Tag Archives: Culture

Dancing the sound of laborious work in Helatari Salihara 2017

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Helatari Salihara 2017 is Komunitas Salihara’s regular dance event held in Teater Salihara. think archipelago is a pround media partner of the event which runs from 8 untuk 18 June 2017. To see more of their schedule, please click the Helatari Salihara 2019 banner found in think archipelago website.

Photograph by Witjak Widhi Cahya, courtesy of Komunitas Salihara

The sounds axe, saw, knife, sandpaper and brush to make a traditional wood mask set the atmosphere for the choreographer Katia Engel’s latest work in Indonesia, From Starting to Cut the Wood. It conveys the process of the mask making process and its relation to the materials and work tools, which was interpreted by a solo dancer.

Ari Ersandi’s exploration and his response to the role character of a mask artisan was one of the most breathtaking performances at the Helatari Salihara 2017.

It began with a recorded voice by the seasoned mask artisan, “When I make a mask, first I choose the wood, second I cut the wood and thrid I choose what character I want to make.”

Another line from the same voice slipped into the middle, “When I paint I make two layers. I usually use red, blue, yellow and white and add for decoration an little bit of gold.”

Photograph by Witjak Widhi Cahya, courtesy of Komunitas Salihara

At the closing scene, the real mask artisan behind the voice showed up and continued his work in front of the audience. A life time dedication to a work of precision as represented in this case by the artist not only resulted in high craftmanship, but also made the work itself a spiritual journey.

From Starting to Cut the Wood is a dance based focusing on auditory sense created by wood mask carving, accompanied by the spoken words, and apparently with an influence of the choreographer, the frequent use of projected quotes by names such as:

‘Work is the fundamental condition of human life, and this to such an extent that in a certain way we have to say: it has created human mankind.’ – Friedrich Engels.

‘What is ahead of us, is the perspective of a working society, which is out of work-the only activity which it is still capable of. What could be more disastrous?’ – Hannah Arendt.

‘A mask is not what it represents, but what it transforms, and what it chooses not to represent.’ – Claude-Levi Strauss.

Katia Engel’s works

The sounds blend with the carver’s spoken words. Katia Engel creates performance works, installations, videos, photographs, and documentary films. She studied dance at Dance Institute Bremen and Laban-Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies New York.

Her works have been presented at many events, such as International Film Festival (Singapore), International Dance Festival Tokyo/Yokohama (Japan) and at Akademie der Künste (Berlin).

In 2012 Katia started producing dance work in Indonesia. As a choreographer and artistic director, she collaborated with former members of Gumarang Sakti Dance Company in the works of Tanah Air (2012) and In Between (2014), featured at the Indonesian Dance Festival Jakarta in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

An addition to her latest production in Indonesia is the documentary movie Barabah about the Indonesian choreographer Hoerijah Adam, screened at the Indonesian Dance Festival 2016.

Dance film performance in the streets of south Jakarta

webbanner-2017-mei-helatari-think archipelagoHelatari Salihara 2017 is Komunitas Salihara’s regular dance event held in Teater Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 8 until 18 June 2017. To see more of their schedule, please click the Jazz Buzz Salihara 2017 banner found in think archipelago website.


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The interaction between dancers, people on the streets, cinematographer, and a technology-savvy all in real time presents an art-technology work of the choreographer Yola Yulfianti in a dance film performance, a bold idea that poses challenges in not only the unfamiliarity of the new medium, but also in the country’s current mobile data infrastructure.

Angkot is the Melting Pot uses live streaming to highlight the city transportation in Jakarta. For Yola, the Jakarta’s ubiquitous public minivan (angkot) suggests the physical closeness of the passengers crammed inside, but in the awkwardness of a heterogeneous society.

She also tempted to raise the impact of app-based transportation to the drivers that eats up a huge share of customers this traditional public transportation is so dependent on.

