On Bali there are 35 different types of gamelans. Some are exceedingly rare creatures: the gamelan gong beri -- composed of bronze gongs, cymbals, a drum and a conch shell, teamed with dancers in Dutch-style uniforms -- is found only in two villages. Others, like the gamelan gong kebyar, are integral parts of every neighborhood, the ''speed metal'' bands of the island, numbering about 4,000 and counting. (Michael Tenzer in his book ''Balinese Music'' estimates that one group, in an almost unbelievable display of percussive virtuosity, played 800 notes per minute, or almost 7 notes per second for each of the 25 players.)
The arts of Bali have from the start been intertwined with the intense religious life of its people. Virtually every ceremony -- and there are countless numbers of them in the Bali-Hindu calendar -- requires some physical display: evanescent offerings to attract the gods and to delight their people. There are special orchestras, music and dance for the celebration of a birth, others for various stages of funerals. In the village of Tenganan, one gamelan with keys made of iron rather than the traditional bronze, bamboo or wood -- a selonding or seven-tone pelog ensemble said to be a gift from the gods -- is so sacred that only copies of it may be played.
''Music and dance are spiritual musts,'' explained Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik, a physician-prince from the eastern regency of Karangasem, who lectures on esthetics at the arts college. ''The arts are an invitation for the gods to come down and join the people. There is a very physical contact with the unseen, with the ancestors -- as a medical doctor, I can feel it -- which makes the people in the village very happy. That is why the arts will never go away.''
. Warming Up
. Suar Agung
. Jayan Tangis
. Dag Pencak Silat
. Joged Bung Bung
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