Benny Likumahuwa: Farewell all-round musician

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Benny Likumahuwa. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – The sad news enveloped the Indonesian music world. All-round musician, Benny Likumahuwa has died, at the age of 73, on Tuesday 9 June. His remains were interred in Jombang Public Cemetery in South Tangerang. 

Benny had been suffering from kidney failure for a long time, and was subject to regular dialysis. His health had started to decline, due to his age. 

“My Hero #likefatherlikeson I love you pap!” writes Barry Likumahuwa, his son, who is also a renowned Indonesian musician on social media accounts. 

“Has passed away to the house of Father in Heaven, Mr. B.H. Likumahuwa, at the age of 74 years. On Tuesday, June 9, 2020,” said a message sent by the management of Barry Likumahuwa to reporters. 

Benny Likumahuwa has known and loved music since childhood. As a teenager, he was fond of the percussion instruments and began to seriously study the bongos. 

As an adult, he devoted himself seriously to the bass guitar and began to become familiar with the genre of fusion and jazz music. Being a jazz lover, Benny mastered numerous musical instruments, from clarinet to saxophone and trombone. 

Benny moved to Bandung in 1988 and joined the Cresendo Band. Two years later, he was invited by Bangun Sugito, better known as Gito Rollies to strengthen the band The Rollies. At that time, Benny was among those who polished up the style of The Rolies. 

“The Rollies personnel have a strong will. At the time it was as if I was feeding them until they could catch [music] and appear like that,” Benny said in 2018. 

Benny’s position in The Rollies was as a trombone player. Together with this band, Benny toured Indonesia. He also increasingly understood the world of the music industry. He even had been drawn to join the Polygram music label from the United States to record in Singapore. 

In the ‘70s, Benny made Indonesia famous and played at various events in Southeast Asia. After returning to Indonesia, he was immediately invited to join the group The Jazz Raiders. 

Jack Lesmana also invited Benny to form the band Jack Lesmana Combo. At the end of the ‘70s, he and two reliable pianists, Abadi Soesman from God Bless and Candra Darusman, formed the ABC Trio group. 

Benny also briefly strengthened Ireng Maulana All Stars. He was also a companion for many famous musicians. 

He has performed at many international jazz festivals, ranging from the ASEAN Jazz Festival in Malaysia, the International Dixie Land Festival in Dresden, Germany, to The North Sea Jazz in the Netherlands. In 1996, Benny ventured to form his own band, called Benny Likumahuwa Big Band. 

Benny Likumahuwa also cared deeply about music education in Indonesia. In 1985, together with Jack and Indra Lesmana, he formed the Farabi school which until now continues to graduate competent musicians. 

Goodbye Benny Likumahuwa, play beautiful notes in heaven. (rp)