The two dancers in a public minivan started performing all the way from Pasar Minggu to Galeri Salihara, where it hosted the Helatari Salihara 2017. While several times being dangerous to perform in the boisterous afternoon streets, they intuitively responded to the circumstances, the angkot, the shops, the intersection, the city itself.

Technology makes possible

The 30 minutes street dance performance was captured by the camera phone, transmitted to the gallery and projected live at Galeri Salihara.

Despite lagging due to low quality mobile data connection, the audio visual artist Patrick Hartono said it was expected that he was half satisfied with the first trial at D-1.

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Choreographer Yola Yulfianti and Cinematographer Purbo Wahyono talks to the press during rehearsal at Galeri Salihara, 17 June 2017

He admitted that the case would have been different in a more developed parts of the world, but he clinged to another view that art should not be affected by the perfect result, but more importantly, the clear evidence of the process.

Yola said that she had encountered the streets of Jakarta such as Kampung Melayu or Kwitang ever since 2009, and collected the observations in numerous places for the future basis of her subsequent works.

She added that the medium to implement her idea depends much on the technological possibility. Harnessing it would bring her works to the scope of audience an ordinary show cannot possibly reach, that is the people on the streets where the dance takes place, the audience sitting in the art venue, and the internet users stumbling across video sites such as youtube while browsing.

The purpose of this work is to explore the complexity of the city, about how to read the city and then write the city into a work and bring humanitarian interaction. The process of artistic research does not focus on mainstream art products and terminology.

Dance in social environment

Not a product of a work of dance or a film product but about experience in the realities of urban life. The ability of the body as a medium of expression relates to other mediums, producing work that grows organically born just as the process of extracting ideas.

As for the expression it becomes a total expression, the sensitivity of being a dancer through the digging of the media of digital technology revealing the symptoms of the city’s social environment.

Angkot is the Melting Pot is inspired by daily experiences when riding on Jakarta’s urban public transport, or angkot. Inside the public minivan, the distance between bodies seems negligible and yet so foreign.

About Yuli Yulfianti

Yola Yulfianti is a dancer and choreographer who graduated from Jakarta Institute of Arts. She received the Pearl Award at Dance Film International in Berlin in 2009. She also received Hibah Cipta Perempuan from Yayasan Kelola in 2014. Previous creations include Salma: A Little Escape (2013), Update Status (2013) dan I Think. . .Tonk (2014).

Helatari Salihara 2017

webbanner-2017-mei-helatari-think archipelagoHelatari Salihara 2017 is Komunitas Salihara’s regular dance event held in Teater Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 8 until 18 June 2017. To see more of their schedule, please click the Jazz Buzz Salihara 2017 banner found in think archipelago website.


This year’s Helatari showcases the development of dance in Indonesia departing from the influence of modern western dance, hip-hop, street dance or “free choreography”.

Lately, there are some choreographers who have developed a form of dance-theater in Europe. It also has departed from tanztheater or dance-theater during 1920s in Germany, of which the “theatrical” element began to play an important basis for choreography.

The choreographers have begun working on the idea of the banality of daily life, and the conflict it brought upon, by incorporating motion styles that the common dance fell short of noticing.

Helatari Salihara 2017 feature five choreographers with various concepts deriving from this banality.

The five choreographers

Helatari Salihara 2017 was opened by Emanuelle Vo-Dinh (France) with Sprint, supported by Institut Francais Indonesia. In Sprint, running is not just a symbol of displacement, nor a refuge, but an enlightenment, that is running because of something lurking and caused exhaustion. To run until exhausted, then comes natural rebirth.

Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh is Artistic Director of Le Phare, Center Chorégraphique National du Havre Haute-Normandie, France. He studied dance at Merce Cunningham School, New York.

In 1997 he founded the Sui Generis Company, as a place to create his distinctive choreographic style. He was awarded Prix d’Auteur Rencontres choregraphiques internationales de Bagnolet in 2000. With the concept of a single dancer, Sprint was created as a body enlightenment.

