Mr. Ciiiaaat (I Made Agus Wardana) is an outstanding Balinese musician, and in recent years he has developed a new vocal art form he calls gamut (or gamelan mulut), which has attracted much attention in Bali. In this form, a single performer sings the gamelan music, a Balinese traditional ensemble originally consisting of 20 or more players, by recording his voice over and over again using looper and multichannel recording.
This new music first gained attention in Bali in 2020, in the early days of the COVID-19 craze, when the slogan “Ngoyong Jumah” (Let’s stay at home) was called for in Bali, and many performing artists were deprived of their activities. At that time, Mr. Ciaaattt himself used his home as a stage to perform voice gamelan and dance to his music. His video work was greeted with fresh surprise by the public and spread mainly through SNS in and outside of Bali.
The invitation for him this time provided an opportunity to consider the appeal of Balinese musical arts, which change flexibly with the times, and the influence of the pandemic on Balinese performing arts, through participatory workshops and performances that shed light on his art from various angles and provided the experience of participating in it. Mr. Ciaaattt had lived in Belgium for more than 20 years until a few years before the pandemic. He has introduced Balinese performing arts in Belgium and neighboring countries, collaborating with local performers, and teaching local gamelan music performers. Having spent many years away from his local community in Bali and practicing cultural exchange through performing arts in a foreign country, Mr. Ciaaattt has accumulated a wide variety of ideas and experiences in communicating with people of different cultural backgrounds through the performing arts. Through his art, Mr. Ciaaattt has given us many hints on what are effective gestures, behaviors, and postures in introducing distant culture, understanding different cultures, and building connections with cultural others.
Event publicity poster
A summary of each event is as follows
① Anthropology Café – Experience the Kecak and Voice Gamelan of Bali.
Date and Time: Saturday, November 25, 2023 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Place: Room 306, ILCAA
After a demonstration of voice gamelan and mouth harp playing by Mr. Ciaaattt, he and the participants performed kecak with elements of voice gamelan. Participants enjoyed an improvisational dance with masks as they moved their bodies to the rhythm of the kecak.
② Anthropology Café – Experience the Kecak of Bali.
Date and Time: Friday, December 1, 2023 17:45-19:15
Place: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Library 4F Lab
The pattern of the Kecak chant and the singing part were practiced and demonstrated with the participants. He illustrated the rhythmic pattern of each part of the Kecak and explained that all the parts are nested together to create a single piece of music. At the end of the session, participants enjoyed an improvisational dance with masks as they moved their bodies to the rhythm of the kecak.
③ Performing Arts Performance & Mini-Lecture “Let’s Enjoy Balinese Music and Musical Drama”
Date and Time: Sunday, December 3, 2023 15:30-17:30
Place: Prometheus Hall, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
１．Gamelan Geguntangan (Performed by Mametangan)
２．Balinese Dance Panyembrama (Performed by Indonesian Dance Club of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
３．Mini-lecture “Balinese Performing Arts and Voice Gamelan under Corona Situation” (given by Yukako Yoshida)
４．Demonstration of Voice Gamelan (Performed by Ciaaattt)
—- breaks —
５．Musical Drama Janger (Performed by Ciaaattt & Mametangan & Indonesian Dance Club)
With the cooperation of Mametangan, a Japanese group performing Balinese arts, and the Indonesian Dance Department of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, we presented a performance centering on Ciaaattt’s voice gamelan and a collaborative musical drama using it, in addition to the so-called traditional Balinese arts. In her lecture, Yoshida explained that voice gamelan is a new genre of performing arts that attracted attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, that it is possible to read expressions that take advantage of the various restrictions in stay-home period, and that Ciaaattt’s experience of leaving the local Balinese community and practicing cultural exchange through performing arts in a foreign country for many years might have been useful during his stay-home period when he was cut off from access to musical instruments and performing companions. The event provided an opportunity to reflect on themes such as traditional performing arts and innovation, the collective and the individual in the performing arts, the performing arts and place and space, and the impact of pandemics on the performing arts.
The voice gamelan performance in the collaborative musical drama “Janger” can also be viewed at the following URL
Jointly sponsored by:
- ILCAA Core Project “Anthropological Inquiry of Sociality: Dynamics of Tolerance/Intolerance in Transcultural Contexts”
- TUFS Field Science Commons, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Topic-Setting Program to Advance Cutting-Edge Humanities and Social Sciences Research) “Overcoming social division and achieving diversity through embodiment”(Principal Investigator: Ikuya TOKORO (ILCAA) )
- Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) “Performing arts nurtured in the “Time of Corona” -Response to the crisis, negotiation on physicality, and their positions in each society” (Principal Investigator: Yukako YOSHIDA (ILCAA) Project number: 21H00643)