It has been a successful start so far. I’ve finally seen all my friends and reconnected with Bu Candri, started my voice lessons, had many of my questions answered, learned and memorized three songs on the grantang (rindik music) with two teachers, attended more ceremonies, as well as relaxed, laughed and smiled a lot.
I was concerned for my productivity after I last wrote not only because the time had already flown by just doing my schoolwork, but also because the next day, after I was ready (rearing to go, as I’m sure you can imagine me), the rain started pouring so heavily that I couldn’t go anywhere! You will see by the pictures a bit of what it was like, but even by car it would have been difficult to see the road, so I ended up just staying at home, relaxing… I suppose not a bad way to spend a day. And now that I’ve accomplished much of what I’m here for, I can feel even better about it. But that’s the wonderful thing Bali teaches me: sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes it’s ok to accept that. Relax and enjoy life. Accomplishment can coexist.
My first lesson with Bu Candri was spontaneous. When I came to visit her the first time, I wanted it to be a surprise, so I didn’t call, I just drove the motorbike there hoping that she’d be around, but when I arrived she was out. Bapak (Dad) was there (her husband), and was so excited to see me. He invited me into the kitchen (of course) and told me to eat (yes, told). He kept going on excitedly “this is your home, we are your family, I am your Dad, if you want sugar it is here, if you want coffee, it is here, if you need more sugar, if you want rice, if you are hungry… I am your Balinese dad, we are your family… please take whatever you need”, all with an excited, breathless voice in his happiness to see me again. I ate while we talked (all in Indonesian, as I don’t have Leslie’s help this time!) and then he went off to do some chores. When Ibu arrived, I peeked out of the kitchen and when she saw me it was instant humongous smiles for both of us. We hugged, she ate and then we sat and talked for a while, and both of us couldn’t stop smiling. She had a lesson scheduled with a girl from Japan, Chisa, who is also a friend of mine here. Bu Candri had said this summer that Chisa and I were like her daughters, and when we all reconnected, I still felt that way. Chisa has studied with Ibu for years and years, and lives part time in Japan and part time in Bali. She has a friend (also Japanese) studying with Bu Candri right now and the two of them arrived and invited me to practice with them. Both of their voices are HUGE and so is Ibu’s, and I felt malu (shy) to sing with them, but I did anyways. It was so powerful to sing this style of music with 3 other big voi es. I felt like we were shaking the clouds.
The next day (and since then) I have been learning about phrasing and when to come in with the gamelan, also, learning more about the Dalang voice (shadow puppet) and getting some more idea and practice with that technique. I would really like to post a clip next time so you hear it. It’s pretty amazing, and Bu Candri is a real master. She can make you laugh, cry, feel angry, with one note, one look and one timbre change. Leslie can vouch for me on that one! Studying with her is so much fun.
The rindik (grantang) music I am learning is also really fun. I didn’t expect to learn much of it here, but I am finding that I can’t stop practicing it when I have free time. Pasek, one of my teachers, lent me one to keep in my home here 🙂 It is so relaxing to play because of the sound of the bamboo, but it’s also really challenging for the mind because it is two handed with lots of syncopation. Patience and coordination are required. However, I am finding a good patience in myself with this. I get lost practicing and don’t think about the time at all, just the tone of the bamboo, the coordination and the calm poise I must play with. I am going to see if I can bring one back so that I can practice in Vancouver. I will try to post a clip of this later too.
Tomorrow I have a lesson with Bu Candri in the morning, and Pasek in the early afternoon. Then I will go enjoy the beach. Haven’t seen it yet this trip! My favourite nasi campur (mixed rice) is in Candidasa. It is a beautiful place to relax and swim. I will update you with some pictures next time I write.
For now, I’m off to home again to do some reading and then get a good night’s sleep (although I just finished drinking a wonderful cappuccino at Mingle here at 11pm). Sometimes I don’t even feel like sleeping. I’m loving Bali this time. A lot.
Hope everyone is doing well. Hugs to everyone from ME.