Melati Suryodarmo (Surakarta) will bring a Vertical Recall inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot theater script.

Melati stresses out that Vertical Recall is a philosophy interpreted into behavioral study of the Beckett’s script. It shows the human behavior that tends to surrender to difficult circumstances.

Over the past 13 years Melati’s works have been featured in numerous international festivals. Since 2007, together with Padepokan Lemah Putih, she organized Undisclosed Territory, a performance art program participated by Indonesian and international artists.

As for Mohammad Hariyanto (Surabaya), Ghulur Dance is inspired by Topeng Ghulur art in Barangan Village, Sumenep, Madura.

Katia Engel (Germany / Indonesia) presents From Starting to Cut the Wood, backed by the sounds of mask carvers while working.

Helatari will be closed by Angkot is the Melting Pot by Yola Yulfianti (Jakarta), which departs from reality in the city transportation (angkot) in Jakarta.

This event makes it obvious that dance inspiration in Jakarta has started to shift to the everyday life.

Kunjungan traumatis di the Invitation

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Paranoia yang disebabkan oleh trauma masa lalu membuat orang sekitar meragukan kondisi mental mereka yang mengalaminya. Rasionalitas dianggap sebagai tolok ukur kondisi psikologi yang normal. Di sisi lain intuisi yang sebagian dipengaruhi oleh perasaan diragukan.

Intuisi tokoh utama dalam thriller the Invitation merupakan hal yang menyebabkan kekacauan batin, dan kecurigaan teman-temannya karena ia terlihat gelisah terhadap semua hal, meskipun ketakutan yang berlebihan mungkin satu-satunya penyelamat dalam akumulasi plot yang berbahaya ini. Sebagian besar porsi dalam film ini berkutat pada tokoh sentral ini yang masih mengobati luka kehilangan anak.

Trauma kedua orang tua atas kematian anak tunggal yang disebabkan oleh kelalaian dalam hitungan detik di sebuah pesta rumah masih sulit terobati beberapa tahun lalu.

Mereka masih berupaya menerima kepedihan dari rasa bersalah itu. Mantan ayah telah menjalani hidup baru bersama seorang kekasih, dan terungkap kemudian di saat mereka memenuhi sebuah undangan ke sebuah rumah di lokasi kalangan atas di perbukitan Hollywood, Los Angeles, bahwa mantan istrinya yang tinggal di rumah mewah tersebut mengatasi kehilangan anaknya dengan berserah pada sebuah ajaran kepercayaan di Meksiko.

Sepulang dari sana, ia juga telah memiliki pasangan hidup baru yang keduanya menyebarkan kisah tentang perjalanan mereka mengatasi kesedihan di dunia ini, dan tampaknya kini berakhir bahagia, meski dengan bantuan obat penenang di laci kamar. Motif sebenarnya dari undangan reuni makan malam ini makin disadari oleh para undangan, mungkin promosi untuk mencari anggota baru.

Menutupi trauma

Film ini mengisahkan perlombaan untuk berusaha menutupi trauma pribadi, ketabahan untuk melanjutkan hidup yang seringkali tragis ini, dan menunjukkannya kepada orang lain dengan lantang dan riang bahwa diri ini menang dan menginspirasi.

Dan lucunya film ini mendiskreditkan kelas sosial atas yang hidup eksklusif, dan demikian besar jarak dengan kelas sosial lainnya hingga persepsi dari kejauhan yang ditujukan kepada mereka adalah kehidupan yang serba ada, walau hanya penghuninya yang tahu tingkat kebahagiaan masing-masing di balik pagar rumah yang tinggi.

Mendapatkan ketenaran setelah terpilih menjadi salah satu film yang diputar di festival film tahunan British Film Institute di London, dan konferensi tahunan 2015 SXSW (South By Southwest) yang diselenggarakan selama 30 tahun oleh perusahaan swasta di Austin, Texas.

