Bamboo instruments (Jegog gamelan)

It was the eve of a full moon when Sandeh and I went to the Jegog performance in Pejeng (a village near Ubud, famous for its ‘Moon Temple’).

Jegog gamelan - giant bamboo instruments

Jegog gamelan – giant bamboo instruments

Jegog is both the name of these large bamboo instruments and the loud, energetic, bass-rich music they produce.

Jegog players

Jegog players

We were entertained by the orchestra and dancers, who wore brightly coloured silks under a clear night sky.

T'was a full moon

T’was a full moon

In my garden I have a small version of Jegog, called a rindik, and this bamboo instrument has decidedly more delicate tones.

You hum it, I'll play it

You hum it, I’ll play it

I can play the basics of one Balinese tune on the rindik called, ‘Merah Putih’ (it means Red and White = the colours of the Indonesian flag).

Hand carved Jegog

Hand carved Jegog

But these giant Jegog are something else, they really take a lot of effort to play.

Like organic xylophones

Like huge organic xylophones

Are you wondering how I know that?

Well, at the end of their performance, some of the audience were invited to take part in the orchestra.  Sandeh and I both got picked and we soon realised how tiring it is to play these heavy instruments, which demand speed and power!

This Jegog gamelan troup, called ‘Suar Agung’, come from the west of Bali.

They’ve been performing in Japan annually since 1984 and have also toured through Europe.

According to their website, “Jegog was created in the early 20th century within the farming communities of Bali’s least populated province, (Jembrana) but was banned in the 40’s by its Dutch rulers who feared the bamboo tubes could be used as weapons of uprising against them”.

– Indonesia finally got independence from the Dutch in 1945 after approx 350 years of colonial rule.

In another post I will write about traditional gamelan music – not made of bamboo, but metal.

Jegog music was first created in the early 20th century within the farming communities of Bali’s least populated province, but was banned in the 40s by its Dutch rulers who feared the bamboo tubes could be used as weapons of uprising against them. – See more at: http://jegogsuaragung.com/index#sthash.wYGz3LCU.dpuf
Jegog music was first created in the early 20th century within the farming communities of Bali’s least populated province, but was banned in the 40s by its Dutch rulers who feared the bamboo tubes could be used as weapons of uprising against them. – See more at: http://jegogsuaragung.com/index#sthash.wYGz3LCU.dpuf
Jegog music was first created in the early 20th century within the farming communities of Bali’s least populated province, but was banned in the 40s by its Dutch rulers who feared the bamboo tubes could be used as weapons of uprising against them. – See more at: http://jegogsuaragung.com/index#sthash.wYGz3LCU.dpuf
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  1. Triangular bamboo and glass door | Julie in Bali

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