Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whaku Bhim, Papuan Choir: Gospel Night

Got an email from Ocha this morning, informing there would be a choir performance in Indonesian Embassy's Auditorium at 7pm tonight.

The choir is Whaku Bhim, a choir from Papua, the eastern-most province in Indonesia. It is reported that they got a gold and a silver medal from the World Choir Games 2008 in Graz, Austria. Haaa, then this is a must-see performance for me :D

Paduan suara Whaku Bhim dari Papua akan ditampilkan secara khusus bersama beberapa kelompok paduan suara lainnya dari China, Australia, Amerika Serikat, Eropa dan Afrika Selatan dalam acara "We Are The World, Die Grosse Sommer-Nacht der Chore", International choir competition World Choir Games.

After contacting Rahmadi, Rizky, Mieke, and Reini, we agreed to go there by Reini's car at 6pm. As expected (at least by us Indonesians, not by those Dutch ladies) the small concert started late. Although the choir had arrived at 6.30 from Nijmegen (another concert there), the Indonesian ambassador didn't arrive from an appointment in Morocco's embassy until almost 8.

The choir consisted of church members and universities' students from Jayapura and its surroundings, conducted by Aris Sudibyo.

I didn't know the first song they sang, but I could notice that they're good. The second song was Indonesian version of "The Majesty and Glory of Your Name" by Tom Fettke (is it "Betapa Mulia NamaMu Tuhan"?). Now here I got a lot more excited and think that they sang it beautifully (perhaps also because I really love this song :D).

Other songs were "Sanctus"and I-forgot-the-other-one. The Tenors were kinda flat & stiff. The soloists (or descants, I forgot) were weak. At this point I was kinda having a skepticism. I mean, they're good, okay.. but what I heard were not the quality of WCG's gold medal choir.

Then came "Bukakan Pintu KasihMu" by Ronald Pohan and "Toki Gong (Sambil Menari Halleluya)" by Christian Tamaela. Ahh, "Bukakan Pintu KasihMu" are so typically Ronald Pohan. With all those complicated and close-harmony chords. I love his works. Impressively, the choir sang Toki Gong very well (except one noticeable false/drop at the release of one verse) and the clap-part was perfect. Very tidy. Now I could see that they've actually practising very hard. "Bukakan Pintu KasihMu" was nicely sung, with a lot better vocal compared to previous songs. The last 'Amen' part was great. "All Things Bright and Beautiful" was sung okay.. I think it was put as last song to neutralized the effect of Ronald Pohan's song, khekhekhee.

Second session was started after a break with bakso, hahaha :D
A medley song (I forgot what they were) and another Ronald Pohan's song "Tinggal Sertaku", which was composed before the death of his father E.L. Pohan. Then the session was mostly filled with Negro Spiritual songs such as "I Want To Thank You Lord", "Everytime I Feel The Spirit"(You introduced this to me B'Josh :D), "Soon Ah Will Be Done", ended with "Elijah Rock". I really liked Moses Hogan's work :D

I would say they sang Negro Spiritual really good. The ringing of the voice and the vibrato fit really well, apart from their physical appearance (well, the conductor said so :D). I think they related more with those songs and sang them more relax-ly (if this word exist :p). The dynamic flowed rather smoothly, although with less control to go piano/pianissimo. The soloists in this second session were much better. The power of the choir were great, although there's a tendency to be screamy (udah kecapekan kali ya).


Whaku Bhim was also appointed to perform in World Symposium on Choral Music in Copenhagen, Denmark. Later in a chat with the conductor, I acknowledged that the conductor was a former conductor of Universitas Kristen Petra choir (a very good choir in Surabaya). He was encouraged by Aida Swenson Simanjuntak, one of the judges/committee of WCG (Oh, Tante Aida existnya dirimu, hehehe) to form and train Whaku Bhim. So in 6 months, forming and training a choir like this was a very good achievement I think.

Eventually I knew they got silver medal in Mixed Chamber Choir and gold medal in Open Folklore. So, the gold medal was from Open Folklore.. I gotta see their next concert at 6 August 2008 at the same place, performing Papuan folksongs and dance. Tomorrow, they will be touring to Germany for another (some more) concert(s).

In the end, I really enjoyed the small concert. It's so endearing to see other Indonesian choir participating in World Choir Games.. Congratulations!!
And I really miss my choir now :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would love to listen to it ))) Thanks for sharing!