Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Perfect Assad Guitar Duo

A short text message can do the selling. It was because of the text message landed in my hand phone a few days back, I was inside Usmar Ismail Hall on Wednesday evening, November 21, 2007, with Dewi. We were curious of what the Assad Guitar Duo could do to entertain our eyes and ears. Maybe to our souls as well.

The tickets were not cheap even though it was supported by big names such as MedcoEnergi. I had to dig deep to buy the cheapest one at Rp.500,000 each. Maybe because of the high price tag, or maybe Jakartans prefer to go somewhere else rather than enjoying such an expensive music, there were only a little over 100 people in the room.

The concert was also supported by MetroTV, showBiz news, OChannel, Media Indonesia, Jakarta Java Kini, and Warta Kota. As the duo were born in Brazil, Embassy of Brazil was one of the co-sponsors. Sergio, however, is now based in Chicago whilst Odair is based in Brussels.

At about 8 p.m. the entrance door was opened. We entered the nice looking well maintained hall, took seats at row D12-13, and I started preparing my weapons to shoot the show. It's good that there was no unnecessary speech, thanks to the wise Ambassador. There was only a brief opening speech from the organizer, and a few seconds later the brothers entered the room, took seats, and started producing quality sounds with their fingers and guitars.

I didn't know any of the songs they performed, to be honest. According to the program book, however, it was started with Rigaudon, Menuet, Le rappel des oiseaux, composed by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). They used guitar accoustics without using any type of sound system. Then came compositions of Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) and Heitor Villa Lobos( 1887-1959).

The best compositions, to my ears and soul, were Eterna and Tahhiyya li Ossoulina (Hommage a nos racines), composed by Sergio Assad himself, right before we had a 20 minutes break.

There is no doubt that the two brothers, Sergio and Odair Assad, are true guitar maestros. If there's a higher level of expertise, I would easily give the honor to them. The younger Assad was fantastic. His left fingers were restless, pressed almost all the guitar grips until probably the area below the grips, whilst his right fingers were dancing like machines with very high precision.

At the end of the show, the two brothers gave extra two compositions, one of them was the one where the brothers played together using only one guitar. It was a perfect concert, no doubt. I wish I bought their CD, especially the one containing my favorite composition. I was probably too stingy to spend Rp.250,000 to buy a single CD.

Some photos to enjoy.