zaterdag 18 oktober 2008

Interreligious entertainment by Emha Ainun Nadjib and his Kiai Kanjeng band

Wednesday 15 October 2008 the group of Indonesian poet, activist and religious pop star Emha Ainun Nadjib was invited at the Dialogue Academy of Rotterdam, Rochussenstraat 120-2, on behalf of the Turkish Organisation Islam en Dialoog (a member of the Fethullah G├╝len movement).

For a fully loaded auditorium a quite diverse programme was presented. The group started with mystical music, mostly in Arabic, the common phrases pf the confession of faith La ilaha illa Allah, the 99 beautiful names of God, alhamdulillah. But then it moved to Javanese. The band had some adapted Javanese gamelan and drums, besides electronic guitar, synthesizer and other modern instruments. They sang in Arabic style, mixed with Indonesian Dangdut elements of gospel music, like the song Stand by me....
There was also some pure entertainment, sung on country melody of Old Macdonald had a horse,
Wat doen we met mijn tante uit Marokko komt als ze komt..
en ze rijdt op twee kamelen als ze komt..
What shall we do with our aunt from Morocco, when she comes..
She will come on two camels, when she comes...

The 14 musicians of the band had an accompanyment in exuberant Dixieland-jazzy style.

Then it turned to a Gospel-style mixed with gamelan-tonen Silent Night or (Malam Kudus half in Indonesian, half in Javanese.
Especially the Surinamese/Javanese among the audience joined in singing with the group.
It was an evening with somtimes crazy contrasts, cross-overs. An evening of Arabic and Western, serious and light entertainment, Indonesian and Javanese. Like the standup comedian Paul de Leeuw and the couple of Gospel music Gert en Hermien brought together.

Emha explained in his opening talk that Indonesian like to burst out in laughter when they hear bad news, a traffic accident, the death of a relative. That is the cultural reaction in misery, the tragic turn of live. So they hope for a better world, turn life into something hopeful and joyful. That was the meaning of this evening. It was a very peculiar but also very meaningful happening of these religious and happy people in secular and somewhat too serious Holland! Matur numum, shukran kathiran, dank je wel Emha and company!

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