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Bali, the Isle of Gods

October 11, 2008

Western travellers and scholars have long been fascinated with the island of Bali, its picturesque landscapes, and the richness of its music and arts practiced every day by ordinary people. They have been especially amazed by the fact that from daybreak the air in the island is filled with the sounds of complicated orchestral music requiring many hours of concentrated rehearsal.

The English playwright Noel Coward, visiting Bali together with Charlie Chaplin in the 1930s, said: “There is far too much music in Bali. … It appears that each Balinese native from the womb to the tomb is creative.”

A province of Indonesia, Bali lies near the midpoint of the southern arc of island of the Indonesian archipelago, separated by only a few kilometers of ocean fromJava, its island neighbor to the west, and by a wider and rougher channel to the east. It is a thoroughly developed agricultural land with water temples and a complex irrigation system supporting the rice farming, and is now the most popular destination for tourism in Asia, with a large international airport and hundreds of hotels.

Many have written about the people’s religious philosophy, their unique perception of time and space, and its intimate connection with nature. The signs of the unity of music and nature in Bali can be seen in the musical instruments crafted from bronze found in the earth of the island full of volcanoes. The entire landscape is suggestive of the score of a linear, polyphonic structure of gamelan music: the parallel lines of rice terraces, forested ridges climbing down the mountains, and the rivers crossing the island. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. renonk permalink
    November 24, 2008 4:12 pm

    I live in Bali. It is the paradise island!!! 😉
    I’m so lucky to be here

  2. June 16, 2009 5:59 pm

    Dear you,

    At the time writing these letters…I do not live in the island of Bali.
    But, I have invited the Spirit of Bali in my life.
    So, I live in the continent of Europe. But I am feeling so In-Spir(it)-ed.
    The spirit of creativity does not know any borders.
    Even borders made of uncountable miles of salty ocean waters.
    I love Bali. I love Vali. And Bali, the essence of Bali, loves me!

    Thank you, Soul of Bali.
    Dengan hormat, terinspirasi!

    Kesenian dan keagamaan: Eka…Eka Asmara.

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