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                Om Swastiastu to all of you dear ones in America.  The jegog tour to Bali is officially underway – and our schedule is galloping along with a vengeance!

                The tour truly began last Friday, when all the members of the group found their way to the village of Sangkar Agung in Jembrana, West Bali.  There we met at the sanggar of Suar Agung – Pak Gede Oka’s intimidatingly talented jegog group.  Pak Oka, his father Pak Suwentra, and all the members of Suar Agung greeted us with a major feast, including a roasted suckling pig, and they regaled us with a performance of several thunderous pieces of gamelan jegog.  And then it was our turn – “Now you play something!” insisted Pak Oka.  If you’ve been to Bali before, you may know just how terrifying it is to be asked to demonstrate your skills for a Balinese audience, given the fact that even the nine-year-olds here are serious wizards who could easily battle us to a standstill.  But we launched cold into our version of Jaran Dauh and gave them our best.  With the friendship between Suar Agung and Sekar Jaya acknowledged, we settled into Sangkar Agung and got ready for three days of intense band practice.

Incidentally, over the next couple of days, we attracted the attention of the kepala desa (village head) of Negara, another government official on the level of kabupaten, and a representative from the army.  As Sam points out, if an army officer shows up and the proper response is to play music for him, you must be in Bali.

We’ll try to post some video from the welcome party as well as more images soon (depending on the vagaries of local internet).  Stay tuned!


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