Tales Episode 07: Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah

As some of you may recall from last months’ episode, in October and November, I traveled to the far east with the Michael Franks’ band. While there, I recorded a marvelous December episode with bassist Kengo Nakamura. I finished my tour dates in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, then traveled further south and landed in Jakarta, Indonesia.

It has been 4 years since my last visit to Indonesia. In 2009 I was invited by my friend Deviana Daudsjah to perform as part of her band that included two of her graduate students from Institut Musik Daya Indonesia. It was a special performance with dignitaries and political leaders. We had special Javanese clothing designed for us to wear as part of our participation in the opening ceremony of the 2009 Java Jazz Festival. We also played a concert on the closing day of the festival. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime, unfortunately I contracted a serious stomach virus on the first day and all I could remember was how awful I felt the whole time I was there.

This time I was determined to be healthy, so I came prepared. And it was a good thing too, because as soon as I arrived, I never stopped, except for the one day we took a break and traveled to central Java where we visited the oldest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur. Most of the time I was engaged in back to back Master Classes and private students lessons. In between the hectic school schedule, I managed to do a fundraiser concert for artists with Rheumatoid Arthritis and a guest appearance with Dr. Tompi and the Professor, the professor being Deviana. During all this activity, I was beginning to wonder if we would ever have the time to sit and record the show. Our opportunity did come the day before I was scheduled to leave and return to NYC. I recalled this vague feeling as we sat down, a flashback to the times when we would sit at the kitchen table in the apartment in Basil, Switzerland. Early in the morning hours after being up all night, we’d talked lazily about everything that the young in those days talked about. Yes, I was prepared for the physical endurance of the trip, but I was not prepared for the emotional and life changing events that occurred over the next two weeks.

Even though I worked hard during my visit there, my excitement and expansive feeling was a great motivator for me, because after all these years I was able to record a show with my dear, long time friend of 30 years, Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah. I finally had the opportunity to tell people about an exceptional woman of extraordinary talent, fearlessness, focus and vision. An original pioneer. Someone who had the courage to act upon what she believed in and the discipline to keep it going. A compassionate human being who founded a school where a part of its curriculum was designed to bring its students to the awareness of life and all of the challenges that go along with it. Highlighting the humanistic spirit of valuing each individual and the necessary understanding that all of life, people, animals, the environment are interconnected, was something not seen in many music schools, if ever. I was so impressed by her school, the students, teachers and my trip, that the next several postings of Kind of Blog are dedicated to documenting my marvelous experience.

“You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.”
Aung San Suu Kyi

About Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah

Born in Indonesia, Deviana spent most of her life living abroad, Japan, Thailand, Switzerland and Germany. Considered as one of the best talents the world currently possesses, Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah has spent a great deal of her life abroad (36 years), particularly in Germany and Switzerland, to embark on the music world as an artist with several record albums, pianist, vocalist, arranger, composer, conductor, professor and music educator. Tjut Nyak Deviana studied at the Musikhochschule Freiburg Germany, earns a Bachelor Degree in Classical Piano Performance & Composition, Master Degree in Jazz Vocal and Doctorate Degree in Music Education.

Between 1990 – 1995 Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah was the Artistic Director and Head of Examination Board for Master Degree of Jazz & Rockschule Freiburg Germany. At the same time active as Professor for Piano, Vocals, Ear Training, Improvisation, Ensemble, Choir and member of Master Degree Examination Board at the Music Academy Basel Switzerland. Together with the faculty of Jazz & Rockschule Freiburg – Germany, she designed a curriculum for modern Music based on classical discipline and modern vocal study for Music Academy Basel (Jazz Department), validated by German and Swiss Governments and SMPV (Association of Swiss Music Educators). She was also lending her multi-range skills by being a vocal coach, musical actress, music composer and music director at the Basel National Theatre Swiss, from 1990 to 1998.

Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah returned to Indonesia in early 2000 and founded Institut Musik Daya Indonesia in 2001. She received the prestigious National Citra Kartini Award in 2005 from Indonesian Minister of Women Empowerment for her contribution in Music Education.

Currently Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah is a member of National Music Consortium, member of Indonesian Association of Performing Arts Educators & Practitioners (PRASASTI Gelar Seni) and Chair of National Certification Institute for Music Competencies (LSK Musik) in cooperation with Indonesian Ministry of Education.

Tales from the Jazzside