Tag Archives: bali

What is a Suling?

Suling is the Balinese word for seruling, which means ‘flute’. Made from bamboo, Balinese flutes are always end blown and vary in size. They can be anything from around 20cm to more than a meter long and quite narrow or … Continue reading

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Bali’s Believe It or Not

In Bali, everything is alive. Everything has a soul, so they say. Shrines, statues, even trees and boulders are ornamented with sacred black and white sarongs, as if they are human. Some ‘in the know’ people have suggested to me … Continue reading

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‘Heavy Metal Magic’

Tucked away in the foothills of Mt Agung in the Klungkung Regency is the ancient village of the gamelan smiths – masters of magically charged metal – the archaic art of bronze smithery. The small village known as Tihingan (meaning bamboo) … Continue reading

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Gamelan – the Life-Breath of the Balinese

“Gamelan music and instruments are a fundamental part of the life of a Balinese which is focused around the relationship between people and god, people and nature and between all people. These three concepts of harmonious living are known as … Continue reading

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Which types of Balinese gamelan are rarely seen or heard? Part IV

The list of rarely seen or heard gamelan orchestras in Bali is long and covers many ensembles of all different sizes. Bali is home to the world’s biggest gamelan, termed appropriately ‘gong ageng’ or colloquially known as ‘gong gede’. It … Continue reading

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Which types of Balinese gamelan are rarely seen or heard? Part III

Musical instruments have a long and ancient history in Bali. In the court treatise on Balinese gamelan music, Aji Gurnita, an attempt is made at describing the gamelan orchestras of the era. Interestingly enough, the first musical instrument referred to … Continue reading

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Which types of Balinese gamelan are rarely seen or heard? Part II

Sadly, a large number of Balinese gamelan ensembles are in fact rarely seen or heard. This is generally due to either their limited function, the difficultly of the playing style, or their public exposure. One of the most unique gamelan … Continue reading

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What is legong?

An extremely basic definition of legong is a dance traditionally performed by pre-pubescent girls in the palaces of feudal Bali. The word legong has been interpreted differently by a number of academies and its origins are unclear. One translation is … Continue reading

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What is Rangda?

Thought to be the Balinese dramatic manifestation of the Goddess of the underworld, Durga, Rangda is indeed a fearsome sight. Fiery tongued with bulging bloodshot eyes, she is evil personified. The word Rangda in ancient high Balinese means “widow” and … Continue reading

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Do Balinese have written music?

There are around forty different types of gamelan in Bali, each with its own distinct repertoire called ‘gending or ‘tabuh’. These gending may vary in style and sometimes nomenclature from village to village but generally they are recognizable enough for … Continue reading

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