“Pesta Rakyat” A Musical Celebration for the Community!

At a time when the end of the pandemic looks tentatively in reach, and events are beginning to open their doors to the public again, one of Jogja’s most loved annual events, Ngayogajazz, started the party this week with two
Lekasan warm-up events ahead of the day festival, taking place this Saturday, Nov. 20, in the village of Karang Tanjung, Yogyakarta.

Opening the first Lekasan on Tuesday evening where the smooth sounds of Nosca, a four-piece band formed of SMP students – meaning all are unbelievably under the age of 13 – who opened with a funky rendition of Tanah Air by Ibu Sud.  

Speaking with hosts Gunhissos and Simbah Unggry, Nosca members explained that they formed a year ago, right in the centre of the pandemic, so Ngayogjazz will be the largest event the young musicians have performed at. They were joined by their mentor Doni, from Alldint, who shared about their project Music for Everyone, which brings music lessons to areas around Jogja that don’t yet have a musical infrastructure.

The hosts also welcomed Rendra from Jazz Syuhada, about another local jazz event taking place a week after Ngayogjazz, Syuhada Jazz, which takes place in front of Syuhada Mosque in Kotabaru. In an area with three places of worship for three different religions, Syahadi Jazz was created three years ago to celebrate the difference of the region through the universal medium of jazz, a similar ethos shared by Ngayogjazz in bringing everyone together through music.  

In the second Lekasan taking place last night, hosts Lusy Laksita and Diwa Hutomo continued the build-up to the festival by discussing pass Ngayogjazz’ with Pak Agung, a local music legend, as Lusy said “a music activist”, who discussed his musical past and how Ngayogjazz brings people together. He was followed by Pak Singo, a Ngayogjazz regular who has attended 13 of the previous 14 festivals, writing for this very blog and collecting all Ngayogjazz’ memorabilia. 

When asked what Pak Singo thought was the best thing about Ngayogjazz, he replied without hesitation, “there are no boundaries. We can interact with whomever we want to. Performers wander around with festival-goers, we can talk to the MCs, there are no bodyguards, I’ve not seen this kind of openness at any other event”.

The reminiscing of past Ngayogjazz at this second Lekasan, accompanied with the velvety tones of ALVF Jazz and Midway Quartet, who had us all thirsty for live jazz, was the perfect way to prepare for tomorrow. See you all online tomorrow!