Jakarta. Ballad singer Ebiet G. Ade will host a concert at the Jakarta Theater in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta, on Wednesday (06/09).
The concert titled "Renungan Cinta Untuk Indonesia Damai" ("Reflection of Love for a Peaceful Indonesia") seeks to convey the message that love is the answer to all the conflict in society.
"Ebiet is one of Indonesia's legendary singers whose songs' messages remind us that love is the answer to everything," Evita B. Supriyanto, chief executive of concert organizer Indonesia Music Network, said at a press conference at FX Sudirman in Senayan, South Jakarta, on Tuesday.
The singer himself considers the theme light and universal.
"There is no big scheme behind this theme. We hope that everyone can create a peaceful atmosphere. Every element of society has the potential to be a peacemaker," Ebiet said.
He will sing around 15 songs from his albums, three of which are songs that have never been performed before. The entire performance will last up to two hours.
Ebiet will also collaborate with violinist Hendri Lamiri, who has shared stages with other high-profile names such as Erwin Gutawa, Chrisye, Kla Project and Mus Mujiono.
Another addition is a video of Muslim cleric Mustofa "Gus Mus" Bisri reading poetry about social issues. Ebiet initially wanted Gus Mus to do the poetry reading live, but the cleric is unfortunately unable to attend the concert.
"I think it was just my instinct to pick Gus Mus, because of his serene personality," said the singer, who is best friends with notable artists such as poet and cultural critic Emha "Cak Nun" Ainun Nadjib, short-story writer Eko Tunas and the late journalist E. H. Kartanegara.
The 63-year-old singer is known to many for his deep, often heart-rending lyrics of love and social commentary, as well as no-frills performances where he would usually just sit and sing while playing an acoustic guitar.
Ebiet admits that it is not uncommon to find concert organizers backing down after offering to invite him because of his idealism. He always refuses to have extravagant elements, such as backup dancers.
However, the upcoming concert will be presented in such a way that there is more interaction with the audience. Besides more dialog with the audience, Ebiet's "static" show will also be supported by a screen showing video content.
Nevertheless, he does not want to go overboard with the new concept, so he will make sure his trademark minimalism is there because he always wants to portray his own personality when performing.
"A minimalistic concept is what I want. I always favor something simple but soul-deep," the singer said.
He added that simplicity is the key principle in his life as a whole, including how he builds and maintains his career.
Oleg Sancha Bachtiar, the concert's creative director, said it is a challenge to design a concert that is livelier than Ebiet's usual, but remains authentic.
Oleg had no problem directing rather lavish and dynamic performances by the likes of Anggun, Noah and Glenn Fredly, but this one is tricky.
"The design will support Ebiet's acoustic style, as well as his honesty and plainness. I have to make sure that elements such as lighting don't come off as glamorous," Oleg said.
He added that the important thing is to make sure the gimmicks do not distract the audience but amplify the poeticness of Ebiet's songs.
Around 70 percent of the concert tickets, which went on sale prior to the press conference, have already been sold, which show strong interest in Ebiet's performance.
Tickets are available at konserega.indonesiamusicnetwork.com, with prices starting from Rp 180,000 ($13.50).