MS. KATHARINA COMMON (Bali Travel News: January 18 – February 7, 2008

“Curious to Know Balinese Gamelan”

Charming and attractive are the first impressions on meeting with Ms. Katharina Common, a tourist from Germany. Her appearance on the island of the gods is not for leisure holiday but for studying at the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar. At the only art institution in Bali, Katharina, born on 22 September 1982, is serious about learning Balinese art, particularly karawitan or traditional gamelan music. “Previously, I once played bleganjur gamelan orchestra in Germany. Starting for this time on, I am curious, to know more about Balinese gamelan,” she observes cheerfully.

In the matters of gamelan music, Katharina confesses to a preference for learning classical music rather than modern. Other than at campus, she also learns much from elderly Balinese artists at villages. She has even whole-heartedly become involved as a member of bleganjur troupe at one of the hamlets in Denpasar. Within four months, this single woman has mastered gong kebyar, semarapagulingan, maniksanti, gambang and gambuh composition. “Similarly, I’m interested in learning Balinese dance and pencak silat martial art since both could spark off my art creativity,” she adds.

Barring traditional gamelan music, Katharina also learns to chant Balinese vocals. Currently she is acquiring skill in malat genre, a kind of vocal to accompany gambang gamelan composition. “By learning Balinese traditional vocal, I hope to be able to strengthen my vocal quality in semi classical and classical music,” she admits while saying that she finds it difficult to learn about gregel and wilet, terminologies of tone in Balinese traditional vocal.

To infuse her performance with spirit (soul), Katharina is not just satisfied to attend the practice but also gets engaged in niskala (ritual) activities in compliance with the belief system of Balinese people. She frequently pays homage at temple together with local community. On last Shivaratri celebration, Sunday (6/1) she also joined the all-night long worship by visiting more than 5 temples in Bangli. “Joining the prayers made me supremely inspired. Not all (tourists) could do those matters, “proudly says the foreigner who loves Balinese cakes.

During her stay in Bali, Katharina thoroughly takes advantage of her time. On her days off, she carries out round trip excursions across Bali, ranging from Bangli, Klungkung, Karangasem, Tabanan, Singaraja, Gianyar,and Badung, thoroughly investigating every nook and cranny of villages. “The passage is really pleasurable.

There is several kinds’ uniqueness I could encounter. I was really impressed with effigy and oblation set on roadside. However, there is no singe brochure giving explanation about them, she comments.


Ivan Flore Moran (Bali Travel News: February 8 - 21, 2008)

“Balinese Gamelan Along With its Various Functions”

Similar to Ms. Lopez from Mexico who is studying Balinese dance, Mr. Ivan Flores is also an enthusiastic student. Their fondness for Balinese art and culture is almost the same, namely originating from their introduction to Balinese art in their home country. It is this fondness then which brings Ivan to where such originates namely Bali. “Three years ago I learned Balinese gamelan music in Bali,” he said.

Not satisfied with that he also searches out gamelan compositions to learn that are different in style from place to place.” During my stay in Bali I have made around trip to some places like Buleleng, Gianyar, and Klungkung to learn some style variants of gender wayang (gamelan instrument usually used to accompany the puppet shadow play) and palegongan music, “revealed this Mexican guy.

Other than having unique, Ivan confesses that Balinese music is closely related religious life. “Balinese gamelan is not just a kind of music for entertainment but also has function as sacrifice to God and here lies the uniqueness and distinctiveness of Balinese gamelan, “he uttered.

His admiration of Balinese gamelan music has made him fall in love with it and he feels drawn to preserve the treasure of Balinese music in his country. “Though I am not Balinese, I also have intention to preserve this Balinese gamelan. I’d also like to introduce gamelan music in my home country so that it would be known by a wider community,” he revealed while ending the interview. His email address is fastmallets@hotmail.com.


IlsePeralta Lopez (Bali Travel News: February 8 - 21, 2008)

“Balinese Dance is My Favourite”

Not just for traveling, most visitors fall in love with the art and culture of Bali island, just like Peralta Lopez from Mexico, e-mail address at elseperalta@yahoo.com.mx.

This girl graciously admits that she is exceedingly interested in the art of Balinese community, particularly its art of dance. “I first knew the dance in Mexico and it was the time when I started falling in love with this sort of dance,” she said. There were so many details to learn and it’s that matter which makes this smiling girl feel that its movement is different from that of other dances. “Movement ranging from the eyes, body, hands, and its musical accompaniment should be in harmony. It’s one of the difficulties I encounter in learning it,” she observed. No matter how difficult the movement is, she feels optimistic of being capable of mastering some Balinese dances. “Amongst them, the legong dance and trunajaya are two of my favorite dances,” she added.

