In 1978, Indra recorded and released his debut album, Ayahku Sahabatku (“My Daddy, My Best Friend”). In the same year, Indra and his beloved father had the opportunity to perform in the ASEAN Trade Fair in Australia. On the advice of the senior Lesmana, he took the entry test to the New South Wales Conservatory School of Music in Sydney. He was accepted. With the help of the Australian Embassy, he earned a full scholarship for his studies – and the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs even issued a special permit to allow his family to stay in Australia and care for him.
He was just that good, even at college age.
Australia – and America
In Australia, Indra learned technique from Don Burrows, Roger Frampton, and Paul Mc Namara. His musical career bloomed there, especially when he collaborated with Australian great jazz bands like The Basement and Soup Plus. He participated in the Manly Jazz Festival every year until 1985. During his gigs in “Kangaroo Country”, Indra had the luck to meet world class jazz musicians Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Mark Murphy, David Baker and Terumasa Hino, and to perform with them.
Together with his father, Karim Suweileh, and James Morrison, Indra created the “Jack and Indra Lesmana Quartet”. They released their album “Children of Fantasy” in 1981, when they were visiting Indonesia. On his return to Australia, Indra and Jack Lesmana created a new Latin-jazz fusion band with Steve Brien, Dale Barlow, Tony Thijssen and Harry Rivers. With this new band, they visited Indonesia in August 1982 and staged a tour in 13 cities.
Indra further developed his fusion jazz by forming a new band, Nebula, with Steve Hunter, Andy Evans, Ken James, Vince Genova and Carlinhos Gonzalves in 1982. Their debut album, No Standing, contains four original works by Indra (“No Standing”, “The First”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “‘Tis Time to Part”) and one by Steve Hunter (“Samba for ET”).
In 1983, Indra joined Sandy Evans, Tony Buck and Steve Elphick to form their jazz modern band, Women and Children First, and recorded their debut album in the same year.
His album Tragedi (“Tragedy”) (1984) was his first stint as a sound engineer. In 1998, he debuted as a producer, by producing Java Jazz Sabda Prana (“Dictates of the Soul”) album. Zebra Records, an industrial jazz recording subsidiary of MCA Records, discovered Indra’s talent and agreed to release No Standing as his solo album. The deal was made in 1984, and the album was released in the USA the same year.