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Soundsekerta 2015 and how Indonesian talent shook Melbourne

Dea Putra

Tue Sep 22 2015


EVERY year since 2007, the Indonesian Student Association of Australia’s (PPIA) Monash University branch bring a batch of popular Indonesian musicians to Melbourne to perform. Dea Putra attended the event and shares her highlights of Soundsekerta 2015.

The doors were open at 5.30 PM, and by then, the crowd had already formed a snaking line down Collins St. Attendees soon began filing into the Melbourne Town Hall, their spirits high with anticipation.

They were all here for Soundsekerta, an annual music event organised by Monash University’s Indonesian Student Association (PPIA). It is the show’s ninth year and its goal still remains the same: to showcase Indonesian talent to the world.

Ahead of the show, Soundsekerta project advisor Stacy Hutapea proudly announced this year’s event had attracted 1,800 people, reasserting the event as “the biggest Indonesian music festival in Melbourne”.


Courtesy, PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

Courtesy: PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

At 7.00pm, jazz singer and rising star Muhammad Tulus (more popularly known as TULUS) came on stage – dressed in the iconic Indonesian batik – with his band. As they delivered their sleek beats, Melbourne Town Hall was instantly transformed into a classy jazz lounge.

TULUS maintained his powerful voice all throughout the set, as they played their hit songs, such as ‘Gajah’, ‘Baru’, ‘Teman Hidup’, ‘Jangan Cintai Aku Apa Adanya,’ and ‘Sepatu’. The singer-songwriter’s music was meant to be sentimental which helped the audience swoon and sway.

Expressing gratitude for being able to perform in Melbourne, TULUS ended his set with a jazz rendition of an Indonesian national song, ‘Tanah Air Beta’.


Courtesy, PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

Courtesy: PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

Following TULUS’ set was popular Soundsekerta regular Nidji, who took to the stage and opened with their classic, party-starter anthem ‘Disco Lazy Time’. This song caused most people to abandon their seats, flock towards the stage and create a massive dance floor. Throughout their set, the event turned into something of a rave. Their music is reminiscent of British pop-rock ensembles, such as Coldplay and Keane.

As a dance-pop heavyweight, Nidji entertained the audience with their super-catchy hits, such as ‘Arti Sahabat’, ‘Child’, ‘Kau dan Aku’, and ‘Hapus Aku’. During a particularly romantic song,  ‘Bila Aku Jatuh Cinta’, they invited a girl who had been “single for three years” onstage to be serenaded by vocalist Giring, which drew cheers from the audience.

Nidji however are no strangers to such theatrics. At one point, they even made a political statement, as Giring made the audience promise that they would work hard to achieve success, without resorting to dishonest means such as corruption.

Finally, they made the audience stand up and dance to another classic, ‘Laskar Pelangi’, a soundtrack for a prominent Indonesian movie of the same name. Nidji ended their set the same way they started it — gloriously.


Courtesy, PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

Courtesy: PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

As the night drew to a close, there was only one more act to appear. Veteran band NOAH — previously known as Peterpan — emerged on stage and changed things up with a mix of upbeat, pop-rock tunes and acoustic sets.

Despite the crowd’s visibly tired appearance, NOAH managed to mantain their interest with hits including ‘Menunggumu’ and ‘Mati Tanpamu’. But what kept the audience going were the involved sing-alongs of their old songs from the Peterpan era, like ‘Topeng’, ‘Ada Apa Denganmu’, and ‘Dibalik Normal’.

NOAH’s decade-long run as veteran performers was translated through their solid, compelling live performance. Frontman Ariel mentioned how glad he was to see how people there still care much about Indonesian music.

After ten songs, NOAH stepped off the stage, and the crowd erupted in a chorus, demanding an encore. When they returned, they satisfied the audience through nostalgia, and played several more crowd favourites, such as ‘Khayalan Tingkat Tinggi’ and ‘Tak Bisakah’.

Student thoughts on the music of Soundsekerta

Courtesy, PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

Courtesy: PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

For University of Melbourne student, Bhargavi Battala, NOAH was her favourite performer of the event. Although the event marked her introduction to Indonesian music, she eventually found herself humming and tapping along to the music.

“I was a little skeptical at first because I didn’t know the language, but then the energy of the crowd and the music itself enthused me,” she said.

Tim Flicker, Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) Victoria member, chose TULUS as his favourite performer of the night.

“I think his voice is really amazing and it was great to see how he interacted with the crowd. I really liked how he got the audience involved,” he said.

Courtesy, PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

Courtesy: PPIA MONASH. Credit: Breggy Anderson.

And as for Josh Prayogo, Deakin University student, he mentioned that Nidji was his favourite, and praised the event for delivering a good show.

“The performers were amazing but the crowds were even more. The highlight of the event was when Nidji sang ‘Laskar Pelangi’. I really love that song – it was even performed as the last song,” the Deakin University student said.

Soundsekerta has managed to boast star-studded line-ups throughout the years, having scored the likes of Dewa 19 and Sheila on 7 in the past. Looking at this year’s success, organisers can rest assured that people will be looking forward to next year’s event.