1990 … Wayang Kulit/Shadow puppet music Live

Saraswati Festival at Batuan Temple in Bali – 32mins

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Originally went to Batuan to hear a friend of a friend, Marcu, and his ASTI Gamelan ensemble at the Batuan Banjar for the Saraswati Festival. Soon I was told there was a leading Dalang Master preparing for a Wayang Kulit/Shadow Puppet performance in the Batuan Temple across the road and I was welcome to enter.

I duly did so. There was already a large audience waiting patiently. I positioned myself at the back of the screen and beside the compact little Gender Wayang gamelan group behind the Master Dalang. He was unpacking the puppet figures one at a time and as in a trance appeared to be absorbing their spirit and character before sticking them onto a soft banana (?) trunk by the screen ready to infuse life into them for his story.

The small group played their music in brackets between which the full gamelan performing in the Banjar outside could be heard in the distance. It almost seemed like it was meant to be so. After a long long preparation … the Dalang began his shadow play performance. Just in front of and above the Dalangs head … the large flame flickering kerosine lantern projected ghostly shadows of the animated puppet characters onto the screen.

Unfortunately the battery in my DAT walkman died soon after he began. The show continued for many hours into the early morning.

Does anyone know who the Dalang is in this 1990 recording? Is he still performing? At the time he was said to be “the leading master dalang in Bali”