Customer Reviews: Music from the Morning of the World: The Balinese Gamelan / Ketjak: The Ramayana Monkey Chant
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on October 17, 2000
Great music and very well recorded for sure, I really enjoyed this cd because, it's nothing like I have ever heard before, packed with energy, life, vibrant and full of sudden shifts in mood. Gamelan gong kebyar or just kebyar mean "to burst into full bloom, lightning or to strike a match" and indeed it does desrcibe this musicial style for sure. Track 1 and track 10 is the ketjak or kecak the monkey chant which enacts scenes from the well known Hindu epic of the Ramayana. Very exotic and unusual even though it had been recently developed and spawned from an older vocal chant used to put girls into trance. The vocal chant is interesting as it shifts in vocals and moods and also the style... pretty good... even better is to watch them perform live and get the experience performance. Track 2 packed with energy and colour from the musical composition used for a dance, 3 is the traditional and rare dance theatre which was believed to have originated from Java, this style is very mellow and quite distinct however the conclusion of the track ends with a large ringing of the gong, track 4 an excerpt from the barong dance which is often performed for tourist, track 5 a very rare and unusual vocal performed by a young girl, quite beautiful and delicate and my favourite was track 6 with the gamelan angklung this track was packed with everything from the quick and sudden intro through to the shifting of moods and compositions and the list just goes on for sure. This cd is great packed with goodies... The quality of the music is very outstanding as well. To record music from Bali was a break through for sure... The booklet contains information about the music but not as spectacular as the cd and music itself... I recommend it for music lovers who like something exotic...
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on October 7, 2000
This is a classic recording. The only grounds on which you can really fault it is that it is just excerpts of these different genres, so each selection is, by traditional Balinese standards, incomplete. But they do shine and pulsate with the different energies of Balinese creativity. The Ketchak excerpt is evocative of far more spiritual, visceral energy than you feel seeing a typical performance these days in the big hotels, or down on Kuta beach, or even in Ubud nearer the old cultural center. The same goes for the other excerpts. A classic recording by a pioneer of fine quality field recording.
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on July 25, 2005
The transition midway through "Golden Rain" made me think "Wow... balinese gamelan is the punk-rock of world music". Probably not really a good description, but this is the recording that turned me on to gamelan, leading to joining a gamelan orchestra.
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on September 24, 2009
I bought this album because I was looking for a good recording/performance of the "Ketjak," the chant for the monkey horde from the Ramayana. I had heard it a few times before, notably in Fellini's SATYRICON, where it was used as the soundtrack for a fight scene. I've heard slicker versions -- the Musical Heritage Society had one called THE CELEBRATED GAMALANS that I really liked, but this one has a special energy. All of this music is authentic folk, performed by ordinary people carrying on a long tradition. This "Ketjak" starts out energetically, then fades out as different pieces are introduced. It resumes at the end of the album, but now the tone has gone from playful to dead serious. Now it's time to get down to the business of protecting the universe from evil. The guys singing the background beat have become a sort of Ramayana assembly line, spurring Prince Rama to victory. These folks aren't performing for tourists, they're completely genuine.

I also love the lullaby (track 5), and the frog song (track 7). But I always play the album from beginning to end, allowing it to work its magic the way it was intended.

One last thing -- apparently demons (butas) can only travel in a straight line. This is why the "Ketjak" constantly changes direction, to cofuse the demons. Good advice and great music for lovers of real folk.
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on May 24, 2001
well I just give my comment to this music, Im a balinese. I like to hear the music from my hometown, it is a part of our energy and powerfull spirits by playing the gamelan orchestra. Besides the hinduism ceremonial music the artists played, I also feel that the international music media are interrested in the morning eastern music than the Techno,...ha ha ha ha!!!!!! Oh well,..I wish ya well and have a fun with this record, if you have a highly spirit and you will have a hardly energy too.
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on October 16, 2014
Interesting, expressive, and very unusual.....
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on January 21, 2000
An interesting recording that is of excellent quailty. All voices and bells and other musical instruments are crystal clear and at the appropiate recording levels. The tonality of the vocal music can to tinny and high pitched at times, hard to the sensative ear, and the majority of bells that are used are high pitched as well. A tough hear if one is used to the deep resonous tones.
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