Our Performances at Asian Games
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, we showcased a selection of rare and previously extinct semar pegulingan pieces accompanying both classical and gambuh dances. Thousands of Chinese witnessed the performances over two nights, and we got great feedback from both the local public as well as the Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sport, Andi Mallarangeng, who was present with his wife and officials from the Consulate General of Indonesia in Guangzhou (see: article on in Indonesian Consulate General in China’s website).
“Indonesia gained a number of gold medals while I was present at the Asian Games…and I’m sure that if there had been a gamelan competition, Mekar Bhuana would have got gold too!” enthused the Minister, adding that even though he had been to Bali many times he had never seen this classical court style of Balinese gamelan and dance, especially using antique instruments.
It’s awesome to know that there are people who appreciate the efforts our musicians and dancers, who have learnt much of the material from vintage recordings, because there are no guru left in Bali who remember the art-forms. We hope that the Minister and others can help to gain further support to help Balinese document and preserve village performing art-forms.
When we were not performing, we had the opportunity to watch other groups from parts of Asia, including Burma, Iran, Mongolia and Tuva, who represented a mixture of the old and the new. The people of Guangzhou were lucky to catch such quality performances; of course, many of the shows were packed out.
We enjoyed our China experience and offer a huge “thank you” to the organisers for inviting us to be part of this massive sporting event. More tours are on the horizon for Mekar Bhuana next year, including to other parts of Asia as well as Europe.