The Spanish Ian Scionti Trio performing at the Jazz Gunung Bromo 2016 festival, Probolinggo, East Java. (JG Photo/Lisa Siregar)

Jazz Gunung - Art and Music on Mount Bromo


AUGUST 22, 2016

Jakarta. Art exhibition, nostalgic songs and all that jazz were highlights of the eighth Jazz Gunung music festival in Jiwa Jawa Resort on Mount Bromo, East Java.

Set on Aug. 19-20, only two days apart from Indonesia's Independence Day (17/08), the festival embraced a more national spirit. Ring of Fire band, featuring saxophonist Ricad Hutapea and singer Bonita, kicked off with their own arrangement of "Sorak-Sorak Bergembira" ("Joyful Cheer"), a famous independence song composed by Cornel Simanjuntak. Ring of Fire leader and Jazz Gunung co-creator, Djaduk Ferianto, also performed a few new songs  "Ritme Khatulistiwa" ("Rhythm of the Equator") and "Sesaji Negeri" ("Offerings") — each of them filled with his hopes about the future Indonesia.

Veteran jazz singer Ermy Kullit pleased the crowd with her all-time hits, "Pasrah" ("Surrender"), "Tergoda" ("Tempted") and "Kasih" ("Love"). The Shadow Puppets Quarter presented modern jazz arrangements of popular 1950s tunes, such as "Nurlela" by Bing Slamet, "Biduk Kasihku" ("Love Craft") by Mochtar Embut and "Puspa Melati Juwita" by Iskandar, from their new album "Indonesian Songbook," featuring singer Harvey Malaiholo.

The Groove, whose 1999 debut made acid jazz popular again, capped the festival with a mix of their hits and songs from the latest album "Forever You'll Be Mine."

On Friday and Saturday, temperature dropped to ten degrees Celsius. Thick fog covered the landscape and small braziers were brought into the venue to keep the guests warm.

During the festival, resort's cafe and gallery, Java Banana, exhibited photographs and sculptures by Sigit Pramono and Dolorosa Sinaga.

Festival founders, Sigit, Djaduk and Butet Kertaradjasa, said Jazz Gunung attracts more and more visitors. Their inaugural event in 2008 saw 300 guests. This year, during the two days of the festival, around 4,000 people came to the resort's amphitheater.

The resort has recently been renovated and a new seating area was constructed to accommodate a few hundred more jazz lovers. Also from this year on the festival will be held in August, a month later than it used to be. "August is good because in June or July many of our jazz musicians are busy touring the world," Butet said.

Sigit has recently initiated a jazz festival in Dieng Plateau and is currently thinking about a jazz event on the Toba mountain in North Sumatra. He said, however, that Jazz Gunung will always be the main event.

This year, Jazz Gunung honored the late jazz musician, one of the prominent jazz popularizers of the 1980s, Ireng Maulana. Vice governor of East Java, Saifullah "Gus Ipul" Yusuf, attended the ceremony on Saturday evening to present the achievement award to Ireng's son, Tomi Maulana.

Gus Ipul said Jazz Gunung has become an iconic event.

"Previously, Bromo was only known for Kasada [offering ceremony of the local Hindu Tengger community]. But now, people go uphill just to attend Jazz Bromo," he said.