Suar Agung

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Musical Combat / Mebarung

JEGOG AND THE ART OF MUSICAL COMBAT, OR MEBARUNG

Jegog is not only known for its grand dimensions. It has another unique aspect—a ‘musical combat’ whereby two ‘teams’ play in competition for supremacy. First, one team begins to play, while the members of the other watch till their opponents seem to be reaching their peak—and then the second team starts to play too. This is strategic: they want not so much to overshadow the first team but to break up its rhythm and stride. In response the first must pull back, and eventually the second team too completes its turn, the players near state of exhaustion palpable. The audience then makes its choice as to which has shown itself supreme.

Throughout the mebarung you’ll see the serious intent on each musician’s face, as they push themselves to their physical limit in long bursts of unrelenting percussion, driving themselves as if in a group trance, or experiencing a group high. Their prowess and their power are unforgettable.