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Amy Kazuye Kimura

Balinese dance and music group founded in 1979 in the San Francisco Bay Area by Michael Tenzer, Rachel Cooper, and I Wayan Suweca. It has since grown into an internationally recognized ensemble that has toured throughout North America and Bali. Under the leadership of its permanent directors and visiting artists from Bali, its members have studied using traditional methods, foregoing written notation, learning instead through imitation and by rote. The group has performed a variety of Balinese dance and music genres, including gender wayang, gong kebyar, bamboo jegog, and angklung. Its repertoire has included traditional works as well as kreasi baru (“new creations”) by Balinese and American artists, commissioned with the support of public and private funding initiatives. The group’s long-standing ties to artistic circles in both the United States and Bali have positioned it as a strongly cross-cultural organization, mutually influencing both American and Balinese musicians and dancers. In addition to performances, the ensemble has hosted educational workshops to share and promote Balinese arts and culture. In ...

Article

Donna Lee Kwon

Originally from Korea, p’ungmul (wind object) is a vibrant form of percussion band music and dance that features the changgo (hourglass drum), the puk (barrel drum), the sogo (hand drum), the ching (large gong), and the kkwaenggwari (small gong). A complete ensemble also includes a double-reed instrument called the t’aep’yŏngso, flag bearers, and character actors called chapsaek. Based in agricultural village life, this music is also referred to as nongak (farmer’s music) and as such is recognized as Important Intangible Cultural Asset no.11 in South Korea. Led by the head kkwaenggwari player, a typical South Korean band ranges from thirty to fifty members, although similar bands in the United States or Canada are often smaller. A distinguishing feature of p’ungmul is the practice of playing the instruments while dancing in various formations. Although all of the members incorporate footwork and rhythmic up-and-down movements, some performers (usually the sogo players) specialize in acrobatic flip-turns and other dazzling moves. Colorful costumes consist of white shirts and pants, contrasting vests or jackets, and banners of red, blue, and yellow that hang over one shoulder and tie at the waist. Performers traditionally wear eye-catching headwear ranging from paper hats decorated with huge flowers to tight-fitting headpieces fitted with long ribbons that are twirled and flipped into a variety of spectacular patterns. According to native beliefs, ...