Full House for Melbourne-Indonesian Music Night Sonu Tolani and Optimuzt Perform

AIYA with Sonu Tolani and Optimuzt

On Friday 26 February, the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) Victoria hosted an Indonesian music night at Garage Cafe in Carlton. The event begun at 6pm and initially the crowd was small, however as people begun to file in from work or study, the crowd grew. By the time the first performance of the night, arts and cultural group Bhinneka went on stage to perform the Saman dance just before 8pm there was hardly a spare seat in the house.


AIYA Victoria President Clarice Campbell, was blown away by the response of the Indonesian-Australia community with over 100 people coming out to watch a night of Indonesian music featuring Indonesian hip hop artists Sonu Tolani and Optimuzt. The event funded by the Victorian Multicultural Commission aimed “to show the Indonesian community and even people outside of the Indonesian community that there is an Indonesian music scene in Melbourne and Australia,” Clarice said.


A mixture of Indonesians and Australians filled the audience while enjoying a variety of delicious authentic Indonesian meals and drinks on offer at Garage Cafe. One of the highlights was the performance of hip hop artist Sonu Tolani. Sonu who was born in Jakarta moved to Melbourne while at primary school and last year featured at the Wonderful Indonesia Festival. Sonu sees AIYA as an important way for Indonesian and Australian youth interested in each other’s cultures to get to know each other. “AIYA is always doing good things such as helping with programs like Australian Rules footy or pencak silat (martial arts) here in Melbourne.”


The audience was perhaps not as loud as you might expect at a hip hop night, but this did not mean they were not having fun. Winnie Tjahana from Malang who arrived in Melbourne two weeks ago really enjoyed the night. For her the highlight was the mixture of Keroncong music and hip hop performed by Sonu. “I really like the keroncong performance from Sonu Tulani. I think it really reminds me of home,” she said. Meanwhile Nicholas Jackson from Melbourne thought the night was a huge success. “All the performances were great and it was a real showcase of Indonesian music,” he said.


The night ended with Yana Millane and Tazkia Welong performing a range of pop songs from both Indonesia and Australia as the audience sat in front of the stage and sang along. The success of the night was a testament to the hard work of the AIYA Victoria committee and volunteers and the efforts of all the performers and Garage Cafe staff serving delicious food all night.


Tim Flicker

Photo: Steven Tandijaya and Bayun Binantoro