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Kecak (pronounced [ˈketʃaʔ], alternate spellings: Ketjak and Ketjack) is a form of Balinese dance and music drama that was developed in the 1930s in Bali, Indonesia. Since its creation, it has been performed primarily by men, with the very first women's kecak group starting in 2006.[1]

Also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, the piece, performed by a circle of at least 150 performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting "cak" and moving their hands and arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana. The monkey-like Vanara helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana. Kecak has roots in sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance.[2]

History[edit]

Kecak was originally a trance ritual accompanied by male chorus. In the 1930s, Walter Spies, a German painter and musician, became deeply interested in the ritual while living in Bali. He adapted it as a drama, based on the Hindu Ramayana and including dance, intended for performance before Western tourist audiences.

This is an example of what James Clifford describes as part of the "modern art-culture system"[3] in which, "the West or the central power adopts, transforms, and consumes non-Western or peripheral cultural elements, while making 'art,' which was once embedded in the culture as a whole, into a separate entity."[4] Spies worked with Wayan Limbak, who popularized the dance by arranging for performances by Balinese groups touring internationally. These tours have helped make the kecak internationally known.

A kecak dance being performed at Uluwatu, in Bali
Music of Indonesia
Traditional indonesian instruments04.jpg
Kempul gongs from Java
Genres
Specific forms
Regional music
A kecak dance being performed at Kolese Kanisius, Jakarta

I Wayan Dibia, a performer, choreographer, and scholar, suggests, by contrast, that the Balinese were already developing this form when Spies arrived on the island.[5] For example, during the 1920s, the well-known dancer I Limbak had incorporated Baris movements into the cak leader role. "Spies liked this innovation," and he suggested that Limbak "devise a spectacle based on the Ramayana," accompanied by cak chorus rather than gamelan, as would have been usual.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

  • A kecak chant can be heard in the 1969 film Fellini Satyricon.
  • The 1971 version of Kenneth Anger's Rabbit's Moon incorporates Kecak into the soundtrack.
  • The soundtrack to the Coen Brothers' 1984 debut film Blood Simple includes a track entitled "Monkey Chant" which is based on kecak.
  • Dagger of Kamui (Kamui no Ken) (1985), an anime film, incorporates kecak in its score, often in action scenes involving shinobi.
  • Kecak chanting is incorporated into the soundtrack for the Japanese animated film Akira (1988), which also features the Indonesian gamelan.
  • Kecak is heard in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, during fantasy sequences taking place in the heroine's paracosm.
  • Footage of a kecak performance is featured in Ron Fricke's film Baraka (1992).
  • A Kecak-style dance and chant can be seen in the fantasy portion of Tarsem Singh's film The Fall (2006).
  • John Adams' opera, A Flowering Tree (2006), features Kumudha and the beggar minstrels in Act II, which are based on the Kecak. (per Cincinnati Opera pre-performance interview with the composer, 30 June 2011.)
  • A sample of Kecak chanting is in "The Wind Chimes," from Mike Oldfield's 1987 album Islands.
  • The San Francisco art rock band Oxbow's songs "Daughter" and "Daughter Bent & Floating" from their 1991 album King of the Jews, incorporates Kecak-inspired polyrhythmic chanting and clapping.
  • Mike Patton performs a Kecak-like chant in the song "Goodbye Sober Day" on the 1999 Mr. Bungle album California.
  • A sample of Kecak chanting can be heard in the song "Soldier of Fortune" from Manhattan Transfer's album Bodies and Souls.
  • A sample of Kecak chanting can be heard in the Devo song "Jocko Homo".
  • A sample of Kecak chanting can be heard in the Nurse With Wound track "I Am Blind" from the album Homotopy to Marie.
  • A sample of Kecak chanting can be heard in the SNK Neo Geo arcade video game, "The King of Fighters '97" when the gameplay shows Bali arena scene.
  • David Attenborough's 1969 BBC documentary, The Miracle of Bali, on the arts in Bali, featured the kecak in the 1st and 3rd episodes.
  • Ketjak is a book-length poem by Ron Silliman published in 1978 and reprinted in The Age of Huts (2007), in which the author gives the title "Ketjak" to a vast ongoing cycle of works which includes Tjanting (1980) and The Alphabet (2008).
  • An extended Kecak chant scene is featured at the end of Emmanuelle 2.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Kecak from Bali. Produced by David Lewiston, 1990. One compact disc (duration 44:53) with notes and libretto by Fred B. Eiseman and David Lewiston.[6]
  • I Wayan Dibia, Kecak: the vocal chant of Bali. Denpasar: Hartanto Art Books, 1996. vi + 83pp. ISBN 979-95045-4-6.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ "Cultural Liberty Under Spotlight at Women Playwrights", Jakarta Post, 3 December 2006, accessed 13 August 2010
  2. ^ a b Michel Picard. "'Cultural Tourism' in Bali: Cultural Performances as Tourist Attraction", Indonesia, Vol. 49, (Apr., 1990), pp. 37–74. Southeast Asia Program Publications, Cornell University
  3. ^ James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1988), p. 223. Cited in Yamashita (1999), p.178.
  4. ^ Shinji Yamashita. "Review: Michel Picard, Bali: Cultural Tourism and Touristic Culture", Indonesia, Vol. 67, (Apr., 1999), pp. 177–182. Southeast Asia Program Publications, Cornell University.
  5. ^ David W. Hughes, "Review: Kecak: The Vocal Chant of Bali, by I Wayan Dibia", British Journal of Ethnomusicology, Vol. 6, (1997), pp. 195–195. British Forum for Ethnomusicology.
  6. ^ Review: [untitled]. Author(s): David Harnish. Reviewed work(s): Kecak from Bali by David Lewiston.Ethnomusicology, Vol. 35, No. 2, (Spring – Summer, 1991), pp. 302–304. Published by: University of Illinois Press on behalf of Society for Ethnomusicology

