Track List: Bali 1928 – Volume III Lotring and the Sources of Gamelan Tradition
Volume Three of the 1928 Balinese recordings contains discs by the lost Gamelan of the Love God and other legendary groups. Early works are played by Bali’s master composer Lotring himself. Edward Herbst’s extensive PDF text is accessible below.
Videos have been uploaded on our YouTube channel
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- Tabuh Ginanti 2:25
- Tabuh Lasem 2:53
- Tabuh Gari 2:48
- Calonarang: Sisia 2:47
- Ngalap Basé 2:56
- Tunjang 2:50
- Gambangan 2:57
- Gegénggongan 2:53
- Solo 2:44
- Sekar Ginotan 3:03
- Seléndro 2:50
- Merak Ngélo 2:47
- Tulang Lindung 3:03
- Alas Harum 2:58
- Angkat-angkatan 2:56
- Lagu Cupak 3:00
- Biakalang 2:59
- Manukaba 2:47
- Jurangandanu 2:57
- Demung 2:38
- Cacing Keremi 3:03
- Saron 2:57
- Ganderangan 3:00
This is the third in a series of five CDs remastered from historic recordings made in 1928 (and possibly 1929), part of a collection of the first and only commercially–released recordings of music made in Bali prior to World War II. This diverse sampling of new and older Balinese styles was recorded by Odeon and Beka and appeared on 78 rpm discs in 1929. Andrew Toth wrote of these landmark recordings:
Representatives from these companies [Odeon & Beka] were sent in August of 1928 to extend their coverage to Bali. Five of the ninety–eight existing matrices (sides) made at that time were included by the well–known scholar Erich M. von Hornbostel in an early anthology of non-Western traditions, Music of the Orient; this collection was the first exposure to Indonesian music for many people, the public as well as potential ethnomusicologists. A third of the Odeon/Beka recordings appeared in Europe and America, but the majority had been intended originally for local sale in Bali. For this reason the information on the labels was printed in Malay, the lingua franca of the archipelago, and in some cases even in Balinese script. The ambitious plan to develop an indigenous market was a complete failure, however, since few Balinese were interested in this new and expensive technology–especially with many live performances happening daily in the thousands of temples and households throughout the island. Colin McPhee was the only customer to purchase these 78 rpm discs in an entire year from one frustrated dealer; his collection contains most of the copies that are still preserved to this day, for the agent later smashed the remaining stock in a fit of rage (McPhee 1946: 72).
Fortunately the recordings were made under the guidance of Walter Spies, painter, musician and long–time resident whose intimate knowledge of Balinese culture was so freely given and so often benefited the work of others (Rhodius 1964: 265; Kunst 1974: 24). Although limited by the medium to being three-minute excerpts, they consequently are remarkable examples of a broad range of musical genres—vocal as well as instrumental—and many outstanding composers, performers and ensembles of the period who are now famous teachers of legendary clubs—I Wayan Lotring, I Nyoman Kalér, and the gamelan gong of Pangkung, Belaluan, and Busungbiu. These invaluable sound documents of the musical and family heritage of the Balinese include styles of vocal chant rarely heard today; Kebyar Ding, a historically important composition that has been relearned from the recordings by the present generation of musicians, whose fathers and grandfathers made the original discs; and records of renowned singers that are considered even sacred by their descendants, who keep tape copies in the family shrine” (Toth 1980: 16–17).
Much has come to light in the way of discs and information since Toth’s account, and our worldwide search has yielded 111 sides of three minutes each to be released on five CDs and an anthology. Spies’s personal correspondence with his mother and Jaap Kunst lead us to consider the possibility that he might have only worked with Odeon and not Beka. Ida Boda (a.k.a. Ida Bagus Boda), renowned légong teacher and panasar topéng ‘mask dance vocalist, comic and narrator’ was surely an invaluable advisor in choosing the artists and gamelan ensembles, especially those recorded by Beka. From our research amongst the oldest generation of Balinese artists we can make this assumption since so many of the gamelan groups and singers had close relations with Ida Boda either as students or fellow performers. Ida Boda is heard on nine of the tracks of our Bali 1928 volumes II, IV and V. Please refer to the PDF on this CD to read extensive notes on the music, based on research amongst the oldest generation of musicians and dancers.
