Indie quartet Payung Teduh's Singapore debut

Indonesian indie quartet Payung Teduh's (from left) Comi Aziz Kariko, Mohammad Istiqamah Djamad, Alejandro Saksakame and Ivan Penwyn.
Indonesian indie quartet Payung Teduh's (from left) Comi Aziz Kariko, Mohammad Istiqamah Djamad, Alejandro Saksakame and Ivan Penwyn.PHOTO: ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

Despite the breezy nature of their songs - an amalgam of folk, jazz and traditional keroncong music - Indonesian indie quartet Payung Teduh attract a fervent fan following back home.

Double-bass player Comi Aziz Kariko, 33, recalls a particularly harrowing experience at a concert in Makassar, Sulawesi, about three years ago.

"The venue was already crowded, but people were climbing over the walls trying to get in and the security was trying to drive them back with big, thick bamboo poles," he says in a telephone interview ahead of their first performance in Singapore at the Esplanade Recital Studio on July 22. "The chaos didn't end after we started playing. The fans tried to push the fence down and the police had to fire a warning shot to calm them down."

Their fans' boisterous nature contrasts with the band's beginnings and their name, which roughly translates to "an umbrella that gives shade".

Comi started the band with singer Mohammad Istiqamah Djamad, 33, in 2007, when they were students at University of Indonesia. They jammed and played music at the meadow near the school's cafeteria.

"We rehearsed under the shade of big umbrellas in the field. A friend saw us and came up with the name Payung Teduh. We liked it because we wanted a name that gives a sense of serenity."


The duo were later joined by drummer Alejandro Saksakame, 33, also known as Cito, and guitarlele player Ivan Penwyn, 32.

They started out writing songs for theatre productions put on by the university's drama club and eventually released their self-titled debut album in 2010. Sophomore album Dunia Batas came out two years later.

In the last few years, the band have played all over Indonesia and regionally, including Japan.

The unique quality of their music is a result of the members coming from diverse music backgrounds. Comi, for example, started out playing heavy genres such as black metal and hardcore, while Cito is into progressive rock. Their music, adds Comi, is constantly evolving.

Their soon-to-be-released third album, he says, will utilise more electric instruments.

He says that their Esplanade set will be one of their most extensive live shows to date. "Besides the four of us, we are going to have an orchestra made up of a string section and a brass section. It's going to be quite a different experience for us, the sound is going to be huge."

Eddino Abdul Hadi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2017, with the headline 'Indie quartet's Singapore debut'. Print Edition | Subscribe