East meets west in jazz concert at Goethe Haus Jakarta

The concert by musicians of two continents in Goethe Haus last year was worth-remembering.

Riza Arsyad, Goethe Haus

Jazz is not for the faint-hearted, especially those who make a living out of it in Indonesia. Unlike any other places, jazz is more than just a choice for Indonesia’s aspiring musicians. It is a conviction that fortunately has gained appreciation over time by the public.

Everything is so specific and segmented when it comes to jazz. Just like when the word public is mentioned, meaning a very specific audience who generally reside in the city, are fond of western culture and history, continuously repositioned themselves in this ever globalized world society.

Riza Arshad hinted at how he coped with frustration having to shuttle back and forth from Jakarta to Bandung. His shows as the co-founder of simakDialog, a prominent jazz band in Indonesia had been limited to these two cities.

That evening, as he hosted two German jazz players playing in Goethe Haus, he voiced his pent-up dream that one day he would in turn be hosted in Germany. Jakarta and Bandung have been known as two of the leading cities in the country in terms of its art scenes.

For the likes of simakDialog, the band with its own style signifier, even less people can get in tunes with the way they express themselves through music.


Nevertheless, Arshad does not falter. He continues to create songs with unfathomable names. He often took listeners by surprise with several climax slipped into the composition, not to mention the random intensity of the rhythm.

Since its inception, simakDialog consists of special percussion section that uses kendang. A formation of three people fills this section, and has become inseparable to the band. Arshad leads the band with such confidence.

He said that the songs they play are “unlike any other alay bands.” He soon got response of laughter and even bigger applause.

Goethe Haus


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