Road To Java Jazz Festival (JJF) 2015

Dear all, how are you? I hope you’re doing okay in managing the unbearable weather in the capital. Well, I gladly announce that my last three weeks have been extraordinary. I simply still pinch myself just to make sure that what was happened at March 7, 2015 was real. Do I already get your attention? Okay then, what if I told you that I performed in the Java Jazz would you believe that? But guess what? Hell yeah I DID!

I was as shocked as you when my friend slash pianist slash conductor, Rizka, called me when I just arrive in the office to ask me whether I (as part of the Gita Bhuana 37 choir) could perform with The Diplomats Band in the JJF. I remember that I pause for a while try to chew that request in my lunatic brain before I finally said “Yes I can”.  After giving her the answer I finally notice that it was only three freaking weeks to the D-Day! Not to mention it was now only me and my deputy director in our busy sub-directorate. Well okay, those were the cons! The pros were much satisfying, like, OMG, who does not know about JJF? It’s the one of biggest jazz festivals in the world or probably in the largest in Asia! Thousands of people were dying to see the world class performers during the event. And we were there not only to watch, but to perform and entertain the crowd! UBER COOL!

Enough with the pros and cons, here comes the hardest part, the rehearsal! Since the clock was ticking, we had to maximize our best effort and time to rehearse. I told you bluntly that our rehearsal was … wait for it … hardcore. Well, we usually start rehearsing at 7.30 pm to almost midnight. The trigger of it was because the approaching time, the duration we perform (it was one hour!), and the number of songs (they were ten!).  So, there were the band and the choir. There were moment when the choir was the lead singer, but there were also moment where we were the backing vocals. This decision was wisely taken to prevent the fatigue once we were on stage.  As part of the choir, we had seven songs to accomplish. They were Quizas Quizas Quizas, Ayam Den Lapeh, Indonesiaku, Arirang, Fate (OST Full House), Song for Peace, and Just the Two of Us. I was only familiar with four of them, and clueless by the rest. And fortunately it was not only me who felt that way. So, in order to keeping up, we conducted private rehearsal in the weekend.


Due to our hectic schedule during and after office hours, some of us were sick and losing their voices. But JJF knew nothing about mercy. In order to return the voices, my sick friends then used the shotgun, the kencur. This traditional herb plant was long heard as powerful medicine to maintain the voices and as dry cough best enemy. Some of them wildly chew the kencur, some of them decided to process it first into simple extract. Both ways win anyway.

And we finally reached the D-Day. The mystical March 7, 2015. We arrived in Kemayoran at 4pm, two hours before our performances. We then ate, wondering around for a while, did a mini sound check, and we went up to stage!

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I could not know how to describe my feeling when I was on stage. Seeing number of people passing by and finally approaching our stage made me nauseous. I felt like a robot when trying to keep smiling while my stomach knew better. But then I heard the cue from the drum and the piano, the intro was started, and there was definitely no way back. So, I kept on singing, a little dancing, and smiling to the audience. I could recognize a face or two, but most of the time I was blurred by the light. Sixty minutes felt like a glimpse when I finally realize it was over. I heard people clapping and cheering. As we returned to back-stage, some of the crew stages said that we were amazing. And suddenly our dear Sekdilu 37 friends joined us in the back stage and yelling happily to us. At that moment I was beyond happy and run out words. I felt relieve and shed a silence tears of joy.

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Well then, that was one night to remember. All of our hard work was finally paid off. Thank you the awesome The Diplomats band, you guys are fantastic! And for the Gita Bhuana choir, I love you guys! Let’s do more in the future.

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And that will be my goodbye for this sentimental post. So, did you see our performance? If you didn’t please do enjoy the flow of photos here. And once I got the video of that night I will definitely share! Till next time you all!