Namun menyematkan South By Southwest dalam poster film sebagai salah satu pemberi penghargaan tidak begitu berarti karena bukan kebetulan distributor eksklusif film ini, Drafthouse, adalah sebuah jaringan sinema yang juga berasal dari Austin.

Penghargaan yang pantas berasal dari Sitges. The Invitation memenangkan penghargaan best picture di festival film fantasi dan horor asal Spanyol tersebut.

Masih kurang indie

Meski demikian, sanjungan direktur festival Sitges Angel Sala bahwa produksi film indie di Amerika Serikat berkembang pesat agak menyesatkan, terutama mengingat bahwa film ini tidak memperkenalkan talenta baru, tetapi malah terlihat mainstream dengan dipakainya Michiel Huisman dari serial HBO Game of Thrones dan Logan Marshall-Green dari film layar lebar Prometheus sebagai dua nama-nama yang ditaruh di baris depan agar lebih menjual.

Di samping itu sutradara Karyn Kusama asal Amerika Serikat juga sedang terlibat bersama Fox dalam pembuatan film horor Breed.

Debut Karyn Kiyoko Kusama sebagai penulis sekaligus sutradara bersama aktris debutan Michelle Rodriguez dalam film Girlfight di tahun 2000 memang menuai pujian karena ia sempat kesulitan mendanai film senilai USD1 juta, dan akhirnya mendapat dukungan secara terbatas, salah satunya dari Independent Film Channel.

Namun reputasinya sebagai sutradara film indie patut direvisi karena dalam perjalanannya ia semakin lekat dengan ranah mainstream di dua film berikutnya 5 tahun kemudian, Aeon Flux, dan Jennifer’s Body, bekerja sama dengan barisan pemain Hollywood seperti Charlize Theron, Adam Brody, dan Megan Fox.

Bagaimana pun juga, masih ada yang menyebut the Invitation sebagai sebuah subgenre yang layaknya berada di lingkup independen.

Antara thriller dan drama

Perkembangan cerita berdurasi 100 menit perlahan mencekam, namun arahnya dapat diprediksi dari dialog di beberapa adegan yang membuka isu sekte sesat. Entah sudah berapa kali tuduhan “cult!” masuk dalam skrip.

Konflik terjadi di perempat akhir film, dan twist yang dinanti di adegan akhir film terasa klise, karena hanya mengeksploitasi tren twist ending film-film blockbusters yang menunjukkan histeria massal seperti layaknya film-film bergenre epidemi zombie dan kiamat.

Meski tidak ada efek yang mengejutkan, film ini meninggalkan efek mencekam di benak seusai menonton, bahkan paranoia menerima undangan dari teman yang sudah lama tidak bertemu, setelah membayangkan begitu dekatnya ancaman isu ini dengan kenyataan.

Beberapa pemainnya pun tidak yakin apakah film ini thriller atau drama. Film ini mencerminkan sisi kejiwaan terdalam dari kasus-kasus nyata tentang bunuh diri massal oleh sekte-sekte kepercayaan sesat, seperti yang terjadi di Uganda, Bangladesh, dan di negara mereka sendiri, yaitu kasus Heaven’s Gate di California di tahun 90an.

Last no least in Jazz Buzz Salihara

web-banner-jan-2017-think-archipelago-jazz-buzz-2017-revJazz Buzz Salihara 2017 is the sixth jazz festival held by Komunitas Salihara in Teater Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the music festival which runs from 11 February until 26 February 2017. To see more of their schedule, please click the Jazz Buzz Salihara 2017 banner found in think archipelago website.


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Imanissimo ended jazz event with noise in the final show 15 in Teater Salihara.

Imanissimo made a closing show of Jazz Buzz Salihara on 26 February, the same day they announced the launch of their latest album Enigma. Citing the term chaotic jazz, after a brief theatrical overture, the progressive rock band introduced one of the songs from Enigma with high pitches and deafening noise, of which they were relieved to see that right after kicking it off nobody left Teater Salihara.