Lotring and the Sources of Gamelan Tradition
These twenty-three recordings provide evidence of an interconnected world at a time of transition, from Titih’s pre-palégongan style of Semar Pagulingan to Wayan Lotring’s music for Calonarang (a genre that had just evolved in the few decades preceding the arrival of Odeon and Beka), reflecting its archaic gambuh origins through choreography, melodies and dramatic characterization. Lotring’s exploratory palégongan compositions cleverly referenced older forms such as gambang while celebrating greater freedom.
The heart of légong dance and music training during the period of around 1850 to 1920 was Sukawati, with its seminal master teachers Anak Agung Rai Perit, Déwa Ketut Belacing and I Madé Bangbang Duwadja. They taught the next generation of légong masters that included Wayan Lotring (1887–1983); Ida Boda (1870–1965) from Negara-Batuan, Sukawati, who later settled in Kaliungu; I Nyoman Kalér (1892–1969) from Pamogan, Badung; and I Gusti Bagus Jelantik (1905–1945) from Saba, Gianyar.
While studying légong repertoire in Sukawati, Lotring began a long relationship with the dalang ‘shadow-puppet masters’ I Wayan Kerekek and I Nyoman Geranyam, both of whom he accompanied as one of four gendér ‘metallophone’ players. Sukawati and Kuta styles are very distinct but much cross-influence occurred, and the influence of légong dance move- ment on wayang ‘shadow puppet theater’ in Sukawati was significant. I Gusti Bagus Jelantik taught légong in Titih and Nyoman Kalér taught légong and gandrung in Ketapian, Pagan and Kelandis.
Gamelan Semar Pagulingan of Banjar Titih, Denpasar
Gamelan Semar Pagulingan can be interpreted both as ‘Gamelan of Love in the Bedchamber’ or ‘Gamelan of the Love God in the Bedchamber’. During pre-colonial times the ensembles were often played just outside the private residence of a raja during meals, times of leisure, and when the raja was otherwise engaged in pleasure or sleep with one of his wives. In 1924 this gamelan was loaned to musicians in the village of Titih by the Jeroan Kepaon, affiliated with the Puri Pemecutan palace. Gusti Putu Pegig and Madé Cekig taught the traditional compositions. The small ensemble flourished until sometime around the Japanese occupation (1942). The somewhat unusual tuning as well as the delicate resonance of the instruments lead many to hear it at first as a classical 7-tone Semar Pagulingan saih pitu. The one kendang emphasizes the lanang (male, higher pitched drum) patterns of what is much more commonly an interlocking pair of lanang and wadon (female, lower-pitched) drums.
1. Tabuh Ginanti
Ginanti is a tembang ‘sung poem’ that inspired the melody of this composition. The interlocking gangsa ‘metallophone’ technique, with polos ‘basic’ and sangsih ‘differing’ parts playing the same tone one after another, is often called neteg ‘consistent’, noltol ‘like birds bobbing their beaks up and down while pecking at grain’, or silih asih ‘giving and borrowing’.
2. Tabuh Lasem
Lasem is the most popular theme for the légong dance, derived from the Panji Malat stories of classical gambuh. Because this is a traditional Semar Pagulingan, the trompong ‘row of small kettle-shaped gongs-chimes’ leads the melody, instead of a gendér ‘flat-keyed metallophone’, more commonly used for légong accompaniment.
3. Tabuh Gari
Tabuh Gari also derives from gambuh repertoire. In its more complete form it can be used at the beginning of a gambuh performance. A version of Tabuh Gari is played by gendér wayang in a very condensed form at the conclusion of shadow puppet play and similarly for other gamelan genres. Of the three Titih pieces, this most reflects gambuh drumming.
Gamelan Palégongan of Banjar Tegal, Kuta, led by Wayang Lotring
I Wayan Lotring is considered one of the seminal creative forces of 20th-century Balinese gamelan music, helping to shape the development of palégongan, kebyar, gendér wayang, and angklung. He was also a brilliant performer of gendér and kendang ‘drum’ and known for his mastery of the dance forms nandir, gandrung and légong. For these recordings, Lotring is definitely playing, but he and Wayan Raping would trade off on kendang lanang (the leading drum giving musical cues) and gendér, while Kak Wati would play kendang wadon.
