Category Archives: Performance

How do Balinese know which gamelan orchestra to use for which ceremony?

A couple of treatises called Aji Gurnita and Pra Kempa which date to the 1800s detail a number of the main types of ceremonial gamelan orchestras, explaining their instrumentation and their function.

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At what Age do Children in Bali start learning Gamelan? Part II

As I stated in my last article, many kids in Bali these days learn traditional music simply because their parents want them to.

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Gender Wayang – Bali’s Most Intimate Gamelan Ensemble

If you’ve ever been to a tooth filing ceremony in Bali, you would have heard the music of gamelan gender wayang. Instruments played by either by two or four musicians in pairs, a gender wayang ensemble is Bali’s most intimate gamelan ensemble.

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What is Angklung used for?

Across Bali, there are thousands of bronze angklung groups, perhaps as many as the ubiquitous and incredibly popular gong kebyar that originate in North Bali in the early 20th century.

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What is Barong?

It is unclear where the barong originated, however it is generally accepted that a barong is a physical manifestation of a protective spirit which guards people from evil influences. In Bali, it dates back to ancient, pre-Hindu times when animism … Continue reading

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What is the function and origin of Barong Berutuk?

According to an article in the Bali Post in 2010, the origins of the Barong Berutuk of Terunyan are said to be connected to a megalithic statue that is found in Terunyan’s Pancering Jagat Temple, called Bhatara Datonta. No one … Continue reading

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What is Wayang Wong?

If you are interested in Balinese traditional art-forms, many of you would have heard of wayang kulit: the shadow puppet show; however, the human version of these puppets, called wayang wong, is probably less familiar.

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The ‘Culture’ of the Bali Arts Festival

Every year, after the Bali Arts Festival I get questions from my readers about the way it is (mis)presented. Here are some of my answers: There seems to be little information available about the performers or their art-forms, so I … Continue reading

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Has the presentation of Balinese dance changed much over the last 100 years?

Balinese dances have always been a great source of fascination for visitors to Bali and were used to draw tourist to the island. In fact, in the earlier tourism promotion images right up until the 1970s, often young female dancers … Continue reading

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How have things changed in the performance of Balinese Art-forms?

Whilst on the outset Balinese art-forms may look similar on a ‘stage’, much has changed: both in the performers and in the audience. Starting with a gamelan orchestra that you see in a tourist setting, say a gong kebyar – … Continue reading

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