Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bali again

Some time back we went to a concert in Sydney of the Indonesian National Orchestra. The Orchestra is headed by the composer Franki Raden, who has taken on the almost impossible task of creating a music out of the diverse islands of Indonesia. I do think he has managed to do what  he has done without homogenizing the forces he is dealing with, and yes it is still a work in progress.

Indonesia i think is a brave country to try in general the combining of all these different islands into one nation. If the world did become one, hopefully not under the banking interest, but in the interest of more humanitarian cooperation, it might be a good testing ground. But at this concert they had a raffle and right before they picked i turned to my wife who had entered and said' i guess we are going to Bali again" and sure enough they called her name although she wasn't sure at first.

We met Franki Raden for the first time unrelated to this during intermission and found out about the festival he was putting together in Bali IMEX [Indonesian Music Expo] so we both felt it was some sign to go there at that time. As politics is what it is , there was pressure for the gov't sponsors to put on many acts they thought fit and it was probably the last night that best represented Raden's vision. There was a group from Sulawesi that performed and after they warmed up, one realized that one was dealing with ritual more than just music. It was over powering. Greg Schiemer composed a work for swinging i phones holding sustain pitches that seem to fit in an uncanny way and this group joined him and it had to be one of the greatest combination of opposite technologies i have seen.

Most of our time there was spent just outside Ubud in Sebali in the company of Gusti Ngurah Suaratana who lead us to ceremonies, some on the street,  and was responsible for having our marriage blessed in a ceremony and lead us to a remote rice field where he had built a small structure. While there, his wife appeared with coffee and pastries that surprised us that she even got there at the same time. Gusti spoke a little English and Japanese and much of our communication over many long hours involved gesture that really seem to work. He was an instant friend if not member of a family as he put it. He in turn was good friends with Kris, an artist and historical prince of Ubud, who partooked of our blessing in between his heavy schedule of mediating problems in the region, all without pay. He too was a greatly inspired person who had studied abroad in order to understand his own culture and had even lived with an aboriginal family for 6 months eating everything thing but the large worms which ws just beyond of what he might do.

From Kris we learned that there is a law that every rice farmer in Bali has a equal right and access to water and that there are people put in charge to see this is in fact what happens. Being in the single rice field we were in was already a lesson on just how complex this can be and still i cannot imagine how it was done, much less on an island wide level. Bali seemed more civilized than elsewhere.

Here is a recording next door to where Kris lives of some hocketing frogs in the rain.
http://anaphoria.com/froghockets.mp3