Tag Archives: mekar bhuana

Tell me about Balinese traditional singing – Part II

The second category of traditional Balinese singing are ritual verses called Pupuh or Gaguritan, known also by their Javanese names: Macapat or Sekar Alit. Often expressing a moral message, the verses follow rules about how the syllables are sung and … Continue reading

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Tell me about Balinese traditional singing – Part I

You may have noticed that Balinese love to sing to express their emotions – both when they are happy and sad. Recently, a Canadian student at our centre wanted to learn some basic Balinese singing from my wife, so I … Continue reading

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New Permanent Sponsor

Donations mean a lot to Mekar Bhuana as they help our teams of enthusiastic musicians and dancers to embark on another documentation or reconstruction project or activity. These projects are essential to reconstructing missing links in the history of Balinese … Continue reading

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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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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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How do Balinese learn and remember gamelan music?

Balinese gamelan music is seldom notated. Therefore, gamelan musicians almost never learn music from a score as one does in the western tradition. As with a great deal of traditional oriental music, gamelan is learnt by rote, passed on from … Continue reading

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

In Bali, there are in fact around thirty-five different types of gamelan which could be considered rare. Among the very rarely seen or heard is the sweet-sounding seven tone semara pagulingan, a remnant of the court era. According to research, … Continue reading

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