; she dutifully watched over his shoulder while he played.
During the performance, Gómez made several puns in regard to the length of the play. Even though the audience would not have mind the concert lasting a little longer, he announced his last song, “Summer End”, “which is very good for Indonesia because it’s always summer and it never ends.”
For this last song, he picked up the melodica again. Gómez finished his very entertaining concert as he has started it, leaving the piano and walking off of the stage, playing the small instrument. After the final note fell, the audience rose for a standing ovation.
— The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post