Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy birthday to us

You wanted it, we made it happen:

An anonymous donor and Anthony's Hardwood Floors completed the matching challenge.

At the metal worker's, I sat meekly in the van with a daughter-in-law and her kids while Pak Terip and a son negotiated with the pande. If a foreigner shows up, the pande assumes it's for him and jacks up the price. At some point, the beguiling sound of gender wayang sang out to the road and I bent my ear to the crack in the car window (it was pouring). I grinned. It was Terip's prized bold baritone quality. When they arrived in the arms of the son, I peeked and was immediately struck by the smallness of the keys in contrast to the big sound of low pitches I'd heard.

No sooner had he got them home was Pak Terip fussing over which keys would be tuned to get the scale he wanted, and which resonators would have to be tuned or replaced. He was on it first thing the next day, with the help of a couple friends. The unpainted bamboo resonators were replaced because his standard is for the key's width to be just shy of being able to fit inside its resonator. The offensive black paint was not yet dry in places and the diagonal bridges were crudely cut with sharp edges, leading to much cursing.

Here's the money shot, with his youngest son Ketut in the back:

Pak Ketut Arina stopped by to check out the freshly tuned new aquisition. Listen to a selection from their repertoire on my Soundcloud. That's sugar water he's drinking -- it reminds me of the time I asked for water when Ibu Kom offered coffee or tea. She came out with hot water sugared so heavily the stuff couldn't all dissolve and sat in a heap on the bottom. I don't know how Pak Terip has any teeth left -- that's how he has his coffee.

While you're there, listen to this surprising 2-min clip from New Years Eve's performance at Puri Lumbung. It's a cappella and unrehearsed since the sanggar's visit to Hong Kong a couple months back.

Come back next week for photos of the combined ceremony to invite spirits into the new instruments and to spiritually balance the newly built rehearsal space. Pak Terip explained different types of gamelan require different spiritual designation. Gender wayang, used for most wedding, tooth filing, and funerary ceremonies, are more sacred than the competitive gong kebyar and require certain care; similarly, the rehearsal space cannot be used until the appropriate ceremonies have been performed because it's adjacent to sleeping quarters.

A huge thank you from both Bapak and I for the generous donations, and in particular to my family for providing the challenge.

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