4. Calonarang: Sisia
The sisia are female disciples of the witch Calonarang and in this opening dance they are seen in beautiful human form with their hair long and flowing. Attentive listening reveals what McPhee describes as, “A restless drumming at double or rangkep speed, light, syncopated…carries the ostinato buoyantly along with constantly changing dynamics.” From the initial pajalan ‘walking’ for the sisia’s ‘coming out’, a panyalit ‘transition’ at 00:30 leads into the pangawak ‘main body’ at 00:39, and then at 01:45 into the pangécét ‘fast section’.
5. Calonarang: Ngalap Basé
This track continues with the sisia’s pajalan ‘walking’ (still a fast pangécét), leading into a pangawak at 00:44. The sisia begin ngalap basé ‘picking a betel leaf ’ gestures with their hands, alternatively called ngampin lukun ‘bundling and gathering’, referring to betel leaves as well as magic spells. The movement suggests that these sisia are acquiring the magical teachings of the witch.
6. Calonarang: Tunjang
Tunjang is the theme for the dramatic masked character of the wrathful Rangda, now empowered by the goddess Durga. The recording begins with Tunjang Cenik, playing a slightly upper-voiced melody for Rangda’s assistant Rarung, who is actually a sisia metamorphosed into monstrous form. A panyalit ‘transition’ at 01:28 leads into a two-tone figuration at 01:33 called kalé ‘in disarray’ often used for high tension or fighting scenes. At 01:48 Rarung and Rangda encounter one another as the music shifts down to Tunjang Gedé, referring to a greater use of ‘lower’ tones to embody the spirit of Rangda.
7. Gambangan (Pelugon)
An aspect of Lotring’s modernistic sensibility was to combine and reinterpret elements from older genres. Gamelan gambang features bamboo xylophones and bronze-keyed gangsa, played most often for death-related rituals. The most conspicuous motif is the 5 + 3 phras- ing of the gangsa, one example of how phrasing and specific melodies were used in creating new works.
Génggong is a musical genre and also the name of the musical instrument in the jew’s harp (jaw harp, mouth harp) family, made of wood from the sugar palm tree. Its music imitates the call and response of frogs and toads, joined by other instruments, enggung, also fashioned from sugarpalm wood, that mimic even more so the calls of enggung, katak and dongkang. Lotring uses this as a creative launch pad by re-imagining and re-contextualizing génggong’s interlocking candétan ‘sounds that match or answer each other’.
Lotring was inspired by a visit to the Mangkunegaran Palace in Surakarta (Solo), Java, where his gamelan palégongan performed légong and new works. The name on the Odeon label is ‘Gonténg (Djawa)’ but it is called Solo by musicians in Kuta (including Lotring) and elsewhere, and the original intended meaning of gonténg is unclear. It could mean ‘cut-up’ in some way, but is more likely a play on words by the composer, possibly referring to a loncéng ‘musical clock’.
Gendér Wayang of Banjar Tegal, Kuta, led by Wayan Lotring
A gendér wayang ensemble consists of four metallophones each with ten bronze keys sus- pended above bamboo resonators, hit with two wood mallets. They are played in pairs, each with a different part, polos ‘basic’ and sangsih ‘differing’. The two smaller gendér play an octave above the larger pair, doubling the kotékan ‘interlocking patterns’.
This is assuredly Wayan Lotring playing with his fellow Banjar Tegal, Kuta musicians, Wayan Raping, Wayan Regog, and one other. Wayan Teling (son of Wayan Raping) repeated many times while listening to the recordings, ngees nguncab ‘soft and loud’ or ‘low tide and high tide’, remarking at the subtle dynamics and how the four gendér often become almost inaudible. Another expression used by I Gusti Raka Saba (1916-2000), who learned palégongan from Lotring, is kenyang lempung ‘intense’/‘soft, tender’, referring to the very nuanced dynamics of both ees nguncab and adéng becat ‘slow and fast tempo’.
