It was a night to remember. Sure, we are celebrating Indonesia’s 72 years of Independence. This is special. However, that night, we were invited to the Rhapsody Nusantara, an Ode to the Nation showcasing the renowned Indonesian composer and pianist, Ananda Sukarlan and Indonesian Soprano, Mariska Setiawan, at Padma Resort Legian. So, we know the day would be even more memorable.
Around 6PM, everybody gathered at the Poolside, Tenkai Japanese Restaurant. There are white round tables all around, and the staff were dressing up in traditional costumes. So pretty. Before the concert, Padma Resort Legian prepared an Indonesian buffet dinner that makes us so excited. From Balinese specialities, like Bebek Betutu, to Sate Lilit, to all Indonesia’s favorite dishes such as Beef Rendang, Cumi Sambal Matah, Ikan Woku Manado, Kambing Guling and many more. We especially love their Mie Aceh and Satay corner. Yum. During the dinner, we got ourselves some special entertainment from a beautiful dancer and the musician who made his own instrument from wood.
The concert starts at 8.30 PM. The Ballroom was transformed into a magical space with Indonesian decor beautifully set up as the centerpiece. Ananda Sukarlan walks in and immediately played a Prelude-Fantasy of a song by Ismail Marzuki’s Indonesia Pusaka. It was something that just make people stopped whatever they were doing and just sit down to enjoy such stunning performance. Those who are familiar with the song are amazed on how he could transform such epic national anthem into an amazing piece. Rapsodia Nusantara are songs composed by Ananda Sukarlan, that represents different provinces in Indonesia. This is his way of introducing Indonesia’s songs to the world.
The whole concert was divided into two parts: a piano solo by Ananda Sukarlan playing his Rapsodia Nusantara and some of his composition, and the part with the beautiful sopranist Mariska Setiawan. The first two songs he played was inspired by his favourite poems, “If I can stop one heart from breaking” by Emily Dickinson and “Darkness and my Lover” by Walt Whitman. We are amazed by how delicate yet powerful Mariska’s voice was. She is also a bit theatrical, in a way that she can really exudes the emotion of the songs. Brava.
Rapsodia Nusantara no.8 composition was based on an Indonesian folk song, O Ina Ni Keke from Manado. It really brightens up the room and filled it with some good ol’ Indonesian patriotic pride. Then Ananda plays two classic songs from Richard Strauss, Germany, entitled Zueignung; In Uomini, in Solidad by Mozart, Mozart and two songs by Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain, which are The Six Strings and An Ode to Salvador Dali.
The last part of the performance Rapsodia Nusantara No.10 which was his tribute to Bali and the sad Bali bombings. He wanted the world to see that there is so much more to Bali than just a horror attack. If you hear closely, you can hear some gamelan, and even the hum of kecak through his epic performance. It was so moving and breathtaking. Afterwards, he continued with three songs that he made based on the poems by Adimas Immanuel, which are: Sakai, Prabahita and Iras. Again, Mariska Setiawan wows us with her emotions and her brilliant voice.
Ananda Sukarlan closes his performance with Variations on Ismail Marzuki’s Rayuan Pulau Kelapa. And when the crowd asks for more, he gave us a not so simple renditions on an Indonesian childhood song, “Balonku”. It was a night to remember. We love every minutes of it.