ETCETERA was a colourful display of the best music and culture Indonesia has to offer. But as Sumisha Naidu discovers, it’s not just the locals who do it best.
There’s no denying the influence Western culture has had on Asia. We see it everywhere from the clothes we wear to the food we eat. What’s less common though is seeing Asia leave its mark on the West – least of all Southeast Asian countries.
But Etcetera was a night that turned the tables on this notion. Not only was the event a colourful showcase of all things great about Indonesian culture, it was also an impressive display of a diverse group of people who’ve embraced the archipelago’s music and traditions.
Australian singer Ron Kingston was one of them. He kicked off the night with his impressive vocal stylings – delivered entirely in Indonesian. He even self-penned one of the tunes, performing it with such feeling, you’d have no idea the language was hardly his native tongue.
Equally impressive were Putra Panji Asmara, a Melbourne-based ensemble who performed traditional Indonesian music called gamelan. But as they proudly pointed out, they were an “international” outfit, with an American, Australian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian and German among them.
To commemorate Anzac Day, the group even performed a special version of cultural dance Tari Topeng Ciribon – featuring “soldiers” from Australia and New Zealand.
But while the cross-cultural displays were warmly embraced, the most-anticipated act of the event was undoubtedly Trio Lestari – one of Indonesia’s most popular jazz bands. By all accounts, the band didn’t disappoint and they delivered a performance worthy of a headlining act.
At a meet and greet event days before the show, Trio Lestari told their fans their goal was to create a movement of Indonesian culture through their music.
But if Etcetera proved anything, it was that an Indonesian cultural movement is already underway – and it may have started right here in Melbourne.