Sakti by The Bali Purnati Center for the Arts


I spend an inordinate number of evenings at the Esplanade, don’t I?

o o o o o

On Friday, I saw Sakti by The Bali Purnati Center for the Arts, as part of Pesta Raya: Malay Festival of Arts. This weekend-long celebration of arts featured dance, music, and theater from the Malay Archipelago (though only from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, and not the Philippines, Brunei, or East Timor).

The music of the gamelan—a traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali made up predominantly of percussive instruments, such as kettle pots and metallophones, accompanied by wind and string instruments and a vocal soloist—is an integral part in many traditional Indonesian rituals and ceremonies. The music and dance of Sakti, by world-renowned gamelan composer Rahayu Supangga, was inspired largely by a interpretation and re-arrangement of the song “Gending Sriwijaya,*” a song of South Sumatran origin.

Indeed, gamelan music has a hypnotic, shimmering, and unforgettable sound; it contains myriad styles, timbres, and mutations. It was quite the treat!

* “Gending Sriwijaya” as interpreted by the Sydney Philharmonic Orchestra.