Jazz festival in a small village, attracting thousands

Jazz festival in a small village, attracting thousands
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Benny Likumahuwa


Jazz music festivals may be common in many parts of the world, but definitely not in this small village in Indonesia’s Yogyakarta. Thirty groups of jazz musicians gathered to perform during the 5th Ngayogjazz in Brayut village. The organizers set up six stages, including one near the market, one near a banana garden and another in a house. Event director, Djaduk Ferianto said the festival is to promote jazz music in rural areas and make it more accessible. “People would associate the word “jazz” with being high-class. Especially in Indonesia. Although actually jazz is originally a folk art, it struggled to survive, oppressed and rise. Full of struggle that was once depressed and finally appears, just like people in Indonesia, being oppressed (by Suharto) and bounced back. So, yes, Jazz is a folk art,” he said. Organizers said more than 10,000 people turned up for the festival, which is a huge increase from the first festival which only had 1,000 attendees. Unlike other jazz festivals in the country, the one-day event did not feature international musicians. Many of the local bands merged traditional Indonesian tunes to the music to give it a different flavor. “Many people think that jazz is a high-class music but I like it. I think this is a good way to promote jazz,” said Ulul Khasanah, a jazz music fan. Rain started pouring in the evening, but the fans were undeterred, standing in the rain with umbrellas, ponchos, and even banana leaves to watch their favorite band play. Even though the location to perform is very different, the musicians find certain challenges. “We had to do some improvisations here and there. We had to adjust with the venue, the atmosphere sound. And the result was different from what we expected, but it is fun,” said Robert Muliahardja, a jazz musician. Ngayogjazz has been held in different villages in Yogyakarta province for the last five times. It is some 440 km (273 miles) east of capital Jakarta. To promote more awareness, the festival has been free-of-charge for all who are interested to attend

(Al-Arabiya News)

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