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PROGRAM NOTES

Shimmering Sounds from Bali: The Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts


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Program

Shimmering Sounds from Bali:
The Gamelan Ensemble of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts

Professional Ensemble of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts at Denpasar (Institut Seni Indonesia, Denpasar)
Head of Delegation: I Gede Arya Sugiartha

Song Track

Jaya Semara (1964)

0:00–4:08

Kebyar Trompong (1925)

4:21‒11:42

Legong Kuntul

12:00–26:26

Taruna Jaya (ca. 1930)

26:49–37:05


Musicians from Bali: I Gede Arya Sugiartha (gangsa), I Ketut Garwa (kendang), I Nyoman Windha (ugal), I Gusti Putu Sudarta (ceng-ceng), I Made Sujendra (gong), I Made Desi Muliartana (kajar)

Musicians from the United States: I Ketut Gede Asnawa (kendang), I Nyoman Suadin (jegogan), I Made Lesmawan (reong and kantil), I Nyoman Saptanyana (gangsa), I Putu Tangkas Adi Hiranmayena (reong and kantil)

This recording was made live in concert on November 2, 2013, as part of Performing Indonesia: A Conference and Festival of Music, Dance, and Drama. The podcast is made possible through support from the Thaw Charitable Trust. Audio preservation and editing of this recording were supported by funds from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

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Notes

Music and Dance with Gamelan Gong Kebyar

The dynamic musical ensemble known as gamelan gong kebyar was developed in the villages of north Bali around 1915. This ensemble, with its heavier and louder xylophones and gong-chimes and its emphasis on fast tempos and dramatic shifts, represented a radical departure from the softer and more delicate sound of the traditional temple gamelan known as gamelan pelegongan. The most influential composer and teacher of the new kebyar style was Gede Manik of Jagaraga village in Kabupaten Buleleng. Even a revered teacher of the older pelegongan tradition, I Lotri of Kutra village, adopted the new style while expanding its repertoire with subtler elements from the old tradition.

Jahya Semara
This music was composed by I Wayan Beratha in 1964 while the composer was performing for a cultural mission to the New York World’s Fair. The composition, in the virtuosic kebyar style, was crafted as a short tour of the entire gamelan ensemble, demonstrating to outsiders the roles and abilities of each part of the orchestra.

Kebyar Trompong
This music and its accompanying choreography are early examples of the kebyar repertoire, composed in 1925 by I Nyoman Maria. Now considered a classical item in the kebyar repertoire, it features a single male dancer who performs an extended solo on the trompong gong-chime. The dancer for this performance was I Putu Dedik Sutyana.

Legong Kuntul
This is a traditional work with music in the elegant and restrained pelegongan style that predates the kebyar innovations. The dancers portray two storks playfully feeding in the rice fields. Legong refers to a genre of classical dance believed to have first developed in the palaces of east Bali around the sixteenth century. Typically performed by young women, legong dancers traditionally began their training at four to six years of age. The dancers for this performance were Kadek Ayu Era Pinatih and A A Istri Inten Pradnyandari.

Taruna Jaya
The music for this dance was composed around 1930 by Pan Wandres and I Gede Manik and was derived from the culture of north Bali (Buleleng). The dance is one of the most energetic and vibrant works in the kebyar tradition. Typically danced by a young woman, the choreography depicts an impetuous young man, whose emotional behavior entices the hearts of women. The dancer for this performance was Ni Wayan Sumantari.

Musicians from Bali: I Gede Arya Sugiartha (gangsa), I Ketut Garwa (kendang), I Nyoman Windha (ugal), I Gusti Putu Sudarta (ceng-ceng), I Made Sujendra (gong), I Made Desi Muliartana (kajar)

Musicians from the United States: I Ketut Gede Asnawa (kendang), I Nyoman Suadin (jegogan), I Made Lesmawan (reong and kantil), I Nyoman Saptanyana (gangsa), I Putu Tangkas Adi Hiranmayena (reong and kantil)

 

Balinese Gamelan and Its Music

Bali is host to numerous types of gamelan made of bamboo, iron, or bronze and ranging in size from duets to ensembles of fifty or more musicians. Ancient ensembles that accompany Balinese Hindu ceremonies coexist alongside contemporary experimental ensembles and hybrid orchestras of gamelan and Western instruments.

Four kinds of ensembles performed at the four-day event, Performing Indonesia: A Conference and Festival of Music, Dance, and Drama (October 31‒November 3, 2013). Gamelan Lila Muni (from the Eastman Conservatory of Music) and the musicians of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI) in Denpasar performed the gamelan gong kebyar, a large five-tone bronze ensemble that emerged in north Bali around 1915. This ensemble, an evolution of older gamelan gong and gamelan semar pelegongan orchestras, took Bali by storm in the first half of the twentieth century. Its dynamic and virtuosic dance and musical style remains the most ubiquitous gamelan on the island.

The gamelan angklung (played by the Bucknell University Gamelan) is a much older four-tone bronze orchestra that is traditionally associated with cremation ceremonies and temple processions, but it has absorbed much influence from the gamelan gong kebyar over the past century. The gamelan semar pegulingan (played by Gamelan Pandan Arum from Los Angeles) is a rare form of seven-tone gamelan that is typically associated with instrumental works historically performed in court and temple settings. These ensembles, their tuning, and their repertoire are often unique to specific regions. For example, Pandan Arum’s ensemble is modeled on the renowned and highly distinct form associated with Kamasan.

The more contemporary gamelan semara dana (played by Gamelan Raga Kusuma from Richmond, Virginia, and by Gamelan Dharma Swara from New York City) was invented by the composer and gong-smith Wayan Beratha in 1986. It combines the orchestration of the gong kebyar with the seven-tone range of the semar pegulingan. Although it was intended as a practical “all-in-one” ensemble to facilitate dance-drama accompaniment, composers soon began creating new and experimental works that exploit the expanded possibilities offered by this new kind of Balinese gamelan.

— Andy McGraw, University of Richmond

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Performers

Professional Ensemble of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts at Denpasar
(Institut Seni Indonesia, Denpasar)

Head of Delegation: I Gede Arya Sugiartha

Musicians from Bali

I Gede Arya Sugiartha (gangsa)
I Ketut Garwa (kendang)
I Nyoman Windha (ugal)
I Gusti Putu Sudarta (ceng-ceng)
I Made Sujendra (gong)
I Made Desi Muliartana (kajar)

Musicians from the United States

I Ketut Gede Asnawa (kendang)
I Nyoman Suadin (jegogan)
I Made Lesmawan (reong and kantil)
I Nyoman Saptanyana (gangsa)
I Putu Tangkas Adi Hiranmayena (reong and kantil)

Dancers from Bali

I Putu Dedik Sutyana
Kadek Ayu Era Pinatih
A A Istri Inten Pradnyandari
Ni Wayan Sumantari

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The Credits

This podcast was coordinated by Michael Wilpers, public programs manager. It was made possible through support from the Thaw Charitable Trust. Audio preservation and editing of this recording were supported by funds from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.

Performing Indonesia: A Conference and Festival of Music, Dance, and Drama was a joint presentation of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution. It was made possible with support from the Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia.

Thanks to the Smithsonian Audio Visual Department for audio recording, SuMo Productions for audio editing, Hutomo Wicasksono for photography, Andy McGraw for assistance with the notes, Nancy Eickel for text editing, Torie Castiello Ketcham for web design, and especially the artists for permission to present this performance as a podcast.

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