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va - bali 1928: anthology: the first recordings (cd)


ARTIST // various
LABEL // world arbiter (us)
CAT // wa2018cd


A compilation from all five of World Arbiter's volumes of the complete Balinese recordings from 1928, newly remastered in 2015 and released for the first time since the days of 78-RPM shellac. Performances of gamelan gong kebyar, semar pagulingan, gender wayang, palégongan, gambangam pajogédan, gambuh, angklung, suling, tembang, kidung, kakawin, arja geguntangan, janger, cepung, unaccompanied vocals, and topeng. When composer Colin McPhee heard some 78s in New York, brought over by anthropologists just returning from the Dutch East Indies, he immediately set out for Bali and spent several years there, immersing himself in local traditional music and penning definitive texts on their practices. A local record store had discs cut only a few years before his arrival, and soon after McPhee bought his collection, a drunken warehouse manager, faced with the fact that no one on the island owned a record player, destroyed his entire unsold disc inventory out of rage. McPhee's rescued discs remain as some of the only surviving copies of a recorded legacy that even the Balinese never accessed. World Arbiter has collaborated with ethnomusicologist Edward Herbst to locate all known and unknown extant recordings, texts, and context, an Indiana Jones-style global search begun in 1998 that ended up with a Mellon Foundation grant covering restoration, publication, and in situ activities to find anyone alive who was linked to the discs, including a 98-year-old singer who proofread Herbst's transcriptions of her discs. The project went further through McPhee's field notes, photos, and his silent films shot in the 1930s of dancers and ensembles, all accessible on Arbiter's website. The restoration and publication of a complete lost legacy is now a cultural repatriation for the Balinese and listeners everywhere. This anthology also reveals how McPhee placed Balinese genres into Western music, a move that led to the styles of Reich, Riley, and Glass, making McPhee the godfather of minimalism. Includes performances by Gamelan Gong Kebyar Belaluan, Denpasar; Gamelan Gong Kebyar Pangkung; Gamelan Gong Kebyar of Busungbiu; Ida Bagus Oka Kerebuak; Ida Boda; Ni Lemon; Ida Bagus Wayan Buruan & Ida Madé Tianyar; Gamelan Semar Pagulingan of Banjar Titih, Denpasar; Gamelan Palégongan of Banjar Tegal, Kuta; Gamelan Gendér Wayang of Banjar Tegal, Kuta; Gamelan Pajogédan; Gambuh of Sésétan, Denpasar; Gamelan Angklung Kléntangan of Sidan; Gamelan Angklung of Pemogan, Denpasar; Arja Geguntangan of Belaluan, Denpasar; Jangér of Kedaton, Denpasar; Jangér of Abian Timbul, Denpasar; and Suling of Ubud, Gianyar.

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