Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gamelan Performance Ritual

I recently had an opportunity to witness/participate in (and photograph) a performance ritual built as a visual story upon an Indonesian gamelan. It was an ambitious undertaking, constructed with volunteers in just a few hours with no opportunity for a full rehearsal and performed in an open air pavilion.


The story - performed as ritual for a neo-Pagan audiance - centered around the Goddess Hecate, and her tempestuous encounters with Baron Samedi and Rangda. The storyline of this diaspora pantheon was not always clear, but the symbolism employed throughout certainly created a mood of the Divine's relationship to human life and death.


The nearly two-hour story was enhanced by a bevy of dancers who filled multiple roles; as entertainers and attendants to Hecate. Instrumentation strayed from traditional Indonesian gamelan to include doumbek and other hand drums such as a riqq or tar (I could not identify them properly).


As mentioned, the symbols of death and the underworld were present throughout. As the ritual/performance drew to a close, the audience/congregation was encouraged to approach and receive a personal benediction from Hecate. Many chose to do so. All in all an interesting ritual experience. There are more photos in this SLIDE SHOW.

1 comment:

  1. Great write up! It was truly an honor to participate in this ritual.


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