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    Searching for Sekati – the Mystery of a Balinese Gamelan thought to be Extinct

    September 29th, 2020

    Bali has an astounding number of different types of gamelan ensemble, and that number is growing all the time as people create new types of gamelan instruments and come up with new ideas for combinations of instruments. Considering this richness of Balinese gamelan traditions – a wealth of ensemble types that have developed over more than a thousand years – it’s hardly surprising that some of these types are more popular than others. Read the rest of this entry »

    Democracy and Equality in Balinese Gamelan Part I

    April 24th, 2019

    Bali still has a very traditional society and the late Made Wijaya went so far as to say a ‘mediaeval’one, albeit existing and functioning in the modern world. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is the difference between a lesson and a workshop at Mekar Bhuana?

    March 5th, 2019

    One of the most common questions we get from potential students who contact Mekar Bhuana is what the difference is between a lesson and a workshop. Read the rest of this entry »

    Gongs in Bali Part III – what is characteristic about Balinese gongs?

    October 23rd, 2018

    The two common types of materials for gong making are bronze and iron, with the former being more prestigious and therefore a lot more expensive. Although there are a number of iron gong makers in Bali, since the early 1980s, no bronze gongs larger than around 40 cm have been made here by Balinese. Read the rest of this entry »

    Gongs in Bali Part II – How many different types of gongs are there in Bali?

    October 23rd, 2018

    A gong is actually not just a round metal object that hangs in a frame and makes a sound when you hit it. There are in fact different categories of gongs in Bali which can be made of bronze, iron or bamboo. Read the rest of this entry »

    Gongs in Bali

    October 23rd, 2018

    To the Balinese, a gong is something that is often revered: for its sound, its prestige, its mysticism. To the lay person, we think of a gong as a hanging instrument that makes a sort of booming sound, but it is much more than that. Read the rest of this entry »

    How many Different Types of Gamelan Orchestras are there in Bali?

    July 6th, 2017

    In short, many! Gamelan experts the world over normally claim that there are anything between 25 and 40 types; however, so far I’ve counted 70 with the number increasing all the time as people create more different varieties. Read the rest of this entry »

    I went to see a Balinese dance performance and it was on a stage – how were Balinese art-forms presented before the advent of tourism?

    January 23rd, 2015

    The way Balinese present their art-forms has changed dramatically over the last half a century or so. The western concept of a stage – let alone a theatre or a concert hall – never existed in Bali before tourism started to slowly develop in the 60s.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    What is a Suling?

    May 22nd, 2013

    Suling is the Balinese word for seruling, which means ‘flute’. Made from bamboo, Balinese flutes are always end blown and vary in size. Read the rest of this entry »

    What are some of the Organizations that are structured under a Balinese Banjar?

    September 4th, 2012

    Whilst travelling around Bali, you may have learn that Bali is made up of not only villages and hamlets, but also a smaller division called banjar which can be loosely translated as a village ward or community centre. This will be made up of a number of families, the minimum number of which is stipulated by to Balinese traditional law (adat). Read the rest of this entry »

    Cultural Complacency

    June 25th, 2012

    Many times I’ve thought to myself: What makes Bali such a popular tourist destination? Is it the surf? Is it the shopping? Is it the weather? Is it the nightlife? What is it? What makes Bali different from the rest? What makes people keep coming back and telling others to visit? The answer is in one word: CULTURE. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is Rindik?

    May 2nd, 2012

    Last week, Mekar Bhuana co-founder, Vaughan Hatch, explained to a group of guests at a dinner reception in Ubud a bit about the history of bamboo music in Bali. Part of his explanation included a demonstration performed by one of the conservatory’s quartets of gamelan musicians. Two of these bamboo instruments are called rindik, 11-13 keyed xylophones tuned to a fairly even-tempered scale. Read the rest of this entry »

    Learn Ancient Gamelan Selonding at Mekar Bhuana

    April 27th, 2012

    After the purchase of a beautiful iron selonding gamelan set, a duplicate of the ancient 10th century set from Besakih Temple, Mekar Bhuana Conservatory has immersed itself serious selonding study. Read the rest of this entry »

