The Sound Of A Nation’s Modernity

Season 2 Episode 13 special edition during COVID-19 pandemic

Level of Indonesian and English fluency: Intermediate to Advanced

Indonesian Version

Aku adalah anak ke-3 dari 8 bersaudara, dan satu-satunya yang tidak melanjutkan pendidikan di bidang yang umum di perguruan tinggi.

“Hidupku hanya sekali. Aku ingin hidup bahagia. Hanya musik yang bisa bikin aku bahagia”, itu yang aku katakan pada papaku. 

Karena orang tuaku tidak setuju dengan pilihanku, sementara aku tetap ingin berkarir di musik, akhirnya aku memohon ke papa untuk diperbolehkan tetap tinggal di rumahnya, tetapi aku tidak menerima uang pendidikan darinya.

Maka setelah lulus SMA, hari-hariku berikutnya selama 12 tahunan itu adalah perjalanan yang sangat sulit. Hutang ke sana sini untuk menutup kebutuhan belajar dan bekerja di bidang musik. Sebenarnya ada pilihan untuk balik ke papa, tapi rasa gengsiku saat itu terlalu besar. 

Akhirnya aku mencapai satu kondisi dimana pendapatan dari karir musikku bisa memberikan nafkah yang lebih dari cukup. Saat itu aku menjadi musik director atau produser untuk album rekaman penyanyi-penyanyi terkenal Indonesia saat itu.

Di tahun 1991, setelah 4 tahun menikah dan mempunyai anak pertama berusia 1 tahun, tiba-tiba aku memutuskan mengambil haluan baru. Masih di musik juga, tapi masuk ke orkes simfoni. Bersama temanku Indra Bakrie & Oddie Agam, kami mendirikan Twilite Orchestra. Di zaman itu, minat masyarakat terhadap musik simfonik hampir tidak terlihat. Banyak temanku yang mengolok-olok sambil bertaruh bahwa aku pasti akan kembali ke musik pop dalam 1 atau 2 bulan lah. 

Hal ini dikarenakan apresiasi baik dari pihak penonton maupun pemerintah pada musik simfonik saat itu sangatlah minim. Dan aku ingin pindah haluannya secara cold turkey, karena aku mau fokus 100%. 

Nah.. Sejak itu, berbagai tawaran kerjaan musik pop, untuk rekaman, album, ataupun iklan, aku tolak.

Maka, di awal 90-an itu aku seperti kembali mengulang masa lalu yang susah di saat aku baru lulus SMA. Keadaan finansialku langsung merosot jauh, drastis, meski sudah dibantu oleh salah salah satu pendiri orkestraku, yaitu Bapak Indra Bakrie! 

Kali ini lebih berat,  karena aku sudah berkeluarga. Tantangannya pun bertubi-tubi datang dari luar maupun dalam. Di antaranya adalah, adanya seorang wartawan dari media besar yang selama 14 tahun lamanya seperti sentimen dan membully aku dengan menuliskan ulasan-ulasan konserku yang selalu menjatuhkan. 

Selain itu, aku harus bergelut dengan masalah kedisiplinan anggota orkestra di masa awal pembentukannya. Jadwal latihan jam 10 hingga 4 sore, baru datang jam 11 atau jam 12. Belum lagi keberadaanku yang  termasuk junior di bidang musik simfonik. Beberapa anggota orkestraku saat itu yang umumnya memang lebih senior dari usiaku yang masih muda relatif, maka sering diremehkan. Tantangan-tantangan ini sangat berat dan membuat aku hampir menyerah di tahun ke-3 sampai tahun ke-5. 

Untungnya, keadaan berangsur menjadi lebih baik. 

Bahkan, kalau dulu aku fokus mengejar karir di musik karena alasan cinta pada musik dan tanggung jawabku menghidupi keluargaku, setelah keadaan mulai lebih stabil, aku semakin menyadari bahwa apa yang kulakukan di bidang musik ini ternyata tidak semata untuk kecintaan atau nafkah semata. Tapi juga merupakan sarana untuk misi lainnya yang sangat penting dalam hidupku, dan saya kira lebih besar, yaitu edukasi dan pembentukan karakter bangsa. Karakter yang bukan saja menjadikan negara kita penuh orang pintar, tapi juga orang bijak. 

Dengan musik simfonik, manusia terbiasa berdisiplin,  bekerja sama, saling respek dan terasah empatinya. Orkestra terdiri dari beragam bentuk dan bunyi instrumennya, yang masing-masing menyuarakan nada-nada yang berbeda. Aktivitas di musik orkestra ini pada akhirnya juga membiasakan kita menghormati perbedaan.

