Photo by John Yavuz Can
Bali's Haunting Night Music
If you’re in the Balinese countryside when night descends, you’ll see stars twinkle in inky skies while fireflies dance in the rice fields, and you’ll likely hear the percussive, syncopated sound of a local gamelan troupe, their haunting tones floating on the cooling night breeze. A gamelan is a gong, but a gamelan orchestra involves 30-40 musicians playing gongs of different tones, the xylophone-esque gangsa and two-sided drums, played with mallets. Every village has an orchestra and the music is almost always entrancing, best heard when a troupe of dancers pound their bare feet and cock their heads to tell a story. Any dance performance and all cremations involve gamelan music, and boutiques throughout the island sell CDs that make a fun momento. If you’re so inspired, the instruments are for sale in music shops too.
By Adam Skolnick, AFAR Contributor
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