    World’s First Balinese Dance Tutorial Series – helping Balinese dance to ‘blossom around the world’

    April 23rd, 2012

    Have you ever tried learning Balinese dance? It can seem pretty tricky with all those flashy eye movements, wrist twist, back arching and finger wiggling! Indeed Balinese dance can be a little challenging the first time you try… Read the rest of this entry »

    What is Wayang Wong Part II

    April 22nd, 2012

    According to Prof. R.M Moerdowo’s book, Reflections on Balinese Traditional and Modern Arts, wayang wong as we know it today was once referred to as Barong Blasan or Barong Kedingkling. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is Wayang Wong Part I

    April 15th, 2012

    If you are interested in Balinese traditional art-forms, many of you would have heard of wayang kulit: the shadow puppet show; however, the human version of these puppets, called wayang wong, is probably less familiar. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is legong?

    April 14th, 2012

    An extremely basic definition of legong is a dance traditionally performed by pre-pubescent girls in the palaces of feudal Bali. The word legong has been interpreted differently by a number of academies and its origins are unclear. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is Gambuh? Part II

    April 13th, 2012

    Gambuh is Bali’s oldest dance drama that developed in the 15th century in the Klungkung kingdom of Gelgel. Read the rest of this entry »

    Mekar Bhuana creates New Year’s Drama at Oberoi

    April 12th, 2012

    Mekar Bhuana performed their first original drama this past New Year’s Eve. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is Gamelan Gambuh?

    April 12th, 2012

    With the coming of the Majapahit Kingdom to Bali, and the subsequent rise to power of the Gelgel Court of Klungkung, a golden age of art proliferated. One of these art-forms was a style of music and orchestration called Gambuh. Read the rest of this entry »

    Mekar Bhuana at Bali Arts Festival 2011

    April 28th, 2011

    Mekar Bhuana will perform at the Bali Arts Festival again this year on Sunday June 19th, a day after the festival opening, presenting the material they performed at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010: rare and previously extinct semar pegulingan music accompanying a showcase of gambuh dances. Read the rest of this entry »

    Our Performances at Asian Games

    November 30th, 2010

    Now back in Bali, we are celebrating success in China where our performances in Guangzhou were really well received. Representing Indonesian traditional art-forms at the 16th Asian Games Concert Series, Read the rest of this entry »

    Can the Balinese control the rains?

    April 20th, 2010

    Anyone who has been to Bali will know that the Balinese have ceremonies almost all the time. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is the difference between ‘ngayah’ and ‘ngo’opin’?

    April 11th, 2010

    If you live in Bali I’m sure you’ll already know that a Balinese life is full of ceremonies that seem to take place nearly every day of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

    Nyepi – What is it all about?

    March 17th, 2010

    Nyepi is an auspicious day that marks the beginning of the Hindu Balinese New Year, according to the traditional saka calendar. Read the rest of this entry »

    What are ogoh-ogoh?

    March 14th, 2010

    About a month before Balinese New Year (Nyepi), the banjar youth group get together and plan the construction of ogoh-ogoh. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is Banyupinaruh?

    February 27th, 2010

    The day after Saraswati is called Banyupinaruh, which always falls on a Sunday and the first Pawukon week, Dasa Sinta. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is Saraswati day all about?

    February 27th, 2010

    The holy day of Saraswati is named after the Hindu goddess of knowledge, learning and wisdom, Dewi Saraswati. Hindu philosophers view wisdom as something beautiful and attractive, therefore feminine. Read the rest of this entry »

    Mekar Bhuana visits Selonding Expert in Karangasem

    February 9th, 2010

    On Sunday, we (Vaughan, Sudama, Sadera and Suwida) took a trip to Karangasem. Our mission was to meet Srimpu Tusan from Bebandem to learn more about Yayasan Selonding and his magnus opus Selonding – Tinjauan Gamelan Bali Kuna Abad X – XIV. Read the rest of this entry »

    What is Gender Wayang? (Part II)

    February 6th, 2010

    As I mentioned previously, gender wayang are the original instruments used to accompany puppet shows in Bali. This is where they got their name about one thousand years ago. Read the rest of this entry »


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