OPENING STAGE OF BIENNALE JOGJA XIII; Traveling Across Eras: From Survivors of 65 to Senyawa

20151109 Panggung Opening BJXIII

YOGYAKARTA – Tuti, Hartina, Elly, and Murtini are the remaining members of Ansambel Gembira Jakarta. It was one of the choirs under Lembaga Musik Indonesia (LMI); one of the creative communities of LEKRA in 1960s.

At present, the four members of Gembira transform into a new group named Dialita. Dialita, an acronym of “Di Atas 50 Tahun (above 50 years old)”, is one of the choirs performed in the opening stage night of Biennale Jogja XIII at Jogja National Museum (JNM), Gampingan, Yogyakarta (1/11).

In the same way as Ansambel Gembira, Dialita consists of middle-aged women incited the souls of Indonesian by their patriotic songs, among others Asia Afrika Bersatu, Padi untuk India, and Viva Ganefo.

The three songs brought to the audience in energetic and lively performance were written by Indonesian composers at the moment when Indonesia stood in the vanguard leading Asia-Africa in their struggles for independence. Viva Ganefo composed by Asmoro to commemorate the involvement of Indonesia in New Emerging Force. Padi untuk India composed by A. Ali tells about the solidarity of Indonesians to Indians strucked by food shortage. Moreover, Asia Afrika Bersatu was composed by Sudharnoto, also the composer of Garuda Pancasila mars which is being inherited to us nowadays.

“The songs we sing on the stage of Biennale Jogja are dedicated to preserve hope and passion for life. We gather, carry out some philanthropies and sing. Justice, truth, and peace are values we fight for,” said Ucikowati (63) happily applauded by the audience.

Dialita is a family of survivors in the year of political havoc, 1965. According to Bu Uci, there is one legendary survivor in Dialita choir. “Bu Mujiyati is the first generation of survivors. She was in the first wave and was the last to leave Plantungan camp in Central Java,” said Bu Uci speaking on behalf of Dialita.

Dialita performance in Biennale Jogja XIII was their first performance outside Jakarta or their 27th performance since the choir reunited in December 7, 2012.

At Biennale Jogja sustaining Hacking Conflict issue, Dialita choir shared the stage with other experimental musics, one of them is Senyawa. Wukir Suryadi, one of the founders of Senyawa, designed their own musical instrument from bamboo in which the instrument blares like common electric guitar. In their opening performance, Wukir Suryadi & Lifepatch demonstrated their “guitar” shaped-guns-and-fire arrow. The instrument was a blast.

Senyawa is nowadays music generation differs from the music performed by Dialita 65 in the era of Soekarno. Also, it differs from the performance of keroncong music of Orkes Nusa Permai.

Imagine an orkes with a swaying tune of “Jangan Ditanya Kemana Aku Pergi” popularized by Broery Marantika coupled with heavy metal band, Punkasila. Although their songs might seem “odd”, they contain messages of political violence. Check out other Punkasila’s songs from Kopassus, TNI, RPKAD, Turba, PKI, Perang Singkatan, Manikebu, FPI, DOM, Bakorstanas/Bakin, to KFC.

Punkasila utilized four motorcycle engines to produce their music on the stage of Biennale Jogja. The roar of motorcycle engines might reminisce the listeners about the loud noises come from the street during the season of political campaign. Otherwise, Punkasila could be passing straight criticism toward the motorcycles reigning the city streets in Indonesia.

From Dialita 65 to Senyawa and Lifepatch, from Orkes Nusa Permai to Punkasila, all of them brought the opening stage of Biennale Jogja XIII to represent a wide span of history from generations as well as juxtaposing contradictories in a stage of art and culture.

Photo illustration by Kelas Pagi Yogyakarta