Tag Archives: Goethe Institut Jakarta

East and west jazz collaboration


Goethe Haus Jakarta’s regular agenda of setting up international jazz musicians under the now familiar event Serambi Jazz continued to please the audience whom mostly long for an experimental type of music out of the industrialized music on the market.

The play on Thursday, 16 October, not only showing the fresh compositions made by each side, the European represented by Benny Lacker and the band, the French Karim, and the Indonesian guitarist who had appeared several times in Goethe Haus, Johanes Radianto, but they also brought a mixture of songs in their list from different places of origin.

In their own twists, tunes such as Jimy Hendrix’s From 6 to 9 to Indonesian folk song Gundul Pacul were surprising enough that by the end they were applauded by standing audience across the auditorium.

As the third time of such anticipated music project, the involved musicians have more confidence to introduce new forms and possibilities which are non-existent in mainstream music.

Some instances were the screeches of string bass that created the sense of slowly receding creepiness in one of the trio’s composition, or the creation of sounds from Karim’s keyboard that played out well with his composition.

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