Though she has learned many dances, this sweet girl still feels unsatisfied. “I would like to keep on learning Balinese dances, including its classical dance that are presumably less popular today,” commented the student taking the art of Dance course at the Indonesia Institute of the Arts (ISI) Denpasar.


Nami Sato (Bali Travel News: Wednesday, March 14 - 27, 2008)

“Learning about Balinese Arts”

Travelling to Bali to learn about the culture of Balinese people is the main purpose of Japanese girl, Nami Sato, email address at namii@hotmail.com Nami is studying gamelan musical Instrument at the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar.

This smiling girl admitted that she is confused, not by the difficulty of learning Balinese gamelan music but in deciding which gamelan to learn. “I’m confused about the kind of gamelan that I want to learn as Bali is rich in various kinds of gamelans and all of them are interesting,” she revealed.

Additionally, she is very delighted to stay and study in Bali that has become the home to thousands of eminent artists and has unique culture,” Frankly speaking, I am very pleased to be here among the friendly people who do not hesitate to assist me wholeheartedly,” said the girl who has mastered Bahasa Indonesia and speak it fluently.

“the Balinese community  is very welcoming to us as foreign students who are studying here. They are very polite and sociable. It is this matter making me so happy to stay here, she enthused. Besides, she expected to be given longer opportunity to stay in Bali in order that she could learn all about the existing culture in detail. “If I were given the longer opportunity here I would learn more. And more than that, I like very much the sun of Bali,” she added at the end of interview.


Nicolas Tantelinirina Mamisoa (Bali Travel News: March 9-22, 2012)

“Get Carried Away by Charm of Balinese Culture”

Nicolas Tantelinirina Mamisoa from Madagascar is one of the recipient of scholarship who is now studying in the Indonesia Institute if Arts (ISI) Denpasar.

Vivacious passion for the archipelagic dances has made Nicolas Tantelinirina Mamisoa learn and reside in the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar. The Darmasiswa or scholarship provided by the government of Indonesia has given him a good opportunity to learn more about the Balinese art and culture. “Frankly speaking, after arriving on the island of the Gods I was so carried away with the Balinese culture,” he said when met by Bali Travel News in his campus recently.

Since September 2011, Nicolas as he is commonly greeted has been already familiar with the Balinese dance and gamelan music. Despite having the educational background of high school, he has been able to master Balinese dance and gamelan music, namely gong kebyar. It is strongly supported by his capability of playing angklung music (one of the Javanese gamelans) for two years in Madagascar. “I had learned angklung and kulintang music in my country,” he said. Nicolas claimed to have known about Bali from the Indonesian Embassy in Madagascar.  There he studied Bahasa Indonesia and Javanese music. “However, when faced with the gong kebyar gamelan music, I am bit confused. So, I must attempt hard to remember them” he said.

Aside from learning in campus, this single male born on October 2, 1992 was also active in traditional troupe of local hamlet. Even, he also joined a rindik (bamboo gamelan) troupe at one of the hamlets at Canggu village, Kuta


Marcin Kuropatwa (Bali Travel News: March 23–April 12, 2012)

“Fond of Balinese Cuisine”

Marcin Kuropatwa, a recipient of student scholarship in the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar. When talking about Balinese traditional cuisine, this tall foreigner is immediately happy and smiling. Understandably, the man from Poland having the status as a student a scholarship recipient in the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar is fond of Balinese food. “I love Balinese Traditional cuisine. Spicy is no problem, even it is very good,” he said a laughingly. During his stay in Bali, Marcin Kuropatwa has tasted various kinds of Balinese typical cuisines, starting from lawar, seafood sate, Balinese clear soup, soup of young banana stem, and assorted vegetables with spicy sauces. The food was obtained when he paid devotional works or ngayah, but sometimes he also purchased by himself. Most interestingly, he got a lot of delicious cuisines on the last Galungan and Kuningan festivity.

“Unfortunately, every time I do shopping, I am considered a tourist, so the price offered is usually more expensive. Actually, I am a student now studying in Bali,” he said and slightly annoyed. The man born on June 26, 1979 is now learning Balinese dance and gamelan, and sometimes also takes the courses of making statue. According to him, it was very difficult to learn Balinese traditional art. On that account, other than learning formally in the campus of the ISI Denpasar, he also took training in hamlets or in the house of artists. “Learning Balinese arts are very interesting, though I sometimes have sweet in order I can master the subject quickly,” he admitted frankly.

