Blindfolded Indonesian maestro plays piano for 6 hours in Dubai

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Jefri Setiawan (middle) with Indonesian Consul General Candra Negara and other officials at the Consulate General of Indonesia in Dubai. John Varughese / Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Support is a sure shot-in-the-arm as each is uniquely endowed with at least one talent and this has been proved when a 16-year-old Indonesian who dreams of becoming a medical doctor someday, bagged two international distinctions in Dubai, for playing the piano blindfolded for six hours.

The visiting lad is Jefri Setiawan who learnt to feel – and thus the rhythmic closing of his eyes – for every ting-tong of every ebony-and-ivory, singly of collectively pressed on the percussion instrument. In his younger years, he underwent episodes of drowsiness while enjoying his God-given gift for an average of five hours after his morning classes in Jakarta.

“No one has achieved that till now. Jefri is definitely amazing. His memory power of playing 170 songs (with one only brief stop to sip room temperature water from a bottle his father, Jokomanis, brought to him), for six hours on the piano is one for the books.”

Comment was from Universal Records Forum (URF) Jury Sarans KK. He was with British World Records-UK (BWR-UK) Representative Muhammed Arif. They witnessed the world record exploit of Setiawan who enthralled guests with his talent from approximately 11 a.m. to a little over 5 p.m. at the Social Hall of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia on Wednesday.

With PAWS-Mumbai, Martial Arts Authority of India, Official World Record, Georgian Records Federation and World Martial Arts Games as “global partners,” URF, with a network in the UAE, USA, India, and Kenya, was formed in 2014 by “world record holders” such as Dr. Sari Changaramkumarath, UAE coordinator, “to encourage every record holder and give them the deserved platform to showcase their talent, stamina, endurance and achievement in front of the world.”

BWR-UK “encourages, supports, promotes,” and certifies individual peoples and entities or communities with discovered or latent talents who “make or break records irrespective of religions and geographical boundaries.”

The URF “Certificate 2022-Memorizong Songs in Sequence Order While Playing Piano Non Stop Blindfolded For the Longest Time-Record” reads: “Jefri Setiawan, 16 years old from Indonesia, has successfully achieved the record for memorizing songs in sequence order, while playing piano for six hours blindfolded for the longest time in the world, at the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Dubai Villa No. 1, Street No. 2A, Al Mina Road-Dubai-United Arab Emirates on 18th May 2022.”

The BWR-UK Certificate reiterates the URF award. Arif pointed out Setiawan’s capability to play the piano “non-stop,” shifting from one piece to another, with ease and comfort.

Just imagine the audience getting hooked with Setiawan’s interpretations of not only Indonesian songs-as his repertoire also included his nine musical compositions-but also classics such as Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” every Grade/Level Three piano student must excellently deliver; the emotion-evoking Anime “Sangeki No Kioku” by Kakijima Shinji and “A Thousand Years” from the romance-fantasy “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2; the bridging of Frank Sinatra’s version of the “Love Story,” theme song from the blockbuster 1970 romantic movie of the same title to the the “Love Story” penned by Taylor Swift; and even the Christian worship songs “Amazing Grace” by John Newton and “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban.

Setiawan who requested his parents to buy him a “small keyboard” to start with, when he saw a a child of his age perform at a “music centre” in Semarang, Central Java, later on said that he wants to experiment with all music genres. Albeit, he remains faithful with “jazz, pop and ballad.”

The eldest among three is the only one who has demonstrated the flair and faculty for music, according to Jokomanis: “His teacher at the (school of music of renowned Indonesian composer) Purwa Caraca told me that his fingers have the eyes for the notes and music itself.”

“I believe that supporting our children ‘s interests that would help improve their character and outlook, is one love we could give them. We appreciate so much the Government of Jakarta, the Universitas Gunadarma management particularly Chancellor Professor/Doctor E.S. Margianti, and Consul General (in Dubai and the Northern Emirates) Candra (Negara) for our being here in Dubai for this quest,” said Jokomanis.

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