But the following song Kampretos was similarly thrown to the audience with impunity, making them nervously expect the smallest hints of jazz presence in this final show.

Staying true to musical identity is important. But one wonders would it hurt to rearrange pieces to the audience who had expected improvisation and surprises more than the use of flute, kendang, or angklung just to be considered jazz enough?

Fifteen years of experience in the niche market contributed to the generally positive reception of the show. The nearly two-hour raucous concert extended with an extra song at audience wish.

There, the sound of jazz

Trace of jazz was clearer as the concert went further in Tembang Ambarawa, one of their latest songs. There was traditional vocal and composition, and lead guitarist Jordan exhibits his ability to play flute.

Later he would play saxophone to prove he has a knack for wind instruments. This is one of the things that convinced him to introduce jazz element besides the typical metal nature of the 15 year old band.It was a night of collaboration, as promised by Jordan that the progressive path of Imanissimo offers a variety of elements to make the best album ever. For instance, Indonesian senior soprano Siti Chairani Proehoeman offered vocal in Death of Love.

The contemplative song Echo in the Distances had two vocalists sang in two different languages simultaneously. It was as if the bilingual vocals translated one another. There were saxophone and kendang to provide light rhythm instead of drum, making us contemplate on the current national situation of deception and pretense. They could elaborate more with the use gamelan as is what originally present in the recorded version. Perhaps technical difficulty in the venue was unresolved.

Bassist Iman took the turn as the vocalist in another new song Impromptu Visit, talking about a traveler who is eager to get to know people of all social class.

Simponi Indonesia

The last two songs of the same title Simponi Indonesia has rock, jazz, and a feel of orchestra. It described classic feud between Indonesian and neighboring country Malaysia in claims of cultural identity. Agung said that the song aims at raising awareness of the things the Indonesians take for granted. It was a magnanimous musical approach of introspection. One wonders if this had suggested organizer’s particular agenda.

Imanissimo now comprise keyboardist Raden Agung, guitarist Johanes Jordan, drummer Marcellus Putra and the indispensable figure Iman Ismar. It is the same formation since 2013, the year that marked the end of long hiatus.

Xylophonist takes center stage in Salihara jazz event

web-banner-jan-2017-think-archipelago-jazz-buzz-2017-revJazz Buzz Salihara 2017 is the sixth jazz festival held by Komunitas Salihara in Teater Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the music festival which runs from 11 February until 26 February 2017. To see more of their schedule, please click the Jazz Buzz Salihara 2017 banner found in think archipelago website.


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Arief Winanda (left) and members of Pamuncak Mudo perform at Jazz Buzz Salihara 2017, Jakarta

Arief Winanda, who is currently preoccupied with the development of urban art discipline in Institut Kesenian Jakarta (IKJ), has wit and, at times, cracking humor, in his show on Saturday night as part of Jazz Buzz Salihara 2017, an annual two-week event aiming at promoting alternative forms contrary of mainstream music.

The percussionist and xylophonist not only perform for his self-satisfaction, he diligently shared the work and knowledge of each piece to the attentive audience who otherwise would not have known the history of boogey, a popular genre in the 1940s marking the wake of American depression era, or another piece that was inspired by the dynamics found in the sound of wind.

It is also interesting to know that Marimba, originating from Central America, and now is the national instrument of Guatemala, initially applied only in light dance background diatonic music. But now original pieces came out of it, and frequently played at the center stage with more chromatic alternatives.

The concert began with the minimalist, rigid 4/4 Rhtyhm Song, a classic repertoire of 1984 by composer Paul Smedback, who took his postgraduate music degree Itacha College master’s degree in music, specializing in Marimba.

