Yarra Aditya: “Prologue” – Creating music in the purest sense

The difference between instrumental and vocal music, is that the latter will usually tie your mindset down to its lyrical theme. Your mind will be drawn into a corridor, where you will be induced to follow a flow of guided thoughts until its conclusion. Not being tied down to words, instrumental music, more often than not, possesses a wider, almost unlimited narratory perspective. You have a title, and the music to reflect on and expand, in your imaginary vision, and no defined lyrical storyline to limit the emotive and psychological tangents the instrumental passages may induce you to pursue. It is between these two creative pockets that Bernadette Yarra Aditya blends her composing and performance nirvana. Bernadette was born in Bandung, Indonesia. She started to take music lesson in her teenage years. In the early years, her brother influenced her with metal tunes, since he was a guitarist in 90’s metal band. Throughout the following years she joined various groups playing diverse genres of music. This helped strengthen, and amplify her musical character and style.

Bernadette eventually released an album, entitled “Prologue”, under a shortened form of her name – Yarra Aditya. For the release, she received crowdfunding and help from around the world, including from renowned actor Holt McCallany. Creating music in the purest sense, is piecing together notes which are born in the soul, take their first steps in the heart, and are given flight through a musical instrument.

Nowhere is that more evident than with the opening title track “Prologue”, which is dominated by a dancing piano lines and deep thick resonating strings. It is the perfect calling card for Yarra Aditya’s composing and arranging talents.

The opening track seamlessly transitions into “Now Alone”, which features Jalu Rohanda on bass and Sam El Nino on lead vocals. Lilting and poignant in its execution, the song once again brings forth the absolute soul-stirring power of the strings and the propulsive energy of the piano.

The changing tempo and mood is further enhanced by the poetic lyrics written by Endras Septiano. “Paphos of Byzantine”, is inspired by the Byzantium history which Yarra Aditya says has fascinated her for many years. In Byzantium, successor to the Roman Empire and the ancient Greek culture, music was an eminent domain.

Byzantium music contained elements from the Jewish, Syrian, Palestinian and Roman culture, as well as from the music tradition of the ancient Greeks. Hence this track has a strong Middle-Eastern flavor in both its melodic and rhythmic motifs. Sound designing, drum arrangement and mixing was done by Eful, Dice Midyanti and Dadi Victorius.

“Democracy Demarcation” is the second of the two vocal tracks and features lyrics by Endras Septiano and lead vocals by Bambang Ellba, backed by himself, and Haezar Yarra JK. This track though organic and acoustic sounding plays out like an epic rock opera, with a dynamic musical arrangement and soaring vocals which climb to euphoric levels of excitement.

A multi-instrumentalist – the keyboards and the cello are Yarra Aditya’s favorite instruments and are extensively used in this recording to great effect. Their application reaches an exceptionally highpoint on the surreal “Metanoia”, dedicated to Yarra’s husband, Gumilar Aditya. It is calm and offers music for deep reflection and gratitude. It is wondrous for both the ears and the soul.

“Tarrasque and St. Martha”, which contains excerpts of Bela Bartok’s Mikrokosmos Vol.111 N.86. I suspect that this spirited and complex musical piece of ever-changing rhythms, is based on the religious story of Saint Martha and the Tarasque which has been recognized by UNESCO and placed on the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

“Prologue” is full of wonderful compositions by Yarra Aditya. Throughout it, I’ve found in each piece the same delightful aspect to her composing. Yarra creates an entertaining theme for each piece, and then explores that theme with interesting variations and increasing complexity as the music progresses.

This style of composing completely meshes with my tastes, and I find myself fascinated by each melody. Yarra Aditya’s arrangements mesh the instrumental accompaniments and vocals beautifully – to memorable and sometimes stunning effect.


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