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Gamelan Jegog (Fabulous Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

Created in 1912 by Kiyang Geliduh, the gamelan jegog ensembles found only in Jembrana, West Bali are made up of 14 instruments constructed from massive bamboo ‘xylophone’ tubes (measuring three meters in length with 60+cm diameters) that resonate mightily with low-pitched melodic reverberations which may be felt as well as heard.  This indigenous and dramatic form of gamelan features players who must actually sit atop the gigantic instruments in order to strike them effectively with padded mallets.  This type of sonorous gamelan usually accompanies the region’s traditional leko-style dances and may still be seen today in Sangkaragung Village as performed by Bali’s premiere jegog gamelan orchestra, Jegog Suar Agung led by renowned director I Ketut Suwentra.

Gubernur Bali Melayat ke Pekak Jegog (Bali Travel News, Indonesia)

Gubernur Bali Made Mangku Pastika didampingi Kepala Biro Humas dan Protokol Setda Provinsi Bali Dewa Gede Mahendra Putra serta Kepala Dinas Kebudayaan Provinsi Bali Dewa Putu Beratha melayat ke rumah duka alm I Ketut Suwentra Selasa (15/5). I Ketut Suwentra atau yang lebih dikenal dengan Pekak Jegog, adalah maestro Jegog asal Kelurahan Sangkar Agung, Kecamatan

Gamelan Jegog Iringi Palebon Pekak Jegog (Bali Post, Indonesia)

Seniman yang memiliki andil dalam kesenian Jegog asal Desa Sangkaragung, Jembrana, I Ketut Suwentra (Pekak Jegog) kini telah berpulang. Meninggalnya sosok yang dikenal ramah bergaul dan eksentrik ini bukan saja menjadi duka keluarga, namun juga masyarakat Jembrana serta kalangan seniman dalam dan luar negeri.

Japanese, Balinese Artists Celebrate Friendship (The Jakarta Post, Indonesia)

...the stage was also dedicated to several Balinese master performers and troupes, including local guitar legend Ketut Riwin, flute sensation Gus Teja and the godfather of jegog bamboo instruments, Ketut Suwentra.

“We would like to show that Japan and Indonesia have enjoyed a very warm and close relationship for decades and Bali is a testament to that closeness,” Japan Consul General Hirohisa Chiba said.

Jegog Gamelan and Dance in Sangkaragung Village, Negara Jembrana, Bali Indonesia (UC Santa Cruz, California, USA)

Jegog is a gamelan made of large-sized bamboo tubes, which are found in the western part of the island of Bali. Originally it was played as a social activity when people gathered to thatch a roof with straw (called nyucuk). The form was invented around 1912 in the village Sebual, Jembrana by Kiyang Geliduh. Gamelan jegog history is divided into three periods, namely Jegog as practiced by Genjor (1912-1945), then as performed by Suprig (1945-1965), and finally the version done by Jayus (1965-present). Jegog used bamboo, because Jembrana is a vast forested area where lush bamboo grows to great breadth and stature. While bamboo orchestras may have originated in other areas of Indonesia or beyond, in Jembrana they achieved a larger size due to the local ecology. Jembrana citizens also value competition, as is evidenced by their folk games/ sports. This spirit of competition also is carried into jegog, which developed jegog mebarung (jegog competitions). This aesthetic has also caused a jegog version of the local makepung (buffalo races), another important and distinctive recreation of the region. Jegog has developed considerably during the Jayus period, because international performances and collaborations became possible. The art was presented in the Netherlands in the 1960s, and later toured, to Japan, (1970), Germany (1990), France (1998), and the US (1986). There are currently jegog groups in the Netherlands (Tropen Museum), in Germany (led by Martin Ramstedt), and Japan (Gamelan Sekar Sakura) and two in America (Gamelan Sekar Jaya Berkeley and Gamelan Artha Negara of Santa Cruz).

Though they exist on opposite sides of the planet, the connections between Santa Cruz and Bali are wide and deep (Santa Cruz Sentinel, California, USA)

The connections between Bali and Santa Cruz are so entwined that they sometimes result in a sense of kismet. The Friedlanders, for example, used to hire a teenage neighborhood girl to babysit young Sasha. The babysitter had no familiarity or comprehension of all the Balinese art in the Friedlander's home.

That babysitter is now Sarah Artha Negara, a dance instructor at the College of San Mateo, and the wife of I Gede Oka Artha Negara, an accomplished Balinese musician, composer and dancer. Sarah has studied Balinese dance and brought its influences into her own dance, and Gede has brought his expertise in the form to Santa Cruz.

Sarah Friedlander tells the story of seeing a friend in Bali who had noticed that most of the Americans in Bali were either from New York or Santa Cruz.

"I remember him saying, 'Is Santa Cruz the second largest city in the U.S.?'" said Sarah.

Suar Agung Performance (Metropolis Magazine, Japan)

Suar Agung
By: Dan Grunebaum | Jul 29, 2010 | Issue: 853 

Courtesy of Conversation & Company, Ltd.

The complex polyphonies of Balinese gamelan music are renowned in Japan—thanks, in large part, to repeated tours by virtuoso orchestra Suar Agung. One of Bali’s most potent gamelan ensembles, the group has been touring Japan for years, even participating in a concert to highlight the environmental problems facing Mt. Fuji. Formed in 1982, Suar Agung play not the clanging metal instruments that most people identify with gamelan, but the gentler-sounding bamboo instruments of western Bali that produce a type of music known as jegog.

Playing or time (The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)

As I practise again, I Ketut Suwentra, a 57-year-old Balinese master of the jegog, the giant bamboo xylophone, gently chides, "Look at your face, all red hot. Don't think so hard."

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