10. Sekar Ginotan
This and the next two tracks are pategak compositions performed while the audience is finding their places before a wayang begins. They are also played for various ceremonies. In Kuta this version is called Sekar Ginotan Buléleng, with a different piece being Sekar Ginotan Kuta. Lotring taught in Jagaraga, North Bali and might have been influenced there, but Wayan Kélo said this was composed by Lotring. In other villages the piece is called Sekar Gendot.
One striking feature here is the use of ngorét ‘to streak, graze, or wipe’, fluid melodic lines or ‘glissandos’ produced by alternating left and right hands, often articulating five and six-tone ngorét such as those from 00:19 to 00:26, and a seven-tone ngorét within a series of three from 02:38 to 02:41.
12. Merak Ngélo ‘Beautiful Peacock’
Also composed by Lotring, this widely-known gending is performed in its entirety on the recording. The melodic themes are very close to those of Sekar Ginotan as played in Kuta, Teges and elsewhere. Versions of Merak Ngélo are intact in Kuta, Kayumas and in Tunjuk, Tabanan, where musicians learned it directly from Lotring.
13. Tulang Lindung (Pamungkah)
This last section of Pamungkah, the wayang overture, accompanies the dance of the kayon ‘tree of life’ (also called gunungan ‘mountain’) puppet until it is planted in the center of the screen, as well as Tulang Lindung ‘Eel’s Bones’, beginning at 00:14. During this winding melody, the dalang is choosing puppets one by one – that have been standing across the screen – and laying them down to his left and right according to how he will need to access them during the story.
14. Alas Harum ‘Fragrant Forest’
When the screen is clear except for the kayon (and often a huddled group of puppets to the extreme left and right), the dalang gives a signal for ancit kayon ‘yanking out the puppet’ and the final kayonan dance, heard here. Then, at 00:42, begins Alas Harum, slowing for the dalang’s opening recitational verse (not heard on the recording). Kuta musicians talk of the subtle and spontaneous nature of Lotring’s playing in which the nuance could be expressed by what tones are not played as much as those that are.
The title on the 1928 Odeon disc label is ‘Batél’, but it is actually in angkat-angkatan form with occasional batél phrases used to highlight abrupt changes and rapid transitions. Angkat-angkatan accompany wayang characters as they are preparing to leave, traveling from one place to another, and as they are advancing toward the field of battle.
Gendér Wayang Batél of Kaliungu, Denpasar
16. Lagu Cupak
Cupak is a dance drama and this group from Kaliungu would accompany the actor-dancer Ida Boda when he performed the role of Cupak, playing this angkat-angkatan during entrances, transitions and exits. Boda would sing tandak or tembang songs over this music. Batél has two connotations. One is as a compositional genre for battle scenes and moments of intensity, and to accompany transitions. Batél also refers to a small gamelan ensemble, as it does on this Beka record label. However, this recorded rendition highlights four gendér with the only other (barely) audible instruments being a kajar ‘small gong-chime’ playing on each beat, kendang adding a few light strokes at the very beginning and final seconds, and a kempur ‘small gong’ sounding three strokes at the end. In actual dance dramas like Cupak and wayang wong (or wayang Ramayana and wayang Cupak shadow plays) the gamelan batél would include kempur, rincik ‘cymbals’, kajar and kelenang ‘smaller gong-chime’, suling ‘flute’ and two kendang.
Gamelan Palégongan of Kelandis, Denpasar
The gamelan palégongan was built in 1923 and the sekaa légong ‘club’ of Kelandis was founded by Nyoman Kalér in 1924. It is still housed at the Pura Jurit temple and is played for odalan ceremonies.
Biakalang derives from the gambuh repertoire as accompaniment for the strong Patih ‘minister’. When Kalér developed any of a variety of palégongan compositions such as this, he would often have two légong dancers perform. Nyoman Kalér is definitely playing rebab ‘upright bowed fiddle’ on this recording, identifiable by his distinctive style, especially beginning at 02:20. The flute is suling menengah, in the ‘middle range’ between the meter-long suling gambuh and suling palégongan.
