Dangdut, Rap, Dogheads: Teater Garasi Offers Modern Take of Gandrung Banyuwangi

Gandrung is traditionally a three-act theatre play mixing normal strain and dances internal to a Osing people of Banyuwangi, East Java. The 3 acts are called jejer, paju and seblang subuh.

According to internal stories, gandrung was combined by a initial monarch of Banyuwangi called Mas Alit. Gandrung troupes roamed a country, visiting hamlets of war-