A music festival – Bali style

I used to go to rock music festivals back in England, but here in Bali I found myself at a gamelan festival up at Lake Batur overlooking the volcano (well there were plenty of volcanic rocks there!).

Gamelan is the traditional music of Bali.

It is unique music to both look at and listen to and I love it.

Mesmerising sounds soothe you way down to your core.

They seem to lull you into a place of… ‘no place’.

Cymbals covered in pom poms

Cymbals covered in pom poms

The instruments are often accompanied by voices which seem to have power over you.  Not exactly singing, not exactly chanting – they seem able to rid you of the troubles of the world and allow you to just, simply, focus on what you hear and see right there and then.

Drummers drumming

Powerful, richly resonant gongs vibrate through your very cells like something from a time before you even existed.

Deep sounding gongs being carried on men's shoulders

Deep sounding gongs being carried on men’s shoulders

Does that sound a bit extreme?  Ah, yes, that’s what it’s like – extreme – extremely soothing, extremely different, extremely wonderful.

And the sounds really are different – they are not from the range of ‘do ray me far so la ti do’.

Banten making competition (offerings)

Banten making competition (offerings)

But the festival wasn’t just about gamelan… there was a Kintamani dog competition, a banten making competition as well as a cooking competition.

One young lad made a replica of the local scene depicting the volcano, lake and surrounding hillsides in… fruit.

Fruits representing a volcano

Local bands and comedy acts were topped off with a full-on dramatic production that had 50 people on stage at some points.

Such beautiful costumes

The story unfolded in front of the backdrop of the volcano beyond the lake.

Oh la la

Oh la la

What a fabulous 2 day festival and we were able to stay in the lumbung overnight again click here for pictures of the lumbung (a style of house, originally designed to store rice).

Meanwhile, below are more pics of the festival (with thanks to Sherry, as my camera wasn’t working!).

Famous Balinese comedian

Famous Balinese comedian

Ready to perform Baris Gede dance

Ready to perform Baris Gede dance

Stunning performances

Stunning performances

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