The following repertoire has more freedom in the rhythm. Upon brief introduction that sound are everywhere, and even in silence comes an inspiration to create a xylophone melody, Arief played Wind Sketch, by Japanese composer Keiko Abe. She is an important figure behind the early development of Yamaha Marimba product design in 1963.

Arief also presented Gitano by the Mexican immigrant Alice Gomez, an intense piece of work that describes the gypsies and the hostility against them in the US.

And then came the moment where Arief started to introduce pianist Angelica Liviana and other fellow musicians in Pamuncak Mudo in the last three dance-inspired pieces: Scottish composer Richard Michael’s Boogey, the dance composition in Spyrogyra’s Morning Dance and the eerily uplifting Dancing Tears by Dewa Budjana. This partly explains why the one hour concert was titled welt tanzen or the world of dance.

Jailolo in Eko’s bold conception

web-banner-sipfest-on-think-archipelagoSIPFest 2016 is the fifth performing arts bienalle held by Komunitas Salihara in Kompleks Komunitas Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 1 October 2016 onwards until early November. To see more of their programs, please click all the SIPFest 2016 banner found in think archipelago website.


Eko Supriyanto
Indonesia’s top choreographer Eko Supriyanto showcases his latest work Balabala, the second part of his Jailolo trilogy in SIPFest 2016, Jakarta. He considers local tradition as relevant and priceless in his contemporary dance.

Better to let go of the excessive reminiscence of his touring with a famous American pop star, or more prominently, a stint at a production of Disney’s musical that involved names such as Elton John, Hans Zimmer, and Tim Rice, all happened over 15 years ago.

Eko Supriyanto is at the top list of homegrown contemporary dance choreographers. So much he loves the diversity of tradition that make up what is now Indonesia that he draws the inspiration from ethnic groups traditional value and social setting, then reconceptualizes them in his work, such as clearly demonstrated in the Balabala.

The sequel of the so-called Jailolo trilogy is a testament to an extensive work of a former dancer who studied in ISI Surakarta in 1990, beginning with Cry Jailolo in 2014.

Eko continues to involve indigenous teenagers of Jailolo, North Maluku, whom he picked based on instincts, and later trained to perform a modern reinterpretation of local ritual, or, by today’s common definition, dance.

But the all-female dancers distinguishes Balabala from its prequel, where the local young boys took the spotlight, and enjoyed their fame in the world tour, a case that seemed to inspire their female peers to take part in this project.

Gender equality

Cry Jailolo and Balabala delved into social and environmental issues in the dancers native place. But as the former rises environmental concerns, the latter sheds light on gender equality.

And breaking the then impermeable norm was not without rejection. Eko admitted to take a careful approach for he did not want to be seen as a typically “Javanese invader” to the local community, for he aimed to deconstruct several dances into a brand new fusion entity.

He succeeded in bringing seasoned instructors of Cakalele, a native war dance that Balabala draws an inspiration from, and of which involves male only, to prepare the five girls undertaking the unprecedented challenge.

As if they were on the defensive by wielding shield in the face of their opponents, they exuded man-like vigor, the eyes of agression and caution at the same time, that fearless charm.

The world’s premiere, which served also as the summit program in SIPFest 2016, was just the beginning of the world tour spanning across countries in Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Maluku all-female dancers perform in Balabala by Eko Supriyanto at SIPFest 2016, Jakarta
All-female dancers from Jailolo, Maluku, perform in Balabala by Eko Supriyanto at SIPFest 2016, Jakarta. Molding these dancers-by-coincidence was more about soco-cultural approach and less about technical challenges, said Eko.

Cultural diversity

Talking about Indonesian contemporary dance in comparison with other countries, Eko proudly said that it mainly differs in the wealth of material derived from his home country’s diverse culture.

Such a conviction that makes him aware that tradition is not obsolete. On the contrary, “There is no gap between modern and traditional dance,” he said, confident in his way of working on new things with much likely a lot of reference to deep-rooted cultural values.

