New Zealand Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

A Young Garuda/Kiwi Guitarist

Jonas Julio performs at the 2001 Java Jazz Festival

Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 21 July 1985, since childhood, Jonas has had a passion for music and natural ability to communicate his emotions and stories through music. At the age of six, Jonas started his musical journey by learning piano, where he was taught the basic foundations of music. In 1997, he and his family moved to Auckland, New Zealand, where Jonas adapted to the different musical surroundings of his new environment. During this time, he discovered music was particularly themed around guitar, where he found his passion. Jonas then began his transition from the piano to the guitar and continued his musical journey, undertaking formal education in music, both at the Music and Audio Institute New Zealand (MAINZ), where he gained a Diploma, and at Victoria University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance.

During his high school and university years, Jonas was invited to play with some of the local talents, such as MO’Reece, who opened for George Benson during his NZ tour in 2004. Jonas then continued playing with prestigious NZ artists, such as The Rodger Fox Big Band, who played alongside various US artists, such as Robben Ford, Diane Shurr, Michael Brecker, Joe Beck and Randy Crawford. Jonas excelled throughout his years at Jazz School, especially with the disciplines of Jazz Performance and ability to interpret such pieces and add his feel. After his graduation in 2008, Jonas was fast tracked into the “4 Front School of Guitar”, where he was employed as a tutor. His influence and unique style of contemporary jazz, new jazz, funk, fusion, and Latin, soon caught the eye of some of NZ’s top Jazz artists and groups, such as the “Grand Central Band”, where he plays guitar alongside them at top NZ nightspots and well known Jazz festivals around NZ, such as the Mission Bay and Tauranga Jazz Festivals.

In early 2010, Jonas was invited by “Soul Paua” (who were nominated for a NZ Music Award for best Cultural Album) to direct their stage performance and music on their North American tour, where they played up to 20 successful shows at the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 and surrounding festivals. Jonas has continued his steady rise within NZ’s music scene, often appearing on the “Good Morning Show”, televised nation wide on NZ’s national channels. Jonas had the chance to work and perform with New Zealand icon and legendary singer, Jordan Luck, front man and founder of “The Exponents” and toured NZ with the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and its creator Richard O’Brien. Jonas has recently been invited to feature at this year’s Tauranga Jazz Festival and will help produce and arrange Soul Paua’s much-anticipated second album and arrange and produce MO’Reece’s fourth single.

A true testament of his humble character, Jonas volunteers his services and skills to community projects and is the music director at his local church, where he plays piano and sings in the choir. Jonas has also recently written and composed his own original pieces, which is an expression of some of his experiences growing up within two countries, bringing a fresh uniqueness and combines many elements of jazz, blues, rock and R’n’B together.

Recently, Jonas had the chance to return to his hometown Jakarta to perform at the 2011 Java Jazz Festival with NZ jazz ensemble Nairobi Trio. Their participation in this year’s Java Jazz was part of the New Zealand Embassy’s public diplomacy work in Indonesia. The New Zealand Government is keen to enhance the relations between the two countries through a range of activities, including cultural programmes.

Jonas is a good example of how a talent that is honed with best quality education can produce a great musician and entertainer. A good singer himself, Jonas is able to play the guitar with impressive technique and deep emotion. Every time he hits a note, he does it with highly-skilled Kiwi technique and with deep Garuda passion and emotion, thereby allowing his guitar to do most of the singing and spell binding the audience, as he did at the 2001 Java Jazz. The Indonesian audience could not wait to see more of him in action in the Indonesia.


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