Category Archives: Church Events

Balinese Dance

This post is long overdue! A while back I had the chance to attend a special service at a Balinese church a few hours away.  The opening and closing of the service featured Balinese dance, and I was asked to record it.  This was all part of my research and learning about this community so that I can better understand and help them.  In a few weeks, I’ll be hosting a three day seminar on music, worship, and culture there to encourage them to think about more ways that their Balinese culture can be a part of their worship.

These two videos were shared on Facebook a while back, but I’d like to post them here as well for those of you who missed them the first time around. Enjoy!

Opening:

 

Closing:

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Filed under Church Events, Dance, Ethnoarts, language/culture, Music, Research

Balinese gamelan…on Sulawesi

In our area there are numerous Balinese immigrants, especially on the east coast of our island.  Many of them are Hindu, but there’s a significant Christian population too and many of them belong to our church denomination.

One of the most exciting things for us to see is that although they are Christians, they have not abandoned their Balinese culture and language.  The church building is in a Balinese style, and they use the gamelan for some of their music.  Gamelan is an Indonesian musical ensemble from the islands of Java and Bali. They have asked us to help them adapt more existing songs so that they can be used with the gamelan and to help them write new songs that they can use in church along with their traditional Balinese music.  We are thrilled to help since this is what we are passionate about!

I visited this church about a year ago and was completely unprepared for what I found.  At that point, we didn’t know we’d be working with them so I was just there attending a special church service.  I shot some video, but all I had was my point-and-shoot camera so the quality isn’t very good.  Now that we’re working with them on developing new music, I’ll be there a lot more and will have much more (and hopefully better) media to share in the future.

In the meantime, here’s their rendition of Kidung Jemaat No. 1 “Haleluya, Pujilah” (number 1 in the hymbook) using gamelan:

This is one of four or five songs that they currently have that use the gamelan.  They are eager for more, because the same songs over and over again get old very quickly!

For you music nerds out there, this particular gamelan is based on a Balinese variation of the slendro pentatonic scale.  In solfege it would be notated la ti do mi fa (in Indonesia,  la si do mi fa) or using cipher notation (kepatihan), 12356 67134 (12356 is how many people casually notate it here, but technically because it is minor you start on la, or 6).  Gamelan is typically tuned to the 7-tone pelog scale or the 5-tone slendro scale, and this Balinese gamelan is of the 5-tone variety but the tuning is slightly different than a Javanese gamelan.

More to come about all this later!  I should be heading out to visit them again next week.

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Filed under Church Events, Ethnoarts, Music, Research

Our church

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by | April 7, 2013 · 10:21 am

Batunjuk

During our last village trip, there was a huge church service and celebration to mark the end of the Christmas season.  Everyone from all over the area was invited and there was a big potluck meal afterwards.  Following that, there was batunjuk.  This is a tradition from North Sulawesi that immigrants brought with them to our area, and the best way to describe it is a good old-fashioned hymn sing.  Everyone sits in a circle inside the church and two people are chosen to start and are given flowers to hold.  They choose the first song and as everyone sings they walk around the circle in opposite directions.  When the song is over, the flowers are given to the person where they stop and those two new people pick the next song.  This continues for several hours, sometimes even all night!  The songs are chosen only from the old, traditional Christian songs that are rarely sung anymore, so it has a nostalgic feel to it.  Even though they were old songs, it was encouraging to see  people of all ages participating.  Coffee, tea, and snacks are served and everyone relaxes and enjoys the singing; occasionally there’s dancing as well.  I shot some video of the festivities to give you an idea of what it’s all about.  The singing went on for hours and hours and hours . . . but it was great fun!

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Filed under Church Events, Ethnoarts, language/culture, Music, religion, Village life

A week in the village

Just after the start of 2013 we headed up to the village as a family to spend a little over a week in our new village house.  It was an excellent trip: we met more of our neighbors, went to church and Sunday School, and generally learned a little more about life there.  The church also hosted a special community-wide service to celebrate the end of the Christmas and New Year’s festivities.  It wasn’t just a church service; afterwards there was a meal, singing, and then dancing (called dero) that went almost all night long.

This blog post is just a random sampling of some of our pictures from our time there.  Later I’ll post again with some video and more information about the singing – it was interesting to see and participate in!

Kara and the girls enjoying the beach. A little rocky, but otherwise excellent:

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Kids playing in a fishing boat by the shore.

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Elizabeth LOVES exploring the beach and wading in to look for special rocks and shells.

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Once everyone got over being shy, we had kids in our house nearly every afternoon:

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Not the greatest picture, but here’s Elizabeth in Sunday School.

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The inside of the church.  For being in a village, it is quite a large church building and the community is very proud of it.

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The church is on a hill, and this is a view from the front of the church looking back towards the beach and our house (not visible).

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Some of the best (and freshest) fish ever.  It may not look great to you, but don’t knock it until you try it!  Here it is chopped up and prepped for frying.

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The local sawmill.  It was really nice to order wood for some shelves and to be able to pick out the lumber myself and have it cut to my specifications. This sawmill has to obtain government permission to cut trees, and they are given seedlings to replant in the areas where they chop down trees.

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The kids playing in the field in front of our house:

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Overturned canoes make great benches:

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And toys:2013-01-11 16.01.18

 

That’s it for now!  Another blog post will be posted later about the singing tradition, batunjuk.

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Filed under Church Events, Food, our kids, Village life

Sepak Takraw

When I was up in the village last week I had the opportunity to attend a multi-denominational Easter service that included all the churches from the area.  After the service there were lots of games and sports played, but instead of arranging teams by church or denomination, they were arranged by village.  This was a great way for each of the churches to come together and also for everyone to come together as a community.

All of the games were traditional Indonesian/SE Asian games.  There was tug-of-war with a huge rattan vine:

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Climbing a greased pole to try to pull prizes down from the top (sorry I don’t have any pictures of the actual climb!).  Greasing the pole: 2012_4_13_Walandano_multidenomination_church_service&games (2) 

The poles upright and ready to climb:

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And last but not least: takraw .  It looks a lot like any other net-based game like volleyball or badminton, but the big difference is that you can use anything BUT your hands.  That means feet, chest, and head are all fair game and it leads to some pretty spectacular spikes made with a flying kick.  The ball is made of woven rattan.  I was absolutely fascinated by the coordination and skill it takes to play this game!

If you’d like to read more about the history and rules of Sepak Takraw, here’s a link to a great wikipedia article.  Otherwise, I highly recommend you check out this approx. 5 minute video I shot of two local village teams competing.  (Sorry if the camera is a little wobbly: I wasn’t really prepared for a recording session so this was all done with a hand-held point-and-shoot camera)  There’s some great plays at about 1:25, 2:20, 3:50, and 4:30.

Takraw in our village

I also got a picture of one player in the middle of a spike/kick:

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It’s a crazy game, well beyond my limited athletic ability!

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Filed under Church Events, Sports