Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Open House at Wisma Duta with the Abresso Band

I attended the Open House at the Wisma Duta (the residence of the Indonesian Ambassador) on 26 December in Wassenaar. This was an annual celebration of Christmas for Christian Indonesians in the Netherlands, and featured short speeches by and recognition for a number of prominent members of the community; free food; and live music by the Abresso Band from Papua, as well as karaoke Christmas songs sung by locals. The event was held in a couple of tents set up in the Wisma Duta's back yard. A prayer service (which I did not attend) was held in the morning before the reception.

There were many Chinese Indonesians in attendance, some students, and a good number of Indonesian-Dutch couples and their children.

Searching around on line, the Abresso Band seems to be one of Indonesia's most celebrated reggae bands. It was flown in explicitly for this event at the Wisma Duta, though it will be doing one more public gig in Groningen later this week as well.

The band played well (I thought the bass player was particularly good) but was hardly 'hard core' reggae and happily played Christmas numbers (some accompanying local singers), poco-poco and the like.

Also announced was the name of the new ambassador to Den Haag, Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, best known as the investigator charged with looking into the death of human rights activist Munir in the Netherlands in 2004. In interviews, Retno Marsudi talks about herself as a true Javanese who listens to gamelan music to unwind. Let's hope she also supports Javanese arts when Ambassador.

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