Guitarist Mohamad “Uki” Kautsar announced Thursday that he has left popular pop-rock band Noah.
He made the announcement through a goodbye letter posted on Instagram, with the caption reading: “Good friends never say goodbye, they simply say ‘see you soon.’”
The post by Uki reminisces about how lead vocalist Nazril “Ariel” Irham asked him to join the band, formerly known as Peterpan, in 1998.
It continued with how the band started from the bottom before entering its most successful years from 2002 to 2006. The group was later faced with its biggest hurdle in 2010 before resurrecting itself in 2012, changing its name to Noah.
Uki also mentioned how Ariel was a loyal and helpful friend who helped him to meet his now-wife.
Peterpan rose to national fame in 2003 with its debut album Taman Langit (Sky Garden) and grew further in prominence with its second album Bintang Di Surga (A Star in Heaven). The album sold 2 million copies in five months after its release in 2004.
In 2006, two of its members, Andika Wirahardja and Hendra Suhendra, left the band, citing musical differences. Peterpan continued with the remaining members: Ariel, Uki, drummer Ilsyah Ryan Reza and bass player Loekman Hakim, with keyboardist David Kurnia Albert joining the band two years later.
In 2011, Ariel was convicted in a sex-tape scandal and was released from prison the following year. The band changed its name to Noah and released a new album to the warm welcome of fans.
In the letter, Uki wrote, “Noah’s success is no coincidence. The four of us worked hard and went through so many sacrifices to get where we are now. But with any sacrifice, there’s always something to let go. I’ve been thinking about this carefully for the past three years. My childhood prayer was to be a successful musician, and I’ve had my share for the last 20 years. Now, part of my hair has turned white, my experiences in life have evolved, and it must be the same with my knowledge. Therefore, my life purpose has changed.”
“I am utterly grateful for everything that has brought me to this point. Today, I separate myself from Noah,” he wrote, thanking his bandmates, record label Musica Studios and its head Indrawati Widjaja and fans of Noah.
Noah released three more albums until 2016, a year after original member Reza resigned from the band in 2015 for religious reasons.
Although Uki has yet to elaborate on his reasons for leaving, speculation is that he wants to go on the hijrah (migration), or that he wants to adopt a more religious way of living.
The departure of artists from their bands for religious reasons is not something new to Indonesian music, both in the mainstream and independent scenes. Alfi Chaniago left iconic band The Upstairs in 2010, while Andri Ashari resigned as the vocalist of indie-pop band Rumahsakit in 2013. Renowned Bandung band Pure Saturday parted ways with its guitarist Aditya Ardinugraha and its drummer Yudistira Ardinugraha in 2015.
Others make the decision to leave the entertainment industry but continue to play music. Sakti Ari Seno left popular band Sheila on 7 in 2006. Since then, he changed his name to Salman Al Jugjawy and has released two religious albums.
As reported by , when asked to comment on Uki’s departure, Ariel said, “We cannot comment on this now. Hopefully we will hold a media gathering on Aug. 14 where we can offer more of an explanation.”
In his goodbye letter, Uki dedicated a section to Ariel: “I’ve been friends with Ariel for 24 years and I learned so much from him. Along the years, never once did I say this to him: Thank you so much, thank you for inviting me along a fascinating life, for teaching me about this tough world and how to rise from a downfall. You are a good, loyal friend and I love you, bro.” (wng)