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Ramayana, Legong, Joged – Devils and Wonders in Bali – 1974
The Gamelan, an orchestra of tuned percussion instruments, has long been one of the major components of Balinese culture. In recent years, cultural changes and the effects of globalization have rendered gamelan performances more of a draw for tourists than a spiritual celebration, but these concerts, recorded in October, 1974 near Kuta, Bali consist of two long orchestral/theatrical pieces. The first was part of a dramatic depiction of the first part of the Ramayana, the Hindu sacred text that portrays the heroic journeys of Sita, Rama, and the monkey God Hanuman. The second is the musical backdrop for the seductive Legong dance, which dates back to the thirteenth century. In both cases, the essential message of the performances are not fully captured in the audio medium, as the orchestras were merely a part of the pieces in which dance and drama were prominently figured. However, the audio quality is superb, with the rich tones of the multiple layers of percussion come through clearly enough to allow the astute listener to create his own visuals to the exotic, alluring sounds of the gamelan.
—Michael Parrish (San Jose, CA)