According to him, old tradition is very relevant in new exploration, as long as there is a willingness to make a revisit, and interpret it. “Contemporary is not a form, but a conception,” he said.

20 years of kubikukuri

web-banner-sipfest-on-think-archipelagoSIPFest 2016 is the fifth performing arts bienalle held by Komunitas Salihara in Kompleks Komunitas Salihara, Jakarta. think archipelago is a proud media partner of the event which runs from 1 October 2016 onwards until early November. To see more of their programs, please click all the SIPFest 2016 banner found in think archipelago website.


Takuzo Kubikukuri in Butterfly Dream
Takuzo Kubikukuri dances with his neck hanging to a rope in Butterfly Dream.

In one of the most intense art performance in SIPFest 2016, the ARICA Theater Company draws an inspiration from a mundane cycle of life which conveys a universal message about a vivid impression of everyone’s life that often failed to be notice.

The way both performers deliver it was about the collaboration of two very distinctive styles and background. Tomoko Ando studied acting and built her career in theater.

In contrast, the male performer Takuzo Kubikukuri is reluctant to call himself and actor. Instead he is an actionist, a definition of his own preference.

Butterfly Dream, a theater from Japan by Arica Theater Company, performing in SIPFest, 15-16 October, Jakarta.
Butterfly Dream, a theater from Japan by ARICA Theater Company, performing in SIPFest, 15-16 October, Jakarta.

The main set, tools and choreography seems to exhibit a clear gesture of hanging an exasperated soul to death.

When asked whether the performance reflect a certain issue in the country of origin, director Yasuki Fujita, who is also the founder of the new group formed in 2001, made it clear that there is no intention to contemplate suicide, but on the contrary, his work displays a stronger sense for life, saying, “It is more lively, especially when you see someone dances like a butterfly.”

And that is exactly when the dance intensifies as Takuzo, in his disturbingly peaceful smile, had his body swayed with a neck hung to a rope, which was tied to a mechanical device with a pivot controlled at the other end by Tomoko.

Through a suspended moment, Takuzo showed his dance to the world, right before the dumbfounded audience, as their eyes were set to the swinging thin and old body, joyful as it seemed.

In this perplexed final part of the dance, his chin sat comfortably on a strap attached to a hanging rope while Nat King Cole’s Smile accompanied him to the end.

All it takes to be happy

When smile is used to hide an ache, as the song suggests, and one must keep trying to smile because that is what matters instead of crying, the audience gets to feel Takuzo’s smile at the face of pain.

And all the burden at the other end of the rope will get by, as Tomoko could not catch her breath, and then she stumbled over her own work of mechanism made to be inflict pain upon him.

Tomoko Ando and Takuzo Kubukukuri
Tokyo-based  Tomoko Ando (left) and Takuzo Kubikukuri (right) during an interview in SIPFest 2016. Despite stark differences in background, both intends to show interaction between humans.

Japan is among the countries with the highest suicide rate, the third below South Korea and Hungary.

It has on average 19.4 number of suicides per 100,000 people. 25,000 suicides were reported in Japan in 2014. That was roughly 70 per day. The vast majority were male.

Financial pressure among old citizens are often cited as the reason to opt for ending life. The inability to funnel frustrations or anger under the rule-oriented society is suspected by many as the particular reason for suicide among young population.

Tomoko Ando told that it crossed her mind that they might have reconstructed suicide gesture in their performance, intendedly or not, while Takuzo, when asked is there a reason why we should be happy in this life, said that he feels something nostaligic about happiness and sadness.

He has been dangerously practicing hanging himself for almost 20 years, starting in 1997 in his garden under the tree. His surname means hanging oneself.

He lives alone.

Sing and laugh it out lout in Mezzotono’s a capella show

Indonesia Jazz Review


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The Italian a capella group of five, Mezzotono, performed in front of the public audience they claimed to be the greatest under the concert title “The Mezzotono Show” in Ice Palace hall, Jakarta, 29 September.

