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Selonding Gamelan Music. Accompany the Angels Coming Down to Earth

Selonding Gamelan Music. Accompany the Angels Coming Down to EarthSelonding is a unique and classical music art of Karangasem County presented in the event of the Bali Arts Festival (BAF) XXXV. The musical instrument played by 10 musicians managed to make the audience amazed. The players were not only the adults but also little boys. They looked very adept at creating melodious and beautiful sounds, Wednesday (Jun 19). Selonding Sidakarya gamelan originated from Pande Tunggak hamlet, Bebandem, was getting more vibrant when collaborated with the sacred dances like Rejang Manda and Pendet Abuang. Uniquely, the Pendet Abuang was then performed by men, whereas it was commonly danced by women in the past.

Performance of the classical arts featured nine compositions namely the Classical Gaguron gamelan as the opening performance in the form of traditional gamelan composition. Afterward, it was resumed with Rarewangi gamelan composition denoting a selonding gamelan functioned to accompany the Usabha Gumang or Usabha Sri Ceremony. Meanwhile, the Tabuh Rejang Asep posed a modified selonding.

Other than in the form of gamelan music, the selonding gamelan could also accompany sacred dance like Rejang Manda presented by 5 young female dancers. The dance illustrated the angels coming down to earth and giving the benefits to humankind. The next dance was Pendet Abuang staged by 4 male dancers, signifying a genuine devotion for the worldly happiness. After the dance, staging of the selonding gamelan was continued by the composition entitled Anda Sehat, Landung Loncog and Bhatara Mabhiasa. Such gamelan compositions also served to accompany ritual occasions. Ultimately, the presentation was closed by Pamuput gamelan composition as a form of gratitude expression to the Creator.

Coordinator of Selonding Sidakarya gamelan troupe, I Wayan Astika, said the selonding itself was derived from Java and then developed in Bali. The spread of selonding occurred throughout Bali but the majority took place in Karangasem. “In Karangasem, selonding has become an icon and a compulsory accompaniment for religious ceremonies in temple. Every Galungan and Kuningan, there is a tradition that must be carried out in the temple namely the Rejang Manda Dance. It is one of the manifestations of devotion to God,” said Astika.

Selonding, explained Astika, actually consisted of 5 gamelan players, but to add the accent it could be more than five players. “Staging of selonding outside the temple uses duplicate gamelan instrument because it is not for entertainment purpose. Aside from maintaining the sanctity, the original selonding must also be placed in a special building like temple,” he said.

“This Selonding Sidakarya is indeed a new one. But from this simple measure, we are supported by the community to introduce the selonding. We do not want if the existence of selonding will be gradually eroded by modernization. It is a real form that we continue to explore, develop and preserve the selonding as one of the Balinese cultures. Although our training venue is inadequate, it does not discourage our vivacity to train and make creation for the world,” added Astika. (BTN/ocha)

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