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kecak — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

1388 news items

Republika Online

Republika Online
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 14:00:00 -0700

Pertunjukan Tarian Kecak menceritakan tentang Ramayana dan dimainkan oleh laki-laki. Tarian ini dipertunjukkan oleh puluhan penari laki-laki yang duduk melingkar dengan imenyerukan irama "cak" sambil mengangkat kedua tangannya. Tarian Khas Bali ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:07:23 -0700

There was a choir of 70 men who sang and then went into a meditation dance called a kecak. It was extraordinary. What I saw during my stay in Bali proved to be a source of inspiration for my designs. I took a great many pictures and bought lots of ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 04:26:15 -0700

One day we went to a seafront temple where Bali locals showed us the traditional kecak dance, as well as a painting and carving ceremony. At the Uluwatu Temple there were loads of monkeys, too. They were really gentle and we were allowed to feed them ...

Wake, Wind and Surf

Wake, Wind and Surf
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 21:07:30 -0700

The 2015 edition of the Rip Curl Cup is underway, with the Rip Curl Cup Trials run and won today at Uluwatu. With the main event field reduced this year, the battle for the one position up for grabs for was as tight as it's ever been between the 32 ...

Republika Online

Republika Online
Tue, 21 Jul 2015 10:03:02 -0700

ID, SURABAYA -- Sebanyak 20 mahasiswa Universitas Surabaya (Ubaya) akan tampil membawakan tari kecak, saman dan drama tari di Suranaree University of Technology di kota Nakhon Ratchasima, 22-28 Juli 2015. Mereka tampil mewakili Indonesia ...
 
Anime News Network
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 04:37:30 -0700

But when Mouse plays the song, he is just humming several different tunes that aren't rock at all, including a Balinese kecak chant. Raccoon suddenly finds himself participating in the kecak chant, but snaps out of it and says that the "worldview" of ...

Wake, Wind and Surf

Wake, Wind and Surf
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:05:42 -0700

The fabulous local Kecak dancers will then take centre stage before a traditional Wayang puppet show rounds out the evening's entertainment in fine style. This year the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang event window runs from August 1st to 31st, and the ...

The Province (blog)

The Province (blog)
Sun, 17 May 2015 17:49:53 -0700

Normally, I would have called it a day but since I was leaving Uluwatu the next day, I had to go out again to see Pura Luhur Uluwatu ( the temple at Uluwatu) and the Kecak Fire Dance. From what I had read, the temple is best seen at sunset and ...
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