Strains of its rhythm are heard melancholy. When people listen to it, the rhythm can hypnotize and make them dissolved in it. Its soft melody strengthens spiritual nuance when a ritual is taking place. It is the selonding gamelan music. Such traditional music instrument is the native to Tenganan, Karangasem, but almost comes to extinction in Tabanan. Luckily, many young generations are starting to favor it lately. How is the condition? One of the Slonding gamelan troupes starting to exist is the Kembang Bali art studio at Tunjuk hamlet, Tabanan. Amid the onslaught of modern music, this slonding troupe remains to survive. Even, it receives many invitations for performance. On average, the gamelan players consist of teenagers. Though classified into beginner, they are quite skillful in playing the gamelan music resembling gambang xylophone.
“The gamelan players are the result of intense exercise in the past few months. As a result, they have been able to play it well,” said the group head of Kembang Bali Slonding gamelan troupe, Suarjana, not long ago. The man claimed if the slonding gamelan belonged to him inherited through generations. Incidentally, his family had the blood of the art. However, such gamelan had been dormant because no generation wanted to play it. Due to perseverance in inviting teenagers, Suarjana was able to revive the slonding gamelan troupe. Almost every month, his gamelan troupe received invitation to make performance. Though categorized into bizarre art, he did not want to set a particular tariff for the performance.
The strains of slonding gamelan music could become a complement to any ritual. The slonding troupe under his direction was frequently invited to make performance outside Tabanan. According to Suarjana, preservation of the traditional gamelan would be constantly continued. To engender new generation, his party began to teach children the way to play slonding gamelan. On that account, the typical Balinese gamelan would not disappear. With simple method, children could be easily taught to play the slonding.
In harmony with the passage of time, the number of slonding instrument also increased. It was adapted to situation. However, the core instruments remained to be preserved because they were essential spirit of the slonding rhythm. Playing slonding, said Suarjana, needed a sense. Thus, the rhythm generated could touch the feeling. (BTN/kmb)