Par Eliya Simantov
After the exhilarating performance of our Darmaji School Genjek-Kecak Boys Choir, that took place during the 17e of August Indonesian Independence Day celebrations in Ban, it was clear to all of us at the EBPP education team that we should help this group of young boys to develop and expand their obvious talent. Part of our plan was to acquire various musical instruments (mostly smaller percussion instruments) so that we can give our students the opportunity to use them during music classes and participate freely in a musical way in whatever is going on around them. Together with Raoul Wijffels of the Un dollar pour la musique fondation (www.onedollarformusic.com) we planned the contents of the”music boxes” that we intend to be placed in each of our six schools in Ban, to be used in music classes, as well as during other activities.
During a meeting with our longtime friend and advisor Denise Abe, I mentioned the fact that we’re in the process of planning and acquiring instruments for the proposed music boxes, and she immediately replied: “Bien, I know Ed Balma of the Tambour usine in Ubud. He’s a good friend of mine!” As the Tambour usine (www.drumfactory.com) is the biggest hand drum manufacturer in Indonesia, and exports to over fifty countries all over the world, I was extremely happy to hear this. Not long after our meeting, we met with Ed and Gusti (the factory’s quality control man, who is also a professional percussionist) and suggested that they come and see for themselves the work that we do in Ban. Gusti, who is always encouraged by Ed to help and conduct voluntary drumming workshops for various NGOs around Bali, said he will also be glad to conduct a workshop for our students in Darmaji. “Great news!” I told Yeny, EBPP’s Education Program’s field coordinator on the Ceria phone that day, “tell the boys that very soon we’re going to have a drumming workshop conducted in the village!” Plus tard, Yeny told me that when the music team and the young boys from Darmaji heard this news they literally jumped out of their seats with excitement!
On the way to Ban, with Ed’s car following us, we could see the clear blue skies reflected back to us from the mirror-like Lake Batur, located in a giant crater in between Bali’s highest volcanoes: Gunung Batur, Gunung Abang, and the biggest and most sacred Gunung Agung. “I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one!” I said to David, who was busy driving the narrow and twisting road ahead. “I have no doubt at all!” David replied, and in his cheerful way added “it always is!” As we continued along the winding path in between the mountains on the way to our villages, I wondered to myself how will the boys react to this new type of music and performance that is to be introduced to them.
Shortly after we arrived at our mountain office at Daya village I spoke with Gusti and Bawa, (a longtime Tambour usine employee and professional percussionist, qui nous rejoint afin de procéder à l'atelier de percussions avec Gusti) qui semblait être surpris qu'un endroit comme Ban existe moins d'un 90 minutes d'Ubud. Je leur ai expliqué qu'il n'y a toujours pas d'électricité dans le village de Daya, en dehors des panneaux solaires que le pouvoir à la fois notre bureau et notre nouveau Learning Center Bamboo. Aussi, jusqu'à ce que David et EBPP venus autour n'y avait aucune route menant au village, et ainsi les habitants ont dû marcher pendant de longues heures pour le plus proche “marché” (marché local). Ils étaient encore plus surpris quand je ai mentionné que Darmaji, le village où ils procéderont à l'atelier, est toujours accessible uniquement par une piste raide et très rocheux saleté…
Une fois à Darmaji, nous avons commencé par l'introduction d'Ed, Gusti et Bawa à nos étudiants et le personnel, and asked the boys to perform one of their Genjek-Kecak pieces. It was amazing to see how the space in front of the school was instantly filled with the high energy and rhythm of this ancient musical practice. We were all drawn into their engrossing performance for a few minutes and I was glad to see Ed, Gusti and Bawa, in the corner of my eye, being captivated by the proceedings. In turn, the boys were all amazed and overjoyed by Gusti and Bawa’s playing that followed soon after. Throughout the workshop, the boys happily joined along, singing and clapping at Gusti’s behest, while many of their younger schoolmates watched in awe. While Gusti was explaining to the boys along with the other students about drumming and percussion, Je ai vu l'un des jeunes étudiants touchant l'un des grands tambours Djembé taille que nos clients ont apporté avec eux, sentir avec ses petits doigts de la peau de chèvre peau sur le dessus du tambour. Il était de toute évidence la première fois qu'il touche un tel instrument. A ce moment, je me suis senti vraiment chanceux de faire partie de ce projet.
Après Gusti a conclu l'atelier, je étais très heureux d'entendre Ed qu'ils quitteront les cinq tambours Djembé qu'ils ont apportés avec eux à Ban comme un don, ne sachant pas que seulement quelques jours plus tard à Ubud, Ed va me dire que le Tambour usine fera un don beaucoup plus instruments à notre programme de musique, et que Gusti fera un plaisir de venir à l'interdiction d'effectuer plus d'ateliers de percussions et batterie-cercles pour nos étudiants. Sur le chemin du retour vers le bas à partir Darmaji, when I asked Bawa how he feels after this unique experience he answered that he feels like he is “walking on air…” I think all of us were “walking on air” for a while after this first ever-event, that took place that day in Darmaji. We are certainly looking forward to having many more days like this in our villages.