Indeed, the title implied an attempt to present a more than just musical concert, but combined with a rehearsed stage comical gesture. They take the laughter business seriously.

As a capella rose steadily as a musical style without the accompaniment of instruments since Renaissance, and was made apparent at church service, its development in the current days has brought a variety set of culture that predisposes to the new pop-oriented styles.

In the case of the globe-trotting, Italian modern cultural ambassador Mezzotono, their show is strongly committed to the diffussion of Italian music and culture through voices that managed to reproduce the sounds of instruments, often introducing a comic touch and encouraging audience participation.

Besides, who is not surprised by the sound effect of electronic beats and synthesizers that was coming from vocal section?

But the audience seemed to be slow in adapting with the show due to initial failure in expecting an original musical performance with a twist of humor exchanges. And perhaps, the selection of Italian songs only gained an appreciation but less enthusiasm.

The sweet, final touch

However, the “greatest audience” came to fully enjoy the show apparently at the end of the show, when Mezzotono had concluded one of Italian’s most recognized song of 1962 Quando, Quando, Quando, or the hilarious, inventive twist of the Gangnam Style.

Humor never lost its universality. As the tenor vocalist Fabio Lepore, insisted the audience to at least try and make it look hard to see show ended, they have invented a novelty in a capella show.

Four other members are Daniela Desideri as soprano, Gaia Gentile as the semisoprano, Marco Giuliani as the baritone, and Alessandro Gnolfo with his fine skill of mimicking the multilayered sound of drum set as the bass vocal.

See also events held by Instituto Italiano di Cultura Jakarta:

The Sum of Stefano Bollani’s Tenacity

The quartet who play music, with a caveat

The old man in pajamas and a bowl of magic

Mia TanujayaTEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS  I  MIA P. TANUJAYA

Mia P. Tanujaya, a full time dreamer and reader, is currently working as a marketer in Vietnam. She is fond of teaching and always believes in Nelson Mandela’s quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.” It is her dream to travel around the world and write a book about it.


Lion Dance vietnam

In Vietnam the Mid-Autumn Festival (Tet Trung Thu) is the country’s second most important holiday after the Vietnamese New Year (Tet). Tet Trung Thu usually takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.

The best place in Vietnam to observe Tet Trung Thu is Hoi An ancient city in Quang Nam province. The town’s Old Quarter is densely packed with shops, thus attracting the lion dancers. The river is teemed with floating lanterns, and the atmosphere is magical.

Flowers for offerings, vietnam

Since the town is so small, groups of lion dancers often encounter each other. They will put on fierce dance battle in an attempt to establish dominance. In the end this holiday is all about fun, and it is great to see groups of people marching and dancing through the streets, following the lion dancers’ way to every stop.

Weather could be quite tricky at this time of the year as wet season approaches, but it would not stop the people from carrying out the tradition. They would still make it through the rain and visitors are excitedly joining in.

the view from inside an old houseFor those who miss the Mid-Autumn Festival, they can always make time on every 14th day of the lunar month which is a Buddhist day of worship. Residents place offerings and burn incense on their ancestral altars and visit one of Hoi An’s many pagodas.

The scent of incense and the sounds of people singing add to the town’s enchanted atmosphere. On the evenings, visitors will get a rare glimpse into another era. These nights are warm reminders of life’s unforeseen beauty.

Cao LauVisitors to Hoi An always remember Cao Lau, which is considered by Quang Nam people as a special symbol for Hoi An. It is rice noodle served with thinly-sliced, soy-simmered pork, crispy fresh lettuce, assorted herbs such as basil, cilantro and mint, and crackly squares of deep-fried flour cracker.

It is said that Cao Lau cannot be made well outside Quang Nam. The secret lies in the water. Authentic Cao Lau is prepared only with water drawn from ancient Cham (ancient ethnic group) wells hidden around Hoi An and across Quang Nam Province.