Distinguished Belgian pianist Gilbert de Greeve, center, seen on stage with the winners of the Senandung Challenge during a gala concert at Erasmus Huis in South Jakarta on Sunday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

Belgian Embassy Celebrates Indonesian Folk Songs

BY : NUR YASMIN

AUGUST 19, 2019

Jakarta. The Belgian Embassy presented a gala concert of local folk songs at Erasmus Huis in South Jakarta on Sunday to celebrate 70 years of diplomatic ties between Belgium and Indonesia.

The Indonesian folk songs had been rearranged by distinguished Belgian pianist Gilbert de Greeve of the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp since 2015 and published in the book "Senandung Tanah Airku" ("Hum of My Nation").

Some of the pieces were performed by 28 young pianists from various parts of Indonesia, who emerged as winners in the Senandung Challenge, an online competition.

They performed "Bungong Jeumpa," "Naik-Naik ke Puncak Gunung"("Climb Up to the Top of the Mountain"), "Soleram," "Yamko Rambe Yamko" and many others that evoked childhood memories among audience members.

One of the winning candidates plays a folk song during Sunday's concert. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)
One of the winning candidates plays a folk song during Sunday's concert. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

"I found incredible value in Indonesian folk songs; I started by making three or four rearrangements for the piano, but then I made 20 pieces. I put a challenge in every piece, so it teaches the children something new," de Greeve said.

"Children should start learning music from their own folk songs; they catch it faster and it's the only way to keep the heritage alive," he added.

De Greeve said he became emotional upon seeing the children play and the way the audience sang along.

"I have been to many countries, and I think Indonesia is a very musical country. The level of young pianists here is also very high," said the professor, who also teaches masterclasses.

Belgian Ambassador Stéphane de Loecker, right, and professor Gilbert de Greeve seen at Erasmus Huis on Sunday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)
Belgian Ambassador Stéphane de Loecker, right, and professor Gilbert de Greeve seen at Erasmus Huis on Sunday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

Belgian Ambassador Stéphane de Loecker said the event was held to both celebrate diplomatic ties between the two countries and music.

"Music is a universal language; we are celebrating this anniversary and putting aside all political matters," de Loecker said.

The Belgian Embassy will organize a beach cleanup in Jakarta's Thousand Islands district in September and another musical performance in October, this time with a gamelan, or traditional Javanese ensemble.

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