THIS year’s Soundsekerta is all about connecting Australia with Indonesia through the power of music. Stevi Lee brings you all the details of the wonderful performances on the night.
For the past ten years, Monash University’s Indonesian Student Association (or PPIA Monash) has put together its annual Soundsekerta show but the event hasn’t ever been exclusive just to students.
On the night of September 11, 2016, families, students and other Indonesian expats residing in Melbourne were gathered at Melbourne Town Hall to celebrate their community through the power of music.
The show, which over the years has invited popular Indonesian artists and bands to perform in Melbourne, was the result of hard work by PPIA Monash.
Welcoming speeches from Soundsekerta’s Program Manager, Jessen Tjandra, and Project Advisor, Aulya Salsabila, and inspiring statements from Consulate-General of the Republic of Indonesia in Victoria, Dewi Savitri Wahab and Victoria’s Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Asia Engagement, Hong Lim opened the show which were then followed by the night’s performances.
Opening the night
Melbourne-based Indonesian dance group, Saman Melbourne, opened the night’s show by performing one of the beautiful traditional dances from West Java — Tarian Jaipong. Accompanied by some eccentric lighting, the dancers moved elegantly on the stage while attendees enjoyed the traditional dance.
Following the traditional dance was a performance of patriotism which saw an Indonesian opera singer invite the crowd to stand as a show of respect as they harmoniously sing one of the country’s anthems, ‘Indonesia Pusaka’. The accompanying orchestra and the singer’s powerful voice led to a rapturous participation as attendees sang the song with their hands over their hearts.
Amy Chew, a local Monash University student who was also one of the orchestra’s violinists said that she was really excited to perform in the opening moments.
“It’s very exciting, and nerve-racking, but it’s a good experience and I work with a good bunch of people,” she said, adding she also found herself “loving Indonesian music, especially the song ‘Indonesia Pusaka'”.
GAC (Gamaliel, Audrey, Cantika)
The night’s first major act, GAC, put the crowd into a frenzy. The trio, whose popularity on YouTube led to their cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirror” being selected in a nomination montage at the Grammy Awards, opened their set with “Untuk Indonesia”.
GAC, taken from the first name of its members Gamaliel, Audrey and Cantika, brought high energy to their performance and minimalistic fashion to boot. The three wore soft pink pastels and whites on stage while they performed covers from renowned Indonesian bands such as Sheila on 7, Andra and the Backbone, and more.
The atmosphere quickly turned nostalgic after their performance of “Sempurna” by Andra and The Backbone as crowd sang along to each word. Meanwhile, their cover of “Seberapa Pantas” by Sheila on 7 put the audience into a groove as their twist on the song had the audience swaying along to the melody.
The performance was accompanied by a Melbourne-based orchestra, conducted by Randy Enos Hallatu. Hallatu expressed his excitement in seeing everyone’s hard work pay off.
“It was a hard work as everyone in the orchestra has never met nor worked with each other before, however they have been working hard and well with each other,” he said.
Despite having only two days of rehearsing together with the Orchestra and the singers, they played and performed extravagantly together.
Towards the end of GAC’s performance, the crowd started storming in front of the stage to engage with the singers. They sang along and cheered as the singers exit the stage.
Veterans Kahitna were next to follow. As Yovie Widianto, the group’s founder and pianist, entered the stage, the crowd started wildly cheering.
This year marked the band’s 30th anniversary and for their set, the group sang and performed a mix of new and classic songs from their library — songs which included hits like “Cinta”, “Tak akan Terganti”, “Soulmate”, “Baper”, “Mantan Terindah”, “Sungguh Aku Sayang Kamu” and “Rahasia Cinta”.
Kahitna’s singers also gave a very patriotic speech during their set to encourage Indonesian students in Australia to pursue their dreams and fight for their next generation.
For William Angliss student, Margaret Tan, seeing Kahitna perform made her night.
“I was really excited when Kahitna appeared on stage. I have been [a fan of] Kahitna since 2011, so I was really excited when I heard that they [were] coming to Melbourne,” she said.
Other great moments that came out of Kahitna’s show that night included one of Kahitna’s singers stating music’s power to unite people despite barriers in language (in reference to rehearsals with the accompanying orcehstra) and another of a female fan who was invited onto stage to be serenaded by Kahitna’s vocalists.
The latter in particular felt special as couples and families sung and swang to the group’s 1996 ballad “Tak Sebebas Merpati“. This was followed by one of the singers giving that special fan a kiss on the cheek once the song was over!
Encores and endings
As the night drew to a close and Kahitna performed their last song, the crowd chanted “We want more!” even as the lights on stage were dimmed.
Then, as though they couldn’t bear their audience leaving without feeling truly satisfied, Kahitna and GAC came back to the stage to perform one last song together — an old time favourite, a cover of “Uptown Girl” popularised by Westlife.
The crowd sang along with the performers and the night ended beautifully as the performers closed Soundsekerta with a bow and finally disappeared to the backstage.
As much as it was about remembering the last decade of Soundsekerta, this year’s edition was also about making this year’s show matter as well. And it did for several reasons.
On top of acquiring great Indonesian talent to perform in Australia, the show also connected Australia with Indonesia thanks to its inclusion of local talent. No doubt this year’s events serves as reassurance for the year to come. And who knows? Maybe we’ll be getting ten more years of Soundsekerta.