In a burst of sounds and colours, Ngayogjazz 2019 was officially opened with the parade making its way around the site and ending among the crowds at the Panggung Genteng (Genteng Stage). As a celebration of some of Jogjakarta’s oldest traditions, bregada soldiers marched through shifting from side to side in unison and female dancers in traditional dress followed. A brass band completed the troop, getting everyone knee bending and hand tapping as they made their way to the stage.
After an eventful year in Indonesia, it was fitting that much of the focus of the opening speeches centred on this year’s tagline, “Satu Nusa, Satu Jazz-Nya”, or “one land, one jazz”. Based on the famous lyrics by Liberty Manik, Satu Nusa Satu Bangsa (One Land, One Nation), Ngayogjazz’ seasoned MCs explained how this year’s festival is all about celebrating the variety of life and how, although comprised of many different sounds, instruments, tones and rhythms, jazz-like life – can come together as harmonious, intricate and soulful. Sleman’s Bupati Pak Sri Purmono opened his speech by highlighting how jazz is not an exclusive genre, but one for all of society, and thanked Ngayogjazz for developing a festival accessible to all. Tributes were also made to the late Djaduk Ferianto who very sadly passed away earlier this week.
Professor Mahfud M.D spoke of the importance of remembering Indonesia’s national anthem and the message of awakening the soul and the body – and what better way to wake the soul and the body than getting into the groove of loud and rapturous jazz music? With this in mind, it’s time to explore and celebrate Ngayogjazz 2019.