Fri, 11 Mar 2005


Acehnese Rafly in Jakarta for concert

Evi Mariani The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

As if there were no time to mourn, just days after the tsunami devastated his homeland and swept away his family home, Acehnese musician Rafly took his guitar and serune kale (bamboo flute) and wandered around shelters in Banda Aceh.

His songs, composed in Acehnese, tell a lot about Acehnese culture and social situations in the province, which had suffered years of conflict before the catastrophe struck.

His songs and the way he sang them, in the traditional Acehnese style, moved the Acehnese more than any outsider's music could do.

The displaced people sang along with him as they were familiar with his songs. If the song was a joyful song, they sang with spirit, but if the song was a sad one, together they cried.

"When we entertained people in camps in Banda Aceh, I saw the empty eyes of children fill with joy after Rafly sang the second song," jazz group Krakatau's lead vocalist Nyak "Ubiet" Ina Raseuki said on Wednesday.

The Aceh Kita Foundation -- which has been working with local artists and Acehnese women for two years now, among other social work -- heard about Rafly's initiative and the unique way in which he gave the devastated Acehnese people the spirit to carry on.

"We wanted to support him. So, we decided to use our existing ambulances to transport not only health workers but also Rafly and other artists," one of Aceh Kita's founders, Debra Yatim, added.

"Help from a fellow Acehnese is more meaningful to them as they share a bond," she said.

Rafly said that the Acehnese had cultural values that encouraged them to be happy, to have integrity and to be positive in instances of adversity. He said that his compositions spoke a lot about those values.

Ubiet and noted keyboardist Dwiki Darmawan have agreed to do a charity tour to at least 30 camps in Aceh.

"We have the car, we have the artists. But we need more funds to buy gasoline and other necessities," Debra added.

To raise funds, the foundation will stage a concert featuring Rafly and his 10-strong group, Kande, Dwiki and Ubiet.

There will also be a short-film screening Beudoh Besusare (Rebuilding Our Lives) by independent filmmakers Konfiden and a Saman (traditional Acehnese dance) performance by the Tangan Seribu dance group as well as Acehnese food, Acehnese coffee and crafts for sale.

Tickets are priced at Rp 250,000 (including dinner) and available at the Aceh Kita Foundation's office on Jl. Bojonegoro, Menteng in Central Jakarta. Phone: (6221) 390 1576.

The concert will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Mar. 14 at Erasmus Huis on Jl. Rasuna Said in South Jakarta.