Exclusive Kikan Namara Summarizing The Beauty Of Indonesian Culture In The Sabang Merauke Performance

JAKARTA – What did Kikan Namara do after leaving the band Cokelat? Of course, many are curious about Kikan’s work as a soloist. But apparently, Kikan developed himself not only as a solo singer. Most recently, his name was recorded as the Music Director and Lead Vocal of the Sabang Merauke iForte Performance.

The Sabang Merauke performance presented 21 folk songs and one national anthem which were arranged in harmony. To achieve this, the performance involved five national singers, 46 traditional and modern musicians, and 135 professional dancers.

Regional songs that are sung in a medley combined with dances and clothes that are specially designed with the richness of fabrics from the same area. Watching this show for one hour seemed to invite the audience to circle Indonesia from the west to the east in succession.

Kikan and the entire team involved were able to summarize the beauty of Indonesian culture. Indonesia has thousands of different tribes and languages spread across more than 17,000 islands from Sabang to Merauke. With a geographical area of 1,811,570 km2, Indonesia also has a wealth of art and culture that is so vast and sublime.

These various treasures, ranging from music, songs, dances, traditional clothing, to various intangible cultural heritages, are priceless national treasures. This musical has been performed three times in different formats.

First, it premiered live at the Prambanan Temple Courtyard, Yogyakarta on March 26, 2022. This show was then brought to Jakarta with the concept of the Sabang Merauke – Premiere With Live Performance on June 3 – 5 2022. Before the show begins, the audience will be greeted by the Cross procession. The door is typical of the Betawi tribe which is a symbol of Jakarta as the host.

Third, the documentation of the performance in Jakarta can also be watched through the Youtube account of iForte Solusi Infotek starting Monday, June 6, 2022. Carrying out a double task, Kikan Namara admits that he is motivated to present his best work at the Sabang Merauke Performance.

Kikan Namara (Photo: Kikan Namara Collection, DI: Raga/VOI)

“This performance is actually conceptually combined from various forms of art. Especially those introduced in Indonesia, we package it from dance, music, then we try to put the clothes into one performance. Even though the song is a medley from Aceh to Papua, how do we do it? so that people can continue to follow these different moods,” said Kikan when met at the Jakarta Theater, June 2.

He hopes that this performance can remind Indonesia’s rich culture. “Indonesia is as big as this, come on, stop, don’t be so easily divided. Because what we actually have in Indonesia is and it is our duty to protect its culture,” he hoped.

Kikan admitted that he had doubts when he was offered to become Music Director. However, he dared to learn new things beyond his usual as a band or solo singer.

“At the Sabang Merauke performance, I was also trusted to serve as Music Director. At first, honestly, I doubted my own abilities because I had previously been a Music Director, but the scale was far from the same as this performance,” said Kikan.

This mother of two children had the same experience on a small scale. “The scale was very small at that time but given the trust for a performance of this magnitude, of course, I had doubts about myself, especially since I had to sew a lot of songs from various regions,” he recalls.

With courage and holding on to the trust given to him, Kikan dares to take up this challenge. In fact, Kikan learned many things and added to the repertoire of regional music thanks to this performance.

“As a Music Director then I learned a lot about native Indonesian music, both the musical instruments and the songs. And of course this was very challenging for me, how about for example, talking about one region. What folk songs represent West Java? there are so many choices so then I have to be smart and wise enough to choose which one is the most suitable for this series,” he explained.

Kikan Namara (Photo: Kikan Namara Collection, DI: Raga/VOI)

But there is no pointless challenge, Kikan has learned many valuable lessons after successfully performing the Merauke Sabang Performance.

“Of course it’s not an easy thing for me, and from there I thought, wow, it’s really crazy, yes, from one province there are already so many and from each other they influence each other,” he explained.

Kikan gave an example that the folk songs in West Java, which are close to Central Java, are different. “That’s what makes Indonesia so rich. I’m really grateful to be involved in this project because I learned a lot from this performance,” said Kikan.

When asked about the toughest challenge during his role as Music Director, Kikan answered choosing a song. “I also have to consider factors like not all music critics, not all people who understand art so I have to combine how the music can appear but also of course I want ordinary people to be able to sing right away so I have to consider that,” he said.

The second is the selection of singers. “I also have to choose a singer who participates in the Merauke Sabang Performance,” he explained.

Every singer, according to Kikan, must be able to master folk songs. “Singers have to be flexible, meaning that I can’t just choose a singer who, for example, is good at singing Sumatran songs, but when he has to sing songs from Sulawesi or Kalimantan, he doesn’t feel like it. So I can’t do that. That’s why the singers here are very important, ” said Kikan.

