Tag Archives: Institute Italiano di Cultura Jakarta

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 sum of Stefano Bollani’s tenacity

indojazzreview utuh-logoInstituto Italiano di Cultura Jakarta

The article first appeared on Indonesia Jazz Review, 29 April 2015.

Stefano Bollani simultaneously plays with two piano instruments.

In 1996 Stefano Bollani chose to drop all he has worked for in pop since he first took a professional path at his teenage years, and in his solo concert at Usmar Ismail Hall, Jakarta, 28 April, the Italian pianist showed his aptitude, more of nurtured than inherent, after over 15 years of dedication in jazz. He left traces of his childhood aspiration to become a singer by singing a couple of songs in melancholy for Jakarta audience, meanwhile he was sure not to let them miss the anticipation having him played out one of his best talents: swing, especially after his last performance in Jakarta seven years ago.

Continue reading The sum of Stefano Bollani’s tenacity

The quartet who play music, with a caveat

Actis Dato Quartet

Groups of musician insert a few elements of surprise in their shows to entice the increasingly discerning audience. They offer something different, but anticipated. Surely no one can’t blame them for trying.

Playing on the stage with a dark backdrop and under fixated dim lighting in Usmar Ismail Hall, Jakarta, Tuesday night, one would forgo the thought of visual spectacle that night and expect the most in auditory treats from evolving jazz of Italy and Middle East.

And then four of them came out of the main hall entrance instead of the backstage. They love to foray into the aisles and trigger the audience’s participation. As if one time seemed not enough, they reserved the energy for three more mood-rekindling rounds.

Seeing the taciturn audience before them, the band’s bearded front man, Carlo Actis Dato, who have played musical instrument since childhood, a similar case to the rest members, forcibly shouted at anyone seating in front of him to sing from the guts, dragged women to stomp their feet and dance alongside him.

Their choreography involved changing costumes and disassembling saxophone. All of this was done without losing the tempo, and the music never stopped playing.

Dedicated contemporary artists

If dedication is any indication, then Actis Dato Quartet is one of the most professional contemporary musicians of the world.

Their background in music can be stretched back into the very early formative years. Some of them were born into the family who either made a living from concert to concert or took music education seriously.

Their venture into jazz took considerable amount of effort and patience, rather than simply based on binding spontaneity overnight. They carefully thought of how to make a performance that as thrilling as their music.

They present themselves in an amusing way. Song selection fit into this disposition. The result on the stage was not at all an experiment, but a concerted effort to make a lasting impression.

Overshadowed by the comical gestures and laughters, they posed a warning about the commonly neglected notion, that the most important thing in music is to make incomprehensible tone and rhythm of a different part of the world entertaining to people.

As is the case with the term happiness, music is far beyond absolute definition, such as good melody or harmony. On top of that, music should make you feel good.

Actis Dato Quartet in Jakarta
Actis Dato Quartet live in Usmar Ismail Hall, Jakarta