I met I Nyoman Gunawan when he was teaching the Salunding at a rehearsal in Celuk for I Ketut Suardana and his group from the Yayasan Suara Dana. He told me he lived in Tenganan and we chatted for some time about the music and culture there. During this conversation he told me about the Gambang type ensemble in Tenganan which he called Terompong Ujung. ( I'm not sure if he had a name for this ensemble ).
I immediately expressed my interest in recording this group and Nyoman said he would be able to organise it for me. Tenganan Pegringsingan itself is an oasis of the Bali Aga people who are descendants of the movement to Bali in the 7th century AD headed by Rsi Markandeya.
This is an interesting story, Markandeya who meditated at Bukit Damalung, Central Java. This hill is to be found in an mountainous area called Dihyang, today's Dieng. The yogi often found himself disturbed by jins and demons, after which he moved to the slopes of Mount Raung in East Java. There he continued his meditations and yoga exercises. Thanks to his diligence, faith and perseverance in meditation and yoga, here he begot divine inspiration. The supernatural voices told him he should render service to the people of Mount Raung. He followed this advice and started to open up the forest on the east of where he was meditating.
At the foot of Mount Raung, there were several villages. The inhabitants were Javanese who were the offspring of Indians and Javanese. These people were called 'Wong Aga', or Aga People. The Aga were motivated by Markandeya to 'produce' (melaksanakan) the supernatural voices. At the instigation of these supernatural voices, Markandeya went went to a place (in Bali) accompanied by some 8,000 'Wong Aga'. There, he found many natural water sources, and instructed the locals to clear the land of forests and to build rice fields. These endeavours, however, failed due to repeated diseases, attacks by tigers and enormous snakes with deadly bites. Seeing these works were not having the desired effect, Markandeya went back to his place of isolation and started to meditate anew on the slope of Mount Raung. He pleaded the gods for an answer how the works by the villagers were to be continued. Again, he was bestowed with divine inspiration, and henceforth departed again to the same place in Bali with some 4,000 men. After his arrival in the forest with his followers, he buried five kinds of metal ('Pancadatu') which were thought to possess the strength to ward off evil forces and withstand supernatural powers. He buried the Pancadatu at the foot of the Gunung Agung, which he considered a holy and 'angker'.
This time Markandeya and his followers were in luck, and their attempts at clearing the forest was successful. Broad terrains for rice fields and agriculture were built, but also places to build houses. The people in his company were given enough land to be able to live and grow their own rice. At the place where they started to build houses, there is a village by the name of Puakan (Indonesian: 'Pembagian'), as a sign that here the land was divided and given to the people. According to mentioned sources, the place where Markandeya meditated is now called Payogan. Not far from this place, there lies a temple 'Pura Pecampuhan' where in former times Markandeya 'membulatkan ciptanya' whereby his works could rapidly be executed. This temple lies at the meeting point of two rivers Wos, west of Ubud. Hence the name Pe(r)campuhan. The name of the mountain is 'Lebah', which means low. The place where Markadeya buried the Pancadatu is considered holy, and therefore was given the name 'Basaki' or 'Wasuki', currently known as Besakih. ( from a transcript of Godefridus Dijkman)
I Ketut Suardana has formed the Yayasan "Suara Dana", which means 'gift of music'.
Ketut is a successful silversmith with a love of traditional Balinese music. He has set up the Yayasan at his own expense to revive old music, translating it to Indonesian and rehearsing a group of dedicated players. He has bought the instruments for 2 complete Salonding ensembles, a Gambang ensemble, a Gender Wayang and even a Rare Saron Luang ensemble. He has also built a large attic to house and rehearse these instruments in Celuk,Bali. The Gambang group plays at many important ceremonies around Bali. He is always keen on having more experienced players join the group with the aim of improving the group itself.
The group he has assembled to play the music are mostly locals and family members. they include; Members:
Penanga Bali: I Komang Mustika
Pemero : I Ketut Pujaadi
Pemetit: I Wayan Asmana
Gangsa: I Nyoman Suarjaya
Pengenter: I Ketut Grantipala
PenyIlah: I Rai Sudarsana
Gangsa: I Ketut Suardana
More about tuning:
Gambang - Bali. A pair or quartet of bamboo xylophones played with double, forked, mallets. The bars of Balinese gambang are placed in a non-scalar order to facilitate particular double-stop intervals. Gambang is used for cremation rites and draws it's repertoire and scales from ancient Kidung literature.
The Gambang playing at Pura Besakih, the most important temple in Bali
Gambang in Dlod Pangkung Sukawati Gianyar BALI
This Traditional Gambang in the village of Dlod Pangkung in Gianyar consists of elderly members of the village. The youth are not interested in learning the Gambang so this will be the last in this village. This music is played from memory, handed down many years ago by their predecessors . The group was joined by a Hindu High Priest (Pedanda) from Sanur ( also in his eighties) and his friends who sing Pupuh with the Seka Gambang .
Pemetit: I Ketut Dayuh
Penyilah: I Wayan Targia
Gangsa: I Made Lanus
Penoro: I Nyoman Mengol
Penanga: I Ketut Cemok