Walter Spies – Announcements

I know this is short notice, but starting tonight and finishing on Saturday, I’ll be performing Javanese gamelan in New York.  The first performance is tonight at Cornell University.  The second is at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.  Here is a link to information about this show.

To commemorate these shows, I’m not putting together the smallest sample of work by the Dutch artist, Walter Spies.  Spies was a Modernist who brought Indonesian folk art to the European imagination.

Spies spent time in both Bali and Java.  In Bali, he commissioned the composition of kecak, staring a unique gamelan tradition in Indonesia.

The above depicts a Balinese cock fight.  In some circles, this is considered a religious offering.  Recognizing that blood and gambling are inherent desires of men, these were once sanctioned for ritual events.  Today these are illegal, though police will often turn a blind-eye.

Spies also wrote the very influential text Dance and Drama in Bali.  This was a study of Balinese ritual theatre, dance and dramatic arts.  It was compiled village by village, so it was often used as a travel guide as well.

Special thanks to Chris Miller and Marty Hatch at Cornell University.


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