Art, Artist and Aura. Beyond Music.

A hot Saturday evening plus the invisible pins and needles on our legs, neck and hands from the mosquitoes. Reena and I were there for the promise, rather love of music. One that  was to be seen and  heard in front  of the majestic world heritage 8thcentury Prambanan temple complex in JogJakarta, Indonesia.  From outside the gates we could see the majesty of the temples standing like some carved menhirs waiting to sway to Yanni the musician, maybe Yanni the Obelix, carrying the Prambanan with him. All that was to be, yet now right here, we were frustrated with our confused and dazed attendant, who had all but lost our tickets, which was booked online and to be collected locally.


After an hour of emotional roller coaster, we got our tickets and hustled our way thru the gates, thinking we were running late for the show thought to start at 6 pm. As we made our way around, it dawned on us that a Jazz festival was being hosted inside the complex. People seated on the lawns, several stalls and budding artists staging themselves. A music festival we had only seen on TV or read about.  We came to the entrance of our section and were then asked to wait in line until the entry to the stands would be opened. We were glad to make it on time, so we thought, only to go through another and even bigger emotional roller coaster. After 2 and hours of standing on our iron clad legs, counting eternal time, hungry, almost giving up to go back, we were finally seated. We also learnt that we had paid 3 times more for the lowest cost section as we had booked it 3 months earlier, and back then other sections were sold out. Only to see on location, tickets being sold for the forward sections.

After all that bokeh of brain fog, we were in total awe and amazement of the monumental temple structures. Maybe 5 or 6 were visibly lit from the 11  we counted later. The cold yet pristine white light lit bathed the structures which formed a backdrop for the performance stage.  They stood out like something from an Avataar movie scene. Yanni and his team bobbed in and the crowds went crazy.  The music was over the top, the aura, the experience, the emotions that evening rained high. Here are some takeaways from that evening.

And, before you read on, have a look and listen here – Yanni @ Prambanan


  • Create an Aura. The Magnanimity of a dream. The tallest of the temple structures is 47 meters.  Lit up like giant luminescent hand crafted candles (sounds  better than menhirs) in the wind, standing tall, standing pretty and eerily majestic in form.  Music is for people to visualize, to take the mind to distant places, to explore the unknown and dream the impossible. This scene here was in that league. It definitely was the setting that won half our souls over. This was unique to Yanni. He knew the art of staging, the art of bringing the dream to the forefront like none others. That’s what music is supposed to do with our minds. And now we see it. Master craftsman with a master stroke. He teases the audience with this.


  • Your Team. Your People.Throughout the evening, he took care to create and blend much of his music around each of his star musicians. Showcasing each of their talent in a single blend that had perfection of an orchestra, but laced with the distinct spice of a single musician who broke the barrier of sound, elated and egged on by Yanni. He called their name out, turned and pointed towards the chosen one and almost seemed to have an invisible control on their instrument, on their mind. We later learnt from one his prominent musicians, who was on our flight back to Singapore, that most of his crew have been with him for 30-40 years!That’s the hallmark of a leader. Retaining talent, earning loyalty and to bring the best in an individual, yet blend their talent into a team output.


  • The Audience.I have seen many musicians, singers who urge the audience to clap, pump up the audience. Yanni was different. Here’s what he said or to that effect .


Last year, two of my fans took a picture in front of the Prambanan, and sent me a message for my speedy recovery and that they believed in me. This is when I was very sick and had to cancel my concert here. That picture gave me the belief to recover  , belief in myself and today I am here to complete the circle of my healing. People in Indonesia are friendly and have that look in their eyes , always smiling that’s unique.


Indonesia, it’s people and settings, to me is easily a top favorite among all countries I have been to. So I could relate to what was said.



Few days later, I reflected on how that whole evening had unfolded. From the anxiety of getting the tickets and the agony from waiting in a line for close to 3 hours, and the awe and inspiration of the lit Prambanan temple, and the familiar soul stirring music, and meeting the musicians on our plane …. Many a high and low moments stitched by the majesty of “and”, is what made this a landmark experience.


I did not want to mix business in here, but just could not refrain from doing so, when I chanced upon this snippet – “ The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen “ .





Ref: Image thanks to