Have you ever heard about genggong? This Balinese traditional music instrument is quite rare. In the 1980s, every day after the nightfall the genggong (jaw harp) was always aired by radio station on this island. Now, one of the unique vibrating instruments was barely audible again. Sometimes, the Bali Arts Festival (BAF) denoting the medium of preservation and development of the rare arts also showed it off.
Driven by the sense of apprehensiveness to rare music, the young artist I Ketut Lanus and his friends tried to make an experiment of the genggong music. Under the banner of Cahya Art Studio, Lanus packaged the ancient music with new motives, so that it made it more attractive and innovative. “We are not changing the existing genggong style, but only give a fresh new look,” he said amidst his exercise.
Genggong, a musical instrument made from palm frond was usually used to accompany the performance of ballet with the storyline Godongan (giant frog). It was commonly performed in every Hindu ritual, and other spiritual events. This rare type of music is not as popular as the gong kebyar gamelan music. It is very rare and can be found in Karangasem, Batuan village, Gianyar and the Munduk Lumbang, Baturiti, Tabanan.
Now, this kind of art is presented more attractively. Elements of the dance, theater and vocal music are nicely arranged. New ideas are also developed so as to achieve the necessary perfection of the society today. This composition reveals the visual sound, without story but illustrates the frog character such as when it is walking and expressing its behavior in the community group. Although it is small, the quality is maintained, does not impoverish the existing arts.
Its composition remains to form a total music, while the players dance by highlighting the sound of giant frog. They dance like a frog, while joking and then playing a music instrument, blowing and playing the flute of various sizes. “We just tried to make an experiment, whether it is good or bad, it does not matter. I’m sure the next will be nice,” said Lanus while adding that such experimental art would be presented in a jazz event in Bali.
The songs presented were also new, yet it remained to reflect the traditional and classical nuance. In other words, he did not take the song from the existing genggong, but creating a new one in accordance with the needs of the contemporary art. The experiment lasting about 20 minutes also still included the standard style in Balinese traditional gamelan, such as introduction, content and ending.
Such an innovative artwork was begun by the coming out of frogs that danced with joy. While dancing, they also played music by their own mouth. Intertwine of the sound one, two, three and so on was heard so sweet and melodious describing the joy of the frogs. Sometimes, the amphibious animals living on land and in the water were also described by their singing.
In the next section, the frog dancers sat down and had a cappella music singing the songs with frog nuance and the natural beauty of rice fields as the background. When entering the main part of the performance, they played gamelan instruments, such as drums, cymbals, flute, single gong chime and kenyur and genggong. The illustration music was accompanied with the blend of genggong.
Ending part of the performance was filled with melancholic songs remaining to sound sweet. Two genggong players danced to express their while joy living in the wild. Aside from Lanus, this experiment was also supported by five artists being skillful in playing the original genggong from Batuan village such as Wayan Sudarsana, Made Suryana, Nyoman Suwida, Nyoman Suarsana, Wayan Suarsa and Putu Eka Putra. (BTN/015)