Even though just having lived for a few months on the Island of the Gods, Marcin with the background of anthropology had been able to socialize with the surrounding environment. Beyond the campus, he also joined with one of the ringdik troupe; he often engaged in the performance, either for purely devotional works (ngayah) or appeared in the art performance.

This even manager in Poland said he was happy with the nature of Bali. During holiday, he and his friends often had an excursion by visiting some tourist destinations in Bali. “Unfortunately, we are often difficult to find directions. It think it is required more directive signs to make easier find the location,” said Marcin who was busy preparing collaborative exhibition with the other ISI students in Ketewel Gianyar next month.


Eva Drasak (Bali Travel News: April 13 - 26, 2012)

“Making Balinese Style Batik as a Meditation Process”

Being curious about the sublime Balinese culture, Eva Drasak was inspired to attend education in the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar. Through the scholarship program provided by the government of Indonesia for foreigners, this Slovene girl was finally majored in painting. “I know the scholarship program from my friend who already accomplished her education program,” she said calmly.

According to her, the department would not be much different from the profession as “restorer and conservator of the art work’ cleaning damaged paintings to make them more attractive.” Indeed, I have studied this profession in college in my home country,” said Eva calmly.

Aside from choosing the major in painting, the girl born on December 21, 1984 also actively learn about the making of batik. She does not only learn in the only one art institute owned by the island of the Gods, but also actively gets involved in batik community specially to learn about the batik techniques.” I study in the ISI Denpasar to brush up my knowledge. In the future, I will combine the painting with batik,” she said seriously.

This vegetarian woman admitted the activities of Balinese traditional batik was not different from a meditative activity. In the batik process until finishing the works was required a high patient. “Patient is really required in the process of batik making,” added the woman who likes to have a promenade on the beach in Bali.

When Eva first came to Bali, she was immediately tempted. She was very fond of Balinese culture that was second to none. Ceremonial procession, dance and music as well as the verdant nature of Bali strongly inspired her to yield superb art creativity. “Genes of Balinese people are very strong. Though they have studied modern art, they did not abandon the tradition. Moreover, the presence of the art college such as the ISI Denpasar consistently wants to preserve and develop the existing Balinese arts,” she concluded.


Maria Kalogirou (Bali Travel News: April 27–May 10, 2012)

“Mingle With Balinese Residents”

Curious in the uniqueness of Balinese art and culture has encouraged Maria Kalogirou to fly to the island of the Gods. Through the scholarship program, this beautiful woman of Greek origin becomes an artist in residence in the Indonesian Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar with the hope to learn all the advantages of Bali. “Balinese culture inspired by Hinduism makes me curious. Therefore, I want to know and learn about the Balinese culture,” she said.

In the art institute, the woman born on February 18, 1977 was interested in learning the art of wood craft and traditional batik style. According to her, the art had a uniqueness heavily influenced by Hinduism practiced by Balinese people. “by all means, the famous Bali is related to the art, culture and religion. Therefore, I also join the people of Bali, especially in their cultural activities,” she said.

According to Maria as she familiarly learning the Balinese art required seriousness. Initially, she found it hard to make sculpture and batik. Moreover, she had a different background, namely the undergraduate in computer studies. Her presence in Bali was the first time. To her, traveling from Greece to Bali was very far away. In Bali, she lived in the Gianyar town of art, precisely in Sukawati.

Aside from learning in campus, she also joined a batik community in the hope she could get additional opportunity to learn batik. It was done by Maria because she wanted to seriously pursue the Balinese art. Maria admitted that learning the Balinese art was just a hobby, not for economic purposes. “Although my scholarship has run out, I will continue studying in Bali. Probably, I will study to dance and play Balinese gamelan, though it should be on my own expenses,” added Maria been very familiar in the campus.

During her stay in Bali, Maria said she was happy to see the existing attraction. She was also pleased to be involved in the customary and religious activities. Even, she also joined in the community activity by wearing traditional Balinese costume. Balinese cuisine was also very interesting so that she was tempted to learn cooking. “Wow.....testing Balinese cuisine is my hobby. I like all Balinese cuisine, including the lawar and its durian,” she concluded


Ono Satomi (Bali Travel News: May 11 – 24, 2012)

“Falling in Love in Balinese Dance”

After watching Balinese dance performances, Ono Satomi, a girl from Japan instantly fell in love. Movement and facial expression of the dancers made her curious so that she was determined to dance them. “My first overseas visit was to Bali. At that time, I was a junior high school student. Well, when watching the dance performances in Ubud, I was immediately interested,” she told Bali Travel News recently.

