Evening falls, the Lights Come on, and Jazz Begins

Now in its twelfth year, Ngayogjazz is well versed in creating an experience, and this year it doesn’t disappoint. The opening ceremony, beginning with a marching band, singers and banjo players, weaved its way through the site, collecting passers-by until reaching the Panggung Jagabaya stage. The formation reached the front where the audience was greeted by Ngayogjazz’ much loved Pranata Acara (MCs) alongside actor Den Baguse Ngarso. No celebration in Indonesia is complete without a story and a few jokes, and Den Baguse brought both humour and depth with his words.

He spoke about Gilangharjo as the area where Panembahan Senopati first formed the Mataram Empire, often spoken as the most powerful empire in Indonesia. Den Baguse’s speech ranged from the history of Mataram, to the importance remembering one’s culture, the wisdom and understanding of your own community, but also of accepting and respecting those who are from outside, and seeing yourself as equal. All the while, he continued to keep the tone light with a number of jokes thrown in. At the end of his speech, Syaharani made her way onto the stage with powerful vocals and a bumping bass-line, making sure everyone knew it was time to boogie. An atmospheric and fitting beginning to the festival!

As the light begins to dim and the fairy lights surrounding the Joglos of the village cast a warm glow around the site, there is the promise of much more to come. Streams of people have begun arriving to the village, local food stalls are preparing, and final soundchecks are taking place. Across the village, there is much excitement about the coming performances of local and international artists alike.