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Profile: Jessy Wenas

Jessy Wenas

(Author of book: "Sejarah & Kebudayaan Minahasa")

Jessy Wenas, a multi talented artist born in Tomohon on 14th April 1939, full name Jehezkiel Robert Wenas, became known as a composer of Indonesian pop songs who was very productive. Among them were tens of songs - for example Mutiara Yang Hilang (1968), Mengapa Tiada Maaf (1969), Diam-diam Jatuh Cinta (1971), Si Jago Mogok, Di Tepi Danau Tondano, and others - that hit the top of the hit parade of Indonesian pop music. The songs that he wrote are spread over approximately 200 records, excluding the ones that afterwards were distributed via audio cassettes.

After high school in Tomohon and Bandung he persued an art study in Departemen Senirupa Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), which then was blocked because of national political transitions in the 1960s due to his activities in a student organization which was known because of its pro-Bung Karno (Sukarno) sentiments. Even more, Jessy who then lived in the house of Ibu Fatmawati, had to experience that one of his songs was used to overthrow President Sukarno, by changing its lyrics.

However, his skill in various arts still provided him work. Jessy redeveloped the design of traditional Bentenan cloth weaving, which is now widely known as the specifically Minahasa motif.

He became active as a writer about culture since he became a journalist in the area of music and cultural arts in the 1970s. Then - over a period of more than the past 20 years, in conjunction with the Lembaga Kesenian Minahasa (Lemkim) Jakarta, Yayasan Kebudayaan Minahasa (YKM) Jakarta, the Kabasaran dance group that he managed himself, and the Institut Seni Budaya Sulawesi Utara together with the revival movement Seni Budaya Sulawesi Utara, an initiative of Benny Mamoto - Jessy started digging into the Minahasa cultural traditions.


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