The Saitama born girl on August 23rd, 1986 admitted the beauty of the dance belonging to the island of the Gods always bother her mind. “I finally learn Balinese dance at otonomori studio trained by Japanese instructor and helped by Balinese instructor from the gamelan music department,” said Satomi who had ballet and jazz background while smiling.

At that time, she learns to dance the Legong Keraton Lasem, Puspanjali, Tenun, and Telek. Being furious a year letter she decided to go learning Balinese dance in Bali. “I wanted to practice the dance from the native origin. Aside from learning to dance from Balinese people owning the arts,” she said seriously.

At the beginning, Satomi learned to Balinese artists by commuting. When having spare time, she would fly to Bali.  By and large, she learned for a week and even one and a half month. “After receiving a scholarship from the government of Indonesia in the mid-2011, I could have long stay in Bali,” added the dancer who is also good at playing gong kebyar.

The girl who loves to eat lawar and roasted suckling pig studied at the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar by choosing the dance as her major. Aside from establishing the basic of Balinese dance, she also explored how to go deep into the dance, so that her performance would be more attractive. “I am also involved in devotional activities or ngayah with Balinese dancer friends,” said the girl who likes to relieve fatigue on Sanur beach.

Indeed, while studying in the campus of Bali, Satomi received the same attention as other local student. Other than ngayah, she was also involved in every single show in the Bali Arts Festival (BAF). In the BAF last year, she danced a bird in a ballet compassed by ISI Denpasar. Now, she would perform Balinese dance to support one of the dance group in Denpasar. Indeed, Bali is no longer strange to Satomi. Together with her former classmate, she often spent holidays to this bijou island. Sometimes she did it with family. Yet, she now often travels alone. “In Bali, I rarely travel to tourist destinations. I prefer to learn to dance because beyond the campus I also learn to dance at Cok Pring, Partini, Susilawati, Ida Bagus Oka Wirjana, and Sutirta. Next year I will learn to play gender (puppet) gamelan music,” she concluded.


Miyahira Mariko (Bali Travel News: May 25 – June 07, 2012)

“Ready to Make a Presentation at Bali Arts Festival”

This Japanese girl is Miyahira Mariko. She is studying in the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI) Denpasar. Her presence on the island of the Gods is driven by her desire to study Balinese culture. Aside from playing gamelan music, this slant-eyed woman also learns the art of dance. “I really love Balinese culture,” she said.

Born in Okinawa, Japan on March 3rd, 1986, this girl admitted to have traveled to Bali for two times. Firstly, she attended a seminar in the American University with participants from many countries in the world. At that time, she stayed for two weeks in Sanur. “This time, I come to Bali to learn Balinese arts. I will continue to stay in Bali in other to learn more about the culture,” she said.

Mariko, as she familiarly greeted, was interested to learn Balinese gamelan music after trying to play such traditional gamelan in the United States. At that time, she attended a lecture in the Hawaii University majoring in political studies of the South East Asia. By chance, there is student learning to play gamelan there. She then attempted to join and finally is addicted to do so.

Mariko said that she was trained by Made Wudana marrying with an American name Annie Reynolds. “I want to study the socio-culture of Bali, so I struggle for getting a scholarship,” said the piano player seriously.

She first played the pemade gamelan by presenting the gamelan composition such as the Gabor Dance, Baris, Jauk Manis, Oleg and all types of mask dance. “Now I am more focused on learning Gender Wayang gamelan that’s why i am joining a class in the ISI Denpasar,” said Mariko who liked Balinese food.

Other than in campus, Mariko also learned to dance from other artist with the hope she could be mastering the techniques and uniqueness of the artists. He learned at Wayan Sueca, an artist doubling as lecturer in the ISI Denpasar; Gede Arsana, an artist from Denpasar City; and I Wayan Rajeg, an artist from Sanur.

Apart from playing gamelan, Mariko who claimed to like dressing in Balinese traditional costume was also good at dancing. She used to dance Pendet, Margapati, Baris, Condong and Wiranata. Other than learning at the ISI’s lecturer, she was also learning at the artists like Ni Ketut Arini and I Wayan Sutirta. In the Bali Arts Festival held from mid-June to early July 2012, Mariko would appear to dance the Wiranata and Nelayann Dance. Besides, she would also appear to play gender gamelann supporting one of the gamelan troupes in Bali.