Tuesday, August 16, 2011

godogan beating

godogan beating 
a kendang keeps the tempo,
 signals transitions

We are staying in the woodcarver desa of Nyuh Kuning, south of Ubud, in a family compound with the half-Bahasa, half-English name of Pondok Frog, which means "beautiful frog." The specialty of the pemahat kayu who work with chain saws, chisels and mallets in the shop in the rear of the compound is, of course, godogan, frogs: regular frogs, frogs playing the drum, flying frogs, frog masks, and many more, some painted, some displaying the beautiful grain of the wood. The frog has a special meaning to the Balinese. A frog symbolizes transformation, since it starts its life in the water as a tadpole and changes to a creature which can live either in the water or on land. A flying frog represents transformation on a spiritual level. Flying frogs are seen as protectors and are often hung over a baby's crib because the infant is transforming from spirit into a physical body, or in the doorway of a menopausal woman, who is transforming from the physical to the spiritual time of life as she moves into the stage of wise woman. Flying frogs are considered bringers of luck because they can connect and communicate between the elements of water, earth and air. The double-headed kendang drum is held horizontally, played with hands and/or sticks. It is used to keep the tempo, to signal paralihan, transitions, between sections and to signal suwuk, the end of the piece. Thus the image of a frog, representing transformation, playing a drum, signaling transition, is a powerful symbol. A Balinese legend relates how the kendang came to earth, as the wheel from the chariot of the goddess of the moon. The drum landed in a tree and shone so brightly that it prevented a band of thieves from going about their unlawful purpose. The drum is another powerful means of communication, both with the living and the spirits of ancestors and the gods. So a frog playing a drum is especially auspicious. A popular dance often performed at weddings in Bali is the Godogan dance, based on the story of the prince-frog. In the Balinese version, a prince of Jenggala who was fond of catching dragonflies disappeared in a dense forest near an erupting volcano. A few years later a frog emerged which was believed to be the reincarnation of the lost prince. One day the prince-frog encountered a beautiful princess of Daha, fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. Unable to fulfill this dream, the frog committed himself to the ascetic life, but by the blessing of Lord Wisnu (Vishnu in Sanskrit) he was turned back into a handsome young man.

No comments:

Post a Comment