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For Bonita & The Hus Band, home is where the music is

Stanley Widianto

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, August 15, 2018  /  09:11 am
For Bonita & The Hus Band, home is where the music is

Bonita And The Hus Band (JP/Arief Suhardiman)

Petrus “Adoy” Briyanto Adi, the guitarist of folk-pop band Bonita & The Hus Band, certainly know the meaning of home. 

It is the place he shares with his wife, Bonita. It is the place where his child laughs and grows up. There’s both comfort and strife; love keeps it alive.

Since 2015, he has hosted a live concert series at his home in Cinere, West Java, called Live at Rumah Bonita (Live at Bonita’s House), featuring a glittering array of musicians. 

From Aug. 17 to 19, he will up the scale of this concept through the festival he founded, Festival Musik Rumah (Home Music Festival). 

Over 90 musicians will perform 45-minute to two-hour sets in different areas across the archipelago and abroad, including folk band Nonaria (in Bintaro), guitarist Jubing Kristianto (in Jakarta), ethnomusicologist Markus Sirait (in Pamulang), Metta Legita (in Phnom Penh), the family band Sarigama (in Karanganyar), choir group Paduan Suara Dialita (in Jakarta) and many more. 

Each musician will also perform a rendition of the song “Rayuan Pulau Kelapa” (The Lure of the Coconut Island) written by Ismail Marzuki. 

The idea of performing in so many different areas might be ambitious in theory, but it will be modest in practice.

The musicians will perform in venues such as cafes, a guitar shop and, most importantly, the houses of Adoy’s invitees. He announced his intentions for the festival and asked his friends and acquaintances if their own personal homes could be turned into impromptu venues. 

Some of the festival hosts willingly shared their addresses publicly, while others will host invitation-only concerts. 

“It feels wholesome. And not just the music, [when you perform in someone’s home] there’s a welcoming atmosphere — we feed off of the immense energy from the audience,” Adoy said during a press conference. 

“Music doesn’t recognize any borders. We don’t get hurt by listening to the music we like.” 

The first day of the concert will take place during Indonesia’s Independence Day, and there’s a good reason for that; Adoy’s concern about the splintering of our contemporary community. 

“It’s my prayer. As a citizen, I’ve noticed that we are so easily torn apart as a society. It is as if this anxiety has reached my own fences,” he said. 

Each concert will also be live-streamed on the musicians’ or the festival’s social media feeds, though live-streaming is not the same experience. 

“It’s like watching a soccer match on TV instead of going to Gelora Bung Karno Stadium,” Adoy explained.

Bonita, the singer of Bonita & The Hus Band, initially had reservations about the concept of dropping into people’s private spaces for a concert, but years of hosting Live at Rumah Bonita (where she emcees and cooks!) has taught her one thing: “It’s always heartwarming to be the host,” she said.

One of the festival’s host venues will be the coffee shop Earhouse, owned by the couple Endah Widiastuti and Rhesa Aditya, who perform together as the pop duo Endah N Rhesa. 

“To be honest, we’re really excited for this,” said Endah. 

“Because we don’t get to pick the musicians playing. There will be some sort of a trade of information between musicians. With this festival, there’s going to be many surprises along the way.”

For Nanin Wardhani, pianist and accordionist of the folk band Nonaria, the festival not only feels intimate, but is in keeping with the origins of her band. 

“We started Nonaria at my house. The home is very much the ethos of Nonaria. The concept is really cool,” she said.

None of the hosts have received any form of compensation and neither have the musicians. 

“This is a participatory event. The participants are willing to host. The compensation is not tangible,” Adoy said. 

Festival Musik Rumah came together as a result of the 2017 tour that followed the release of Bonita & The Hus Band’s second album, the aptly-titled Rumah (House). 

Adoy claimed the residual earnings from the tour funded the festival — it’s a “no sponsors” event. 

Though the look of different people’s homes and other venues may be different, Festival Musik Rumah offers concert goers a chance to feel their warmth. 

“I would say [the festival] is like a window. We can peek through and realize, oh there’s something lively going on inside,” Adoy said.