Selonding is classified as an archaic type of Balinese gamelan orchestra dating as far back as the 10th century. Deeply shrouded in myth and legend, selonding is said to have a divine origin, producing music of a heavenly quality.
Most selonding are made from iron but there are a few sets which are bronze and consist of metallophones, varying in size. Deceptive in their cumbersome and primitive appearance, the instruments produce a hauntingly beautiful sound, somewhere in between large droplets of water and low, resonant bells.
The selonding ‘heart’ of Bali is now in Karangasem where you can find sets in traditional (Bali Aga) villages: Asak, Bungaya, Bugbug, Ngis, Selat, Kayubihi, Tenganan and others. There are, however, still active traditions in Bangli, Singaraja, Gianyar and Tabanan.
Once sanctified, since some musicians from Tenganan popularised selonding and made duplicate instruments, replica sets are now played outside of the religious context. Although a number of sacred selonding pieces may not be recorded, you can now purchase recordings of selonding music but only Tenganan style.
The most popular style outside of the sacred, ritual context is Tenganan style.
Watch videos of our selonding orchestr on our YouTube channel.