|Ballet and Gamelan Orchestra from the village of Sebatu|
Dances and dramatic performances form an important part of nearly every ritual on Bali. They are seen as an integral part of Balinese religion and culture and are employed as an expression of one’s devotion to the gods (ngayah) as well as a means of instilling centuries-old values in each new generation of Balinese, through the medium of movement, music and words.
The Traditional Orchestra or Gamelan
The word “gamelan” is simply the Balinese word for “orchestra,” and there are many types of orchestras in Bali, just as there are everywhere else. Gamelan is a generic term, and there are a dozen or more completely different kinds of ensembles. That most commonly seen by visitors is called a gamelan gong and consists of from 25 to 50 men, most of them seated on the floor or on low stools, who play a group of xylophone – like instruments, assorted sizes of tuned gongs hanging in frames, some smaller single percussion instruments resembling inverted pot or cymbals, and two cylindrical, double-ended drums (kendang). These drums are actually at the heart of the orchestra one of which, the male, is slightly smaller than the other, the female. The drummers control the tempo of the piece of music. Sometimes using their hands, at other times a round-headed stick.
The small hand cymbals (cengceng) accent the faster warlike music. Helping to keep the orchestra together is the steady beat of the kempli, a single small gong struck with a stick. The rich slow tones of the trompong, a set of kettles like the reyong but played by one man, occur in certain orchestral pieces and in the Kebyar dance. Other instruments that accompany particular dances or drama performances include bamboo xylophones (rindik), flutes (suling) and the two – stringed violin (rebab).
Sebatu is an isolated mountain village. It boasts Gunung Kawi Temple-popularly called holy spring temple-
for its sacred fresh water springs, where every afternoon dozens of locals come to cleanse themselves physically and spiritually in its holy water. The shrine surrounded by the spring water is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the goddess of lakes and waters. Sebatu (derived from sauh batu means slippery stones) temple was built in 14th century during the great battles against Bali’s legendary king Mayadenawa who fell in the village due its slippery stones. The village is also home to excellent carvers, musician and dancers. The main carvings produced here are brightly painted woods (kayu pulasan) made of Abessia (balsa) wood and Garuda mythological bird statues that are favourites of the Indonesians.
Ballet and Gamelan Orchestra from the village of Sebatu
Salle Pleyel Web Site
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