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WAYANG GOLEK Spectacular puppetry and gamelan from West Java

Enter a magical and enthralling world of Javanese legend brought to life through the master puppetry and music of West Java’s leading Wayang Golek troupe Giri Harja III led by Asep Sunandar Sunarya, Sunda’s most celebrated dalang (puppeteer). Steeped in a long family tradition of dalangs, he is a captivating storyteller, skilfully manipulating his elaborately carved and decorated puppets through raucous fight scenes, where puppets are thrown and spun in the air, to complex martial arts movements and the delicate and subtle expressions of traditional dance. Asep is particularly loved for his humour, using trick mechanisms in the puppets and hilarious references to every day life to entertain audiences of all ages. The accompanying gamelan music is lively and varied, characterised by dynamic dance drumming contrasting with music of incredible subtlety and beauty.

The troupe
Asep Sunandar Sunarya dalang (puppeteer)
Dedeh Herawati juru kawih sinden (female vocal)
Wandi Suhendi saron I
Asep Suhanda saron II
Dadan Suhendar demung
Dinar Mustika peking
Arief Nugraha R gambang
Endang Rahmat kendang
Aip Wiganda rebab
Akep Rahmat bonang
Cipta Dewa canoli I
Nenah Hayati canoli II
Dedi Rosida gong
Dedi Rosida wiraswara (male vocal)

Wayang Golek is a traditional form of puppetry from Sunda, West Java. Unlike the better-known leather shadow puppets (wayang kulit) which are found in the rest of Java and Bali, wayang golek puppets are made from wood, and being three-dimensional do not use a screen. They simply use a banana palm in which the puppets stand, behind which one puppeteer (or dalang) is accompanied by his gamelan percussion orchestra with (in Indonesia) up to 20 musicians. The musicians are guided by the drummer, who in turn is guided by signals which the dalang gives whenever there is a change of mood or pace required.

Traditionally these shows are performed for at least six hours during the night, attracting an adult audience of all social classes. Originally these shows might be performed, (for example), to appease the gods, to offer thanks or ask protection for a harvest or to exorcise evil spirits. They also continue to be performed at circumcision or wedding parties, or to events such as the anniversaries of large businesses. The wayang golek performance becomes a social event around which there may be many stalls selling refreshments and other small items, and the audience come and go as they please, watching or listening from all sides. They particularly enjoy the clown scenes, when much tomfoolery and satire take place.

The stories are usually based on the epic stories of the Ramayana or Mahabharata, originally Hindu epics from India, which later were adopted and adapted to suit Muslim teachings. (Only in Bali wayang kulit are still used within the Hindu faith). The six hour show of wayang golek does not tell the whole story of these epics. Instead one story might be chosen from a tiny part of the whole epic, and there are many stories within stories. Sometimes new stories are also created, but the history of the characters in the original epic is always respected. After a new story has been performed for some years, this too might become a part of the established fact/storybank(pakem) which other dalang then draw upon. Wayang golek storytelling is therefore like a tree which continues to grow many new branches from the same long-established trunk.

In Indonesia people are familiar with the different types of character appearing in the stories, which can be recognised by the size, shape colour and angle of their eyes and nose and the way they walk, talk, sing, dance and fight. It is a highly respected art form, and continues to thrive as a vibrant living tradition, offering a coded philosophy within which there is something for everyone, rich or poor, politician or artist alike.(

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice info mengenai wayang goleknya...!!!salam kenal z gan