Friday, May 13, 2011

Notes From Bali

One of the great things about living here is all the cultural diversity we experience.
That's a bit strange since Hawaii is like the most isolated place on the planet.
Anyways, it's easy to find different things here if you really look hard.
Once, at the studio at school, we had belly dancer come and do her thing in the fire and smoke during a raku demonstration.
Poor girl!
The acrid smoke and fumes made her eyeballs water, but to her credit, she soldiered on.
Ah yes.
Belly dancing.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, cultural diversity.
Being the most isolated place on the planet also means that we, us folks in Hawaii I mean, are sort of in the middle.
East meets west.
Sort of like a teriyaki hamburger:

Well some of this cultural diversity was brought into one of the classrooms I'm in.
We've been taking a look at Western Pacific culture, performing arts, and today we got a look at Bali.
Bali around these parts may be more famous for the surf spot Tavarua, as a matter of fact that's how I first became acquainted with it.
No, I've never been there, but I've known a few who have.
The only thing I really knew about the place is that they got some seriously poisonous snakes there.
Like sea snakes.
Not my cup o'tea.
Anyways today, a Balinese performer came to class and did his thing.
Which was way cool.
I missed some stuff like the puppetry and flute playing before I remembered I had my camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
I did manage to catch I Made Widana(say it with me: ee mahday weedahnah), the gentleman in the video and from what I gather is a professional performer, and Annie Reynolds, a Ph.D candidate from the University of Hawaii, do their thing.
Which I thought was quite spectacular:

Now I wish I had taken some notes, but if you, the reader, are really interested well, you'll just have to look it up yourself.
They are playing what I believe is called a gamelan, though that terms seems to refer to a group also, so I'm really not sure.
The plates are made of bronze with bamboo resonators below it, you can see another version of the instrument off to the right.
They also did some traditional dance which I thought was really great.
Chapeau to Jasmine, also a graduate student at UofH, for coordinating the visit.
I gotta say, I wish we had more of this kind of stuff in school, a place where most kids can't see past their cell phones.
I mean most of these kids couldn't find Bali, or Indonesia for that matter, on a map if you pointed it out to them.
Some of these kids might have a hard time finding California on a map, I kid you not.
Anyways, the arts are the last place left to explore this sort of thing and unfortunately, we, the art folks, are being cut off.
Lack o'funds don't you know.
The world is such a diverse and immense place and they, the students, are exposed to a just a small corner of math, science and English.
What a drag.
Well, at least not today.
Today, we got to experience and listen to some resonating notes from Bali.
A good thing, for sure.


John Romeo Alpha said...

What a bright and magical sound. No wonder they smile when they play, that is awesome.

Trevor Woodford said...

Fantastic...I love this sort of thing.

Your comments about kids is reassuring, because I was beginning to think that it was only kids in the UK that seem unable (or should that be unwilling) to learn anything...!!


limom said...

JRA, my poor video doesn't really capture the true sound of the instrument.
I closed my eyeballs, and thought the closest thing I could think of was maybe steel drums.
Yeah, it was great!

Trevor, kids: can't teach em, can't kick em out.
Okay, I jest.