An orchestra made up of seven Indonesian-Australians and Made Denis, a Balinese musician touring Australia performed on the footpath outside Lismore Regional Gallery.
An orchestra made up of seven Indonesian-Australians and Made Denis, a Balinese musician touring Australia performed on the footpath outside Lismore Regional Gallery. Cathy Adams

Music soothes the soul

SOOTHING sounds from a traditional Balinese gamelan orchestra brought Molesworth St, Lismore to life on Saturday.

The orchestra, made up of seven Indonesian-Australians and Made Denis, a Balinese musician touring Australia, performed on the footpath outside Lismore Regional Gallery.

The musicians used xylophones, tallophones, kendang drums, gongs, bamboo flutes and stringed instruments to mesmerise onlookers, while Balinese dancers performed in traditional attire.

"It is quite different from any other type of music in Indonesia," Australia-Indonesian Arts Alliance co-ordinator Judith Shelley said.

"These dances are performed as part of the religious ceremonies of Hindu Dharma, which is the Hindu religion of Bali.

"The culture, the religion, the dance and the music are all integrated together."

Mr Denis is the orchestra's leader and has been travelling Australia for the past two years performing traditional Balinese music.

During a workshop on Saturday, he taught Northern Rivers locals the Balinese musical style known as kecak that incorporates chanting and rhythmic arm movements.

Ms Shelley said the workshop and performances gave people an insight into to the "extremely varied, rich and peaceful" Indonesian culture.

"We feel that Indonesian culture is under-represented in Australia," she said.

"We live so close to Indo- nesia but even the people who go there as tourists don't experience the culture."

She also claimed there is a large number of Indonesian families living in Lismore and, as such, the performances reflected the local cultural landscape on Saturday.

Lismore Regional Gallery director Brett Adlington said the orchestra, dancers and workshop were an ideal follow up to the gallery's extremely successful and recent exhibition by Indonesian political artist, Dadang Christanto.

"A lot of artists and activists in Jakarta blur the boundaries with politics quite a lot, whereas this is more about tradition and a musical practice from Bali."



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