These two tracks are rather a mystery. They are two sides of an unpublished and unlabeled 78 rpm record in the Colin McPhee Collection at UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Archive. The playing is somewhat erratic and it is conceivable that with gambang being the only purely ritual genre recorded in 1928, the recording session was not prepared with the necessary sajén ‘religious offerings’, and being entirely out of its ceremonial context, left the musicians disoriented and the event without a suitable blessing. Gambang is a seven-tone ensemble generally comprised of between one and two pairs of bronze-keyed gangsa (sometimes called saron) playing the core melody, and four 14-keyed bamboo xylophones (gambang) playing melodic, interlocking figurations. The ensemble mostly performs for ngabén ‘death rituals’ but is also used for odalan ‘temple festivals’ in some regions. Gambang musicians in Tumbak Bayuh, Tabanan, identified track #18 as Manukaba and track #19 as Jurangandanu. (As with all tracks, see PDF for more details).
Gambang Warisan Peturunan, Pura Kawitan Kelaci, Banjar Sebudi, Tanjung Bungkak, Denpasar
The origins of this gambang ensemble and the genealogical group of Pura Kawitan Kelaci trace to the kingdom of Gélgél during the 16th-century. This recording begins with the bamboo gambang already into the pulsing nyading and then at 00:11 – just after the entrance of the bronze-keyed gangsa (saron) playing the main melody – the gambang change to what are most often called ngoncang ‘interlocking figurations’. This is followed at 01:09 by nyading (playing cading) with its strident emphasis on each beat by the four gambang, normally a transitional phrase, but continuing to the end of the three-minute recording.
Gamelan Pajogédan (Gandrung) of Pagan, Denpasar
Gamelan pajogédan (gandrung) features a collection of either four or six rindik ‘bamboo xylophones’ each having 15 flat keys which are suspended above bamboo resonators and played with two wood mallets. Two rindik pangugal play the full interlocking melody and four to six rindik barangan play an octave higher. One musician plays two rindik jegogan in a lower-octave range, each with five keys, providing the bantang ‘core’ melody as well as counter- melodies. Instead of bronze gongs, gandrung pajogédan used kempur komodong, “a thick slab of bamboo suspended over a narrow-mouthed earthen jar that acts as a resonator.” And for secondary punctuation a two-keyed bamboo kempli was used.
Gandrung means ‘infatuated’ and was a female role performed by a young male dancer (now almost always performed by females). Both the dancers and gamelan of Pagan and nearby Ketapian Kelod were taught by Nyoman Kalér. In fact, gandrung dancer Madé Sarin (1919–2012) of Ketapian identified these three gending ‘compositions’ recorded in Pagan as almost identical to the way his own village played them in earlier times.
21. Cacing Keremi
Today’s gandrung group in Ketapian calls this introductory piece Saron. Cacing Keremi are stomach worms that also create an itch in one’s rectum. Madé Sarin speculated that the name could be a humorous way of describing the lively, wiggling movement of the hips.
In Ketapian, this piece now goes by the name Batél Terem. Terem literally means, “everyone has arrived,” and may be used as the last pategak before the dancing begins.
Ganderangan is their quintessential gending because it accompanies the ngibing improvisation between gandrung and audience members and can be repeated for hours depending on audience interest. Because Nyoman Kalér taught both the Pagan and Ketapian gandrung groups and the same dancers, Madé Sarin and Wayan Rindi, performed with both ensembles—and since Madé Sarin considered this recorded version the same as his own—we combined the sound of the 1928 Odeon recording with a film of Sarin dancing, taken by Colin McPhee in the 1930s. This can be seen and heard on the YouTube Channel Bali1928.net.
