Archive for Gamelan


Posted in Bali, Indonesia, Java, Photography with tags , , , , , , , on May 7, 2014 by briancarnold

I’ve been back from Indonesia for about 3 weeks now, and the momentum of my trip and discoveries seem to be leveling out.


My projects and goals are defined, and now the work to put them all together will just take time, communication, and cooperation.


And the other day, I had a nice opportunity to help conclude my recent work and adventures; I was again invited to join the Cornell Gamelan Ensemble for their spring concert.


It was a new repertoire for the group, highlighting some different vocal works and traditions.  We had some great visitors singing and performing with the group, Peni Candra Rini, Jessika Kenney, and Pak Harjito.

Sarad Offering in Bali

There was one moment in particular during the performance that seems worth mentioning.  It was early in the concert, the whole group was there together, and the groove and energy of the music were all in place.  I was aware of and connected to the spiritual and sublime qualities of playing music together, that meditative and beautiful core of gamelan.  It’s been about a year and a half since I last played gamelan; it was nice to find that feeling again.

It felt like a reminder of what I have going in Indonesia, the personal importance of pursuing this work and these discoveries.


And I took one more step, to fully wrap up my experience, to symbolize its importance in my life.


I got another tattoo.  Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and creativity.  I think of the tattoo as something like a Balinese offering, to acknowledge and help sustain the success of my projects in Indonesia.

And then I’ve been obsessed with this song by the Jogja Hiphop Foundation.


National Museum (Museum Nasional)

Posted in Bali, Indonesia, Java, Photography with tags , , , , , on June 29, 2011 by briancarnold

Yesterday, I went to visit the National Museum of Indonesia in Jakarta.

My visit here alone justified my trip to Jakarta – even more specifically, the sculpture garden at the museum is one of my favorite spots in Indonesia.

Established in 1868 (officially), the museum houses traditional artifacts from across the archipelago.

Really anything and everything that can be identified as a remnant of Indonesian culture – models of traditional architecture, textiles, ceramics, early gamelan orchestras, Papuan penis sheaths (koteka), keris from Bali and Java

topeng (masks) from around the archipelago, as well a large section about the study of early evolution of homo sapiens in Indonesia (some of the earliest forms of human life have been found in Indonesia, mostly along the Solo River).

Still, the sculpture garden most captured my attention.

The stone carving and architecture of the Mataram and Majapahit empires are amongst my favorite art works; the sculpture garden at the museum is littered with these artifacts.

When I first arrived at the museum, I spent about an hour looking over these stone works, and then after I had made my way through the rest of the museum, I came back to spend another hour sitting in the sculpture garden.

I would get up and change me seat every 15-20 minutes, so that I could focus my attention on different pieces.

But mostly I just wanted to be among them, to be with them, to feel their life, and to feel that somehow these pieces were apart of me.


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