Harmony was in the air when a patriotic song written by legendary composer Ismail Marzuki, “Indonesia Tanah Air Beta” (Indonesia My Motherland), was sung by the Kua Etnika band.
That was the last day of the three-day Jazz Gunung music festival, which was held at the Jiwa Java Resort amphitheater in Probolinggo, East Java, from July 27 to 29.
“To warm us up in this chill air, let’s sing ‘Indonesia Tanah Air Beta’ together. This song also proves our endless love of the unitary state of Indonesia despite our diverse backgrounds,” appealed Kua Etnika leader Djaduk Ferianto.
His call received an overwhelming response from the festival’s big audience. It was held at 2,000 meters above sea level.
Djaduk said diversity had always highlighted Jazz Gunung, which each year not only features jazz, but also world music, pop, funk, dub, reggae, soul, R&B and folk music. The musicians and attendees also came from different generations, professions, ethnic groups, races and religions.
He said this year’s festival, themed “A Decade of Jazz Gunung” to celebrate its 10th anniversary, came at the right time amid Indonesia’s heated political atmosphere where it could serve as an oasis of peace for society.
No words, messages or comments on politics were uttered by artists and musicians performing at the festival.
Jazz Gunung is renowned for being held in an open amphitheater set against the scenic Mount Bromo as its background. The blend of nature, music and technology enhanced the festival’s charm.
Amid the chill and mist surrounding the mountainous area, the jazz party proceeded as the sun was rising. “We’re very happy to view the sunrise while enjoying live music. So far we’ve watched Bromo’s sunrise only from Penanjakan but now we can observe it from the jazz stage,” said Ajie, a visitor from Yogyakarta.
The early morning cold was offset by the performance of Bonita & Hus Band who sang some lively songs. During the third day, visitors were also served the signature coffee of Bromo to the accompaniment of a special musical lineup: the duo Endah N Rhesa, Bianglala Voices and pop trio Nona Ria.
Other performers included Kramat Ensemble Percussion, Tohpati Bertiga, Tropical Transit, Barry Likumahuwa, Andre Hehanussa, Djaduk’s Ring of Fire Project, Surabaya All Stars: Tribute to Bubi Chen, Bintang Indrianto — Soul of Bromo and Barasuara.
For the festival’s finale, Djaduk brought Kua Etnika on stage, featuring renowned jazz singer Syaharani, performing “Nirwana” (Nirvana), “Bromo”, “Cinta” (Love), “Kuning Jingga” (Orange Yellow), “Sayang-sayang” (My Dear) and “Marilah Kemari” (Come Along).
Syaharani’s powerful and energetic voice enchanted the audience who started to move along with the occasional dangdut rhythms in the arrangements, forgetting their differences and simply enjoying the music.