Edward Herbst 2015
Research, publication updates, and archival 1930s photographs and films will appear on www.arbiterrecords.org and in Indonesian on www.Bali1928.net
The Bali 1928 project has benefited by a great many participants. The core research team for this volume of Lotring and the Sources of Gamelan Tradition has included I Ketut Kodi, Ni Ketut Suryatini, Ni Ketut Arini, I Madé Arnawa, I Nyoman Catra, I Wayan Dibia, I Nyoman Astita, and myself. Profound thanks are due to the many artists, informants, and consultants specific to this volume including I Madé Sarin, I Wayan Suwéca, I Madé Netra, Ni Nyoman Candri, I Wayan Kélo, I Wayan Mangku Suda and I Nyoman Marcono, Arya Godogan, I Wayan Teling, I Wayan Pursa, I Madé Artajaya, I Wayan Karyasa, I Wayan Suwija, I Wayan Egler, I Wayan Darta, I Gusti Serama Semadi, Dé Guh, I Wayan Konolan, I Wayan Locéng, I Wayan Nartha, I Wayan Tangguh, I Wayan Lura, I Ketut Suendra, I Nyoman Mindra, Dé Ama, I Ketut Wadja, I Wayan Kanda, I Ketut Gedé Asnawa, I Wayan Gunastra, I Wayan Dedi, Ni Gusti Raka Rasmi, I Wayan Lantir, I Wayan Sinti, N.L.N. Suasthi Widjaja Bandem, Anak Agung Ayu Bulan Trisna Djelantik, I Gusti Nengah Nurata, I Gusti Nyoman Wirata, Mangku Wayan Putra, and I Gusti Putu Bawa Samar Gantang. Our Senior Project Advisor for publications in Indonesia is I Madé Bandem.
Additional thanks to Hildred Geertz, Thomas M. Hunter, Evan Ziporyn, Tilman Seebass, Danker Schaareman, Hedi Hinzler, Beth Skinner and José Evangelista. For a complete list of acknowledgments see the PDF on this CD.
Access to the original 78 rpm records has been made available to us courtesy of the University of California, Los Angeles, Ethnomusicology Archive and the Colin McPhee Estate (thanks to John Vallier, Maureen Russell, Anthony Seeger, Marlowe Hood, Jacqueline DjeDje and Aaron Bittel), Indonesia’s Museum Nasional in Jakarta (Retno Sulisthianingsih, former Director) and Sana Budaya in Yogyakarta, Laurel Sercombe at University of Washington, New York Public Library, Martin Hatch at Cornell University, Nancy Dean and Ellen Koskoff, Totom Kodrat and Soedarmadji J.H. Damais in Jakarta (and the Louis Charles Damais collection), Wim van der Meer and Ernst Heins at the Jaap Kunst Archives, University of Amsterdam, Jaap Erkelens, Anak Agung Ngurah Gdé Agung, Puri Karangasem, Allan Evans, Michael Robertson, and Pat Conte.
Special thanks to Rocio Sagaon Vinaver, Djahel Vinaver and José G. Benitez Muro for permission to use Miguel Covarrubias’s film footage from Bali that has been so useful in triggering the memories of older–generation artists. The Rolf de Maré films are included by kind permission from Dansmuseet and The Rolf de Maré Foundation, Stockholm. Arthur Fleischmann photographs are reproduced by kind permission of the Arthur Fleischmann family. Walter Spies’s photographs are reproduced courtesy of the Walter Spies Foundation, Holland.
We especially appreciate the extraordinary generosity and trust of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, which allowed us to borrow a great many of their 78 discs as well as Colin McPhee’s invaluable film footage and photographs. Special thanks to Philip Yampolsky who served as Project Officer at the Ford Foundation, Jakarta (supporting research in 2003, 2006 and 2007) and also as an informant on the history and whereabouts of the Odeon–Beka original 78 rpm discs without whom this collection would have been almost impossible to assemble. Endo Suanda helped envision and organize the Bali 1928 project at its inception. Thanks to the Asian Cultural Council for funding research in 2008–09. Additional support has been provided by Ray Noren as well as Yayasan Bali Purnati ‘The Bali Purnati Center for the Arts’. A 2014-15 Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Award is allowing Edward Herbst to conduct field research relating to the 1928 recordings.
The Research Foundation of CUNY received a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the collaborative work involving Edward Herbst as project coordinator, ethnomusicologist and principal investigator, with Arbiter of Cultural Traditions in New York, directed by Allan Evans, and STIKOM-Bali, coordinated by Marlowe Makaradhwaja, in Indonesia. This Bali 1928 Project, “Restoration, Dissemination and Repatriation of the Earliest Music Recordings and Films in Bali,” will result in five volumes and an anthology to be published as CDs, DVDs and cassettes in the U.S. and Indonesia as well as providing archival audiovisual resources online.