After two problems were encountered, the third problem followed, namely setting the duration. “It’s also back and forth, back and forth. It means getting to the show is going through a lot of debate. My challenge as a Music Director is how to keep people sitting for about an hour without it getting bored or uninteresting for that person, why not? really pay attention to the mood, it varies according to the song,” he explained.

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Kikan Namara (Photo: Kikan Namara Collection, DI: Raga/VOI)

Kikan Namara found talent in himself who had been ‘sleeping’. Starting from trust, carried out with the capital of courage, now Kikan is optimistic to continue his profession as Music Director. However, he admits that he still has a lot to learn.

“So indeed, I dared to take this challenge as a Music Director, one of which I am very grateful for. I learned many things. Thanks to this, I was finally able to see the potential in myself, which I had never seen because I might be too comfortable in that zone. ” he said.

“So when I dared to challenge myself, it turned out that I saw a different side of myself that it was possible, although to be honest, I personally haven’t dared to say I’m a Music Director,” he continued.

Kikan knows that there are many musicians who also double as music directors who are even better. “So I still need more flight hours, I still need a lot more experience for later, maybe someday, God willing, amen, I can be proud that Kikan is the music director,” he hoped.

The collaboration with young dance and fashion artists at the Sabang Merauke Festival fueled his enthusiasm for learning. Apart from creating a sense of love for this nation, Kikan feels that he has a golden opportunity to absorb the learning energy of young artists.

“So my involvement is unique. I had a golden opportunity to see it and it makes me grateful that young artists in Indonesia are extraordinary. As seen, drummer Sandy Dea is still very young but her talent is extraordinary and the dancers who are involved in the Sabang Performance Merauke,” he recalled.

Kikan Namara (Photo: Kikan Namara Collection, DI: Raga/VOI)

During practice, Kikan saw how young talents were still in college or still in high school but had high artistic ability. “I’m sure their dancing skills, their seriousness in regional dance is not just a fad or not just born of a desire to make money but there is love there because the vibe is very different,” he said.

So Kikan sees that I feel very grateful that Indonesia can produce the next generation who really cares and wants to spend extra effort to preserve culture.

“Hopefully my hope in Sabang Merauke can invite our generation, especially those who are far from me, young people today to care and want to contribute to the preservation of Indonesian culture,” Kikan hoped.

Kikan hopes that he can continue to create performances so that his obsessions can be expressed. “To be honest, music shows in Indonesia are still somewhat hindered by the facilities, meaning that most of our performance buildings have standard facilities. Well, I hope that one day I will be trusted to be the Music Director, I want to realize these crazy ideas and of course continue to maintain my love for Indonesia,” he promised.

In addition to learning to become a Music Director, Kikan also feels the need to learn to use digital technology. In line with iForte’s commitment to connecting the internet from Sabang to Merauke, Kikan hopes that the ease of access to enjoy art can awaken a love for Indonesia.

“This digital era has become one. In my opinion, no matter what profession we can’t run away from. But how do we adapt and then work on or take advantage of this digitalization to develop what we are already running or what profession we are taking,” he explained.

Kikan Namara (Photo: Kikan Namara Collection, DI: Raga/VOI)

For Kikan, digitalization has become a part of our lifestyle, so we can survive in the current era. “And I, as an artist, can’t be separated from this phenomenon. For me, I really have to want to learn that, I have to want to learn how to do it so that we don’t miss out on competing with other artists in technology,” he explained.

Good content, for him, must be created with a good process as well. Kikan remains convinced that the best art is one that can be enjoyed by all five senses.

“I personally have great belief that we are endowed with five senses. The function of our senses can never be replaced by anything, meaning that the sensation of watching a live show can never be replaced by watching a show on a screen. Be it on the youtube platform, or other platforms,” he explained.

As sophisticated as technology is, sensory pleasure cannot be digitized. “It will not be replaced. I still have hope there,” explained Kikan.

Kikan remains optimistic because Indonesia has been able to overcome the pandemic. Slowly concerts and various performances can be done freely.

“The art world has certainly become one of the professions affected by the pandemic for the past two years, but Alhamdulillah, it seems that it has bounced back. This cannot be separated from the role of media partners as well, that this positive energy and enthusiasm for this work must be maintained,” he explained.

Learning from the pandemic, Kikan wants to give his best after always waiting for a concert again. “This Sabang Merauke performance is monumental because it was born at a time when the pandemic was about to end. So this is the spirit of preserving culture but also the spirit that we as artists are slowly rising again like that,” he said.

Kikan hopes that all artists work hand in hand to realize what we lost 2 years ago. “Hopefully all can work well together. And of course we also take care of our health, we don’t want anything new, so in general I pray for all professions to rise again, amen,” concluded Kikan Namara.

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