Dalam situasi sekarang ini, banyak orang takut akan keberagaman. Selalu ada kekuatiran mayoritas menindas minoritas. Orkestra akan membuka mata, bahwa ketakutan itu hanyalah ketakutan belaka. Seperti dalam sebuah orkestra, keberagaman seharusnya saling melengkapi dan menguatkan. Perbedaan, justru diperlukan untuk menghasilkan harmoni dan sinergi, bukan ketakutan.

Saat memainkan musik bersama-sama, pemikiran mengenai mayoritas atau minoritas itu tidak terbesit. Di situ, kita sama-sama menikmati hasil karya kita saat penonton berdiri, bertepuk tangan dan bersorak. Hanya rasa bangga yang membakar spirit solidaritas atas keberhasilan bersama. Begitu pula di pihak penontonnya, akan fokus pada spirit apresiasi dan kebanggaan akan seni budaya. Tidaklah heran bila ada istilah “Kualitas orkestra adalah barometer modernitas suatu bangsa.”

Aku mendukung sekolah-sekolah di Indonesia untuk mempunyai orkestra yang jumlahnya makin banyak itu. Berkunjung ke sekolah dan berinteraksi dengan para siswa di sana adalah cara yang paling efektif untuk menumbuhkan apresiasi musik simfonik di generasi muda. 

Jalan tol makin banyak dibangun untuk menghubungkan kepulauan Indonesia dari barat ke timur. Jalan tol itu adalah infrastruktur untuk membangun suatu perekonomian wilayah bahkan negara. Dengan perekonomian yang kuat, maka negara pun menjadi kuat. Begitu pula untuk pembentukan karakter, diperlukan suatu infrastruktur di bidang seni budaya. Salah satu bentuk infrastruktur di bidang ini adalah keberadaan concert hall. Yakni sebuah tempat dimana masyarakat luas bisa mendapatkan kesempatan untuk mengenal dan belajar, serta mengapresiasi bentuk-bentuk seni budaya yang ditampilkan, khususnya orkes simfoni. 

Sayangnya hingga kini, kita belum mempunyai infrastruktur untuk musik simfonik di ibukota yang dibangun pemerintah. 

Ini adalah potret kehidupan dimana sejak kita kecil, secara turun menurun, hal yang dianggap prioritas adalah pembangunan ekonomi. Sementara, seni budaya yang juga mengedukasi nilai-nilai kemanusiaan kurang mendapat perhatian. Padahal, ini sangat penting sebagai fundamen negara yang kokoh agar tidak mudah dipecah belah bahkan dihancurkan.  

Karena sejarah dunia sudah membuktikan, bila persatuan dari rakyatnya tidak kokoh, maka sebesar dan sehebat apapun suatu negara, akhirnya akan hancur lebur. Bukan di tangan penjajah atau pihak luar, tapi di tangan rakyatnya sendiri. 

English Version (9:55)

Addie is the third child from eight siblings and the only one who did not continue to pursue mainstream education in university.

He felt that you only live once and he wanted to live happily. He already informed his father that only music made him happy.

As his parents disapproved of his choice, while he wanted to have a career in music, at the end he asked his father to still allow him to stay at home but not receive educational funds from him.

After graduating high school, Addie’s days for the next 12 years were a difficult journey. He borrowed money here and there to cover his educational expenses and his work in music. There was always a choice to just go back to his father for this but his pride would not allow him to do so. 

Finally, Addie reached a stage where he was able to make out a decent living out of his income from his music career. At that time, he was a Music Director, or Producer, of recording albums of famous Indonesian singers.

In 1991, after being married for four years and having a 1 year old child, Addie suddenly decided to chart a new course. Still in music, but delving into symphonic orchestra. With his friends Indra Bakrie and Oddie Agam, they established the Twilite Orchestra. At that time, the people’s interest towards symphonic music was almost non-existent. Many of his friends made fun of him, and  made bets that he would return back to pop music in 1-2 months. 

This is due to the very minimum level of appreciation that the audience and government have in symphonic music at that time. And he did a cold turkey move as he wanted to focus on it 100%.

Since then Addie rejected all pop music work offers, from recording albums to commercials. Hence in the early 90s, he felt like he was reliving his difficult days after he graduated from high school.  His financial situation dropped to the bottom although he was supported by one of the founders of his orchestra, Indra Bakrie.

This time around it was harder, because Addie had a family he had to support. The challenges kept on coming, internally and externally.  One of those being a reporter from a well known media who for 14 years seemed to hold a grudge against him and continuously wrote bad reviews on his concerts.

On top of that Addie had to tackle the disciplinary issue with the members of his orchestra in the early days it was founded. The practice schedule was from 10 AM to 4 PM, and they only arrived around 11 or 12 PM. Not to mention, he was still considered a junior in symphonic music. Many of his orchestra members were relatively older than him and often looked down on him. The challenges were big and almost made him quit in his third to fifth year managing the orchestra. 

Luckily things slowly got better. In fact, if Addie previously focused on his music because of his love of music and the responsibilities of having a family, when things stabilized for him, he realized that what he had been doing in music was not only for his passion and to make a living out of it. But it also served as a vehicle for another important mission in his life, which is the education and character building of his nation. Character will not only provide the country with brilliant minds but also wise individuals. 

Through symphonic music, people became disciplined, worked well together, respected each other and empathetic.  An orchestra consists of instruments with different shapes and sounds, each one of them playing a different tune. The activity in orchestral music, at the end, teaches us to respect the differences that we have.

In the current situation, many people are afraid of diversity. There is always the fear that the majority will oppress the minority. Orchestra opens up our eyes, that such fear is just merely fear. Like in an orchestra, diversity should be complementary and strengthening. Differences are actually required to produce harmony and synergy, not fear.

When playing music together,  the thought of majority and minority does not even come into play. There we enjoyed together the results of our work when the audience stood, clapped and cheered.  Only pride of a collective success  burns the spirit of solidarity. Likewise on the audience side, they would focus on the spirit of appreciation and the pride of art and culture. No wonder that there is a saying “The quality of the orchestra is the barometer of how modern a nation is”.

Addie supported numerous schools in Indonesia to have their own orchestra. Visiting those schools and interacting with the students there are the most effective ways to build the symphonic music appreciation within the younger generation.

More highways were built to connect the islands of Indonesia, from west to east. Highways are infrastructures to build the economy of an area, moreso a country. A country will become strong supported by a strong economy. The same way that character building requires a strong infrastructure in art and culture. One of the forms of infrastructure in this field is the existence of a concert hall. A place where a wider range of people could get the opportunity to know, learn and appreciate the forms of art and culture being presented, especially symphonic orchestra.

Regretfully until now, Indonesia still does not have the government-built infrastructure for symphonic music in the capital city of Jakarta.

This is a life portrait of which ever since a long time ago, generation to generation, the priority has always been economic development. Whereas art and culture which educate humanity values almost never garnered any attention, even though these values are very important as a country’s strong foundation so that it stands strong in the face of division and destruction.

World history has proven that if the unity of the people is not strong, regardless of how big and great a country is, it will eventually be destroyed. Not from the hands of colonialism or external forces but from the hands of its own people.

This is a story from Addie MS, who is originally from Jakarta. He currently resides in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a musician, music director and conductor of the Twilite Orchestra. Twilite Orchestra is Indonesia’s longest active orchestra, for 29 years, with various activities and accolades. It has collaborated with both local and international artists, among them: Vina Panduwinata, Aning Katamsi, Natalie Cole, David Foster, and Il Divo. It was also the first Indonesian orchestra which performed on several international stages such as Sydney Opera House, Old Slovak National Theater and Konzerthaus Berlin. 

His love for his country is reflected in his music recordings of Indonesia’s national anthem, Indonesia Raya and his music arrangements of other national and folk songs which are recorded in the album Simfoni Negeriku and The Sounds of Indonesia. These newly arranged songs have been played in many public settings, including at formal national events both locally and internationally. These include overseas Indonesian embassy events to sports events, one of them being the 2018 Asian Games. 

VOCABULARIES

Memohon: beg

Pendidikan: education

SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas): high school

Gengsi: pride

Nafkah: earning

Mengolok-olok: make fun of

Berangsur: gradually

Semata: only

(Ketakutan) belaka: (fear) mere

Terbesit: flash through one’s mind

Bijak: wise

Aku/saya: I, me

Aku is used in less formal or casual occasions.

– In Indonesia, once you are 18, you are not expected to move out of the parents’ house, in fact, it’s a common practise that children live with their parents until they get married.

– Indonesians follow a culture of seniority based on age, the younger should respect the older to the extent that the older have more power over them. Although this custom is not as strong as before, it is still a common practice in family and workplace

This is the last episode of Season 2, we hope you enjoyed all the stories and thank you for listening, this has been a journey of passion and hard work, which could not happen without your support, hopefully we can see you in the next season!

Indonesian language used here is in the daily-conversation format, that has influences from the local culture and custom. Should you have questions on the more formal version, please consult with your guru Bahasa Indonesia.

Level of Indonesian and English fluency: Intermediate to Advanced