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About

Jegog Suar Agung

Suar Agung is credited with promoting the rebirth of bamboo music and has gained a reputation as a leading contributor to the genre in their activities of preserving, presenting and teaching rare forms of bamboo music nationally and  internationally. They have recorded several CDs and VCDs, and appeared in a 1998 documentary film about Zakir Hussain and his exploration of rhythmic ensembles throughout the world, titled "Zakir and His Friends".

I Gede Oka Artha Negara - Artistic Director

I Gede Oka Artha Negara is the first born child of I Ketut Suwentra and Anak Agung Sri Tirtawati. His given last name "Artha Negara" translates to "National Treasure" or "Jewel of Negara." Following in his fathers footsteps, he is an accomplished composer, choreographer, dancer, and musician. He began studying Balinese performing arts as a child in West Bali in the village of Sangkaragung, Negara, under the tutelage of his father, I Ketut Suwentra. Oka also credits his step-mother, Makita Kazuko, for encouraging his talents and arranging for him to study with many of the best music and dance instructors in Bali. He later continued his studies at ISI (Bali's National Academy of the Arts), where he specialized in composition and bamboo music. 

For many years, Oka worked alongside his father as Associate Director of Suar Agung. Oka has led and performed with the group in prominent festivals throughout Indonesia and abroad - including the International Gamelan Festival in Amsterdam, opening for the World Cup in France (2008), and many tours to Japan. In 2010 he was invited by the University of California, Berkeley and Gamelan Sekar Jaya to be a guest artist for six months in the United States. While in the US, he met his wife settled in Santa Cruz, California were he founded the performance group, Gamelan Artha Negara, and attended the University of California, Santa Cruz obtaining a Masters Degree in Theater Arts. 

Mr.Artha Negara considers it his mission to spread appreciation and knowledge of jegog music around the globe. 

I Ketut Suwentra - Founder

Jegog Suar Agung was founded by I Ketut Suwentra (12/12/1948-5/10/2018) aka Pekak Jegog (The Grandfather of Jegog). Mr.Suwentra was born to rice farmers and raised in Sangkar Agung Village in the city of Negara located in the Jembrana region of Bali, Indonesia. Mr.Suwentra innovated Jegog Performances by adding legs onto the instruments, choreographing original dances, and collaborating with other international artists such as Kodo, Sho Seki, and Zakir Hussain.

Jegog Suar Agung was often invited to perform abroad in places such as Japan, France, Germany, and Holland. Mr.Suwentra was a Bali national treasure. He was sought out for instruction by many foreigners including University professors and students from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore, Nagoya College of Music in Japan, the University of California San Diego.

Mr. Suwentra’s knowledge about instruments, his performance style, and enthusiasm for performing arts have had a great influence on many. His life was completely dedicated to the arts and his family. "You have to be happy" is what Mr.Suwentra always told others. He believed the "taksu" or "Power" of the Jegog was very healing for people and that this traditional music of his people must be preserved and shared. The vibration of the jegog is very strongly felt in the body, especially from the giant base instruments. Mr.Suwentra would often invite audience members to sit bellow the instruments so they could be bathed in their vibrations. We are all vibrational beings, energy shifts, but lives on forever in various forms. In this sense, we know that Mr.Suwentra's spirit is still here with us and through those his compositions and recordings, his legacy will continue.

 

I Nyoman Kazuko Makita - Co-Founder & Manager

I Nyoman Kazuko Makita is manager of Suar Agung Jegog Group, she was born in Tokyo Japan on 26 September 1946. 

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