A family founded centre, our vision is to document, reconstruct and repatriate rare or extinct Balinese gamelan music and dance. We achieve this through research and study, then we educate through workshops, lessons and performances. Some people may think that Balinese gamelan and dance art-forms are well preserved because there are still many ceremonies in Bali; however, they are not looking at the details. Based on serious long-term research, we look at the details of Balinese gamelan music and dance and encourage others to see and appreciate these differences and the importance of documenting and reconstructing them for future generations.
Our study programmes have been especially designed based on our extensive overseas teaching experience and knowledge to encourage awareness about the beauty and importance of these indigenous art-forms. Taking workshops and lessons with us supports our projects and research. These programmes also encourage participants to become more aware about the environment in Bali. We have an anti one-use plastic and plastic bag policy; we make our own compost; we also organise accommodation within walking distance to our centre to reduce our carbon foot-print. As of July 21st 2017, our director, Putu Evie, is also the chairperson of Trash Hero Kertalangu in our local area.
Central to the aims of Mekar Bhuana are the tangible results of our projects, including audio and video recordings as well as reconstructed performances using antique instruments. See how you can help by visiting our Sponsors & Patrons page. Hiring our troupes also supports our ongoing documentation, reconstruction and study activities.
Support our teams of gamelan musicians and dancers today by:
1. Being a part of our ongoing documentation, reconstruction and repatriation projects:
2. Buying a practice instrument from us: we know too that nearly everyone in the world is finding it hard and that in most countries creative artists such as musicians and dancers are not able to gather together to practise and perform as they once did. Now many people must stay home and learn online. This can be particularly tricky with gamelan as most musicians don’t have their own instruments. You’ll be happy to know that we have a solution for you! Our range of practice instruments. Find out more about how you can get one delivered to your doorstep, perhaps even with a custom tuning in only a matter of weeks.
3. Learning online with us! Contact us now for further details on prices and discounts.
4. Shopping on Mekar Bhuana Online Store for fabulous gamelan and dance products
We are still shipping worldwide and our online store is currently the backbone that keeps Mekar Bhuana Centre sustainable. We support a large network of talent village artisans via our store. Shop to support today!
Check out this latest video about a product on our online store:
Based on the guidelines from both the central government in Jakarta and the municipal government in Denpasar regarding Covid-19, we are now permitted to open our centre for in-person study and practices. The recommendations still encourage social distancing and mask wearing, both in indoor and outdoor settings.
Our founders and director are currently in New Zealand where they are establishing a brand new Mekar Bhuana Chapter called Mekar Bhuana Aotearoa (the original, Māori name for New Zealand). In an effort to spread our message around the world, Vaughan and Evie have brought with them one of Mekar Bhuana’s old gamelan sets that they have termed Gamelan Semara that is a combination of seven-tone Semara Pagulingan (old instruments) and Semara Patangian (with new gender rambat and kemong). The gangsa in this set all gangsa jongkok and have two sets of casings for seven-keys as well as five keys in the old-fashioned (61235) order. The jublag and jegogan remain seven tone as part of the set that includes a 16-pot terompong, ponggang and kangsi, but are also part of the five-tone set that also includes a 13-pot terompong and gumanak. By combining the two sets into one, the ensemble is not a compromise, but rather can stand on its own to faithfully performing both distinct art-forms, but with their own characteristic instrumentation. This ensemble is an addition to the two existing gamelan sets (an Gender Wayang quartet as well as a Besakih-style Selonding) that the founders brought to New Zealand in 1998 and 2015 respectively.
Mekar Bhuana Aotearoa (MBA) has the aim of spreading the beauty of traditional Balinese music through community music-making and dance. MBA has just opened registration for a Gamelan Semara course starting March 2nd that is almost full. Follow us on IG, FB and YouTube to keep up with our activities in New Zealand!
Our second Gamelan Semara course for beginners is starting at Miramar & Maupuia Community Centre (MMCC) in Wellington on May 12th 6.45 – 8.45 pm. Spaces limited – enrol now! Contact Vaughan on firstname.lastname@example.org or via Whatsapp (02040914801).
Dance Tutorial Available Soon on Mp4
This video tutorial is an independent project from 2010 that Evie did with the help of her “bule” hubby Vaughan @wayanpon.smara and her little sis Ayu @reehanna1801 (who was her private assistant at the time because she had just given birth to her second child), as well as of course other family members, our young dancers, a videographer friend and Maharani Record who let us be on their label.
Initially, this project was inspired by our first child, Gede Semara @semara.richard_gede, who – when we were bringing him up in New Zealand – learned Balinese dance on his own (at one and a half years old) from watching our VCD collection of Balinese dances that we sent to our family via friends from New Zealand who happened to be holidaying in Bali.
In the end we also created our own video as an effort to document terms for the basic movements of Balinese dance in Balinese that all the guru use, as well as, of course, helping to keep the Balinese language alive.
Over time, this DVD tutorial became very useful for students who studied at Mekar Bhuana, and we would include it as a souvenir in our workshop study package. I also used this DVD to help students who have studied online with us via Skype so that they can learn from the DVD before they take online lessons.
It seems that this pandemic has given Evie a lot of time to improve this tutorial that is also a documentation project in itself. In the near future, we are going to convert it to an Mp4 that can be accessed via a link we will share to those who are kind enough to donate to our ongoing documentation and reconstruction projects. We will also post some of the dance moves randomly on our social media platforms as well as on Mekar Bhuana’s YouTube channel. So keep following us and don’t forget to subscribe!