The Miracle of Bali 1: The Midday Sun

I first visited Bali in 1990 on my way between Malaysia and Flores. I stayed in the cultural capital Ubud, which is in the hills near the centre of the island.

I met a young Englishman on the bus and in exchange for giving meditation classes, he let me stay in the top half of his two-story house overlooking the paddy-fields, about 1km from the town centre. The setting, as is normal in Bali, was idyllic.

I was only able to stay for a couple of weeks, but I was so much taken with the music and arts of the country that I attended the cultural performances nearly every night. Many of the performances took place at Peliatan, a well known village and important cultural centre not far from Ubud, which is featured in the video below.

Just recently I came across a 3-part series about Bali made by David Attenborough in 1969 for the BBC, and will show it here over the next couple of weeks. The first episode is a general introduction to Bali, its people and their varied arts.

It focuses first on the gamelon orchestra, before turning to the influence that Walter Spies has had on the younger generation of painters and sculptors, and concludes with the training of new pre-puberty Legong dancers and their first performance.

 

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