New Music Development with ‘Drum Factoryand Djembe Drums

By Eliya Simantov

Drum Factory's Gusti and Bawa with EBPP music team and students during the workshop in Darmaji

After the exhilarating performance of our Darmaji School Genjek-Kecak Boys Choir, that took place during the 17th 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 One Dollar voor Muziek fundament ( we planned the contents of themusic boxesthat 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: “Goed, I know Ed Balma of the Drum Factory in Ubud. He’s a good friend of mine!” As the Drum Factory ( 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!” Later, 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 addedit 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 Drum Factory employee and professional percussionist, die ons met het oog op het drumwerk workshop samen te doen met Gusti toegetreden) die leek te zijn verbaasd dat een plek als Ban bestaat minder dan een 90 minuten rijden van Ubud. Ik legde hen uit dat er nog steeds geen elektriciteit in Daya dorp, afgezien van de zonnepanelen die macht zowel ons kantoor en onze nieuwe Bamboo Learning Center. Ook, totdat David en EBPP kwam rond was er geen weg die leidt naar het dorp, en zo de lokale bewoners moesten lopen voor lange uren om de dichtstbijzijnde “markt” (local market). Ze waren zelfs nog meer verrast toen ik dat genoemd Darmaji, het dorp waar ze de workshop zal uitvoeren, is nog steeds alleen bereikbaar via een steile en erg rotsachtig sintelbaan…

Eenmaal op Darmaji, We begonnen door de invoering van Ed, Gusti en Bawa aan onze studenten en medewerkers, 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, Ik zag een van de jonge studenten te raken een van de groot formaat Djembe drums dat onze gasten met zich meebrachten, voelen met zijn vingers de kleine geit huid huid op de bovenkant van de trommel. Het was natuurlijk zijn eerste keer aanraken van een dergelijk instrument. Op dat moment voelde ik me echt gelukkig om een ​​deel van dit project.

Nadat Gusti de workshop gesloten was ik erg blij om te horen van Ed dat ze de vijf Djembe trommels die zij met hen brachten in Ban als een donatie zal verlaten, dat slechts een paar dagen later in Ubud niet wetende, Ed zal me te vertellen dat de Drum Factory zullen veel meer instrumenten te doneren aan ons muziekprogramma, en dat Gusti zullen u graag komen voor een verbod om meer drummen workshops en drum-kringen te voeren voor onze studenten. Op de terugweg naar beneden van Darmaji, when I asked Bawa how he feels after this unique experience he answered that he feels like he iswalking on air…I think all of us werewalking on airfor 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.

Students of EBPP's Darmaji School waiting anxiously for the workshop to begin

Ed Balma of the Drum Factory presenting the Djembe drums to the students, accompanied by David J. Booth and I

Gusti and Bawa of the Drum Factory were brilliant in getting our students very enthusiastic about the new drums!

EBPP's Darmaji School's students and guests listen to Gusti, while two students (at bottom right) share their obvious excitment about the workshop

Gusti vertelt over de basics van Djembe drum spelen, met behulp van de Balinese taal, zoals sommige van onze zeer jonge studenten niet Indonesische spreken nog

Sommige van Darmaji School meest enthousiaste nieuwe muziek studenten lid worden van de band

Ed Balma en David J. Booth bespreken van het project, met Darmaji Village en Mount Abang als achtergrond

3 Reacties

Alain & Glenn Collisson

Wat een fantastische kans om te pronken met talent en delen en op te voeden schoolkinderen, goed gedaan Gusti en Bawa uit de trommel fabriek… Hou van je muziek en de drums – Beste wensen en zegen van uw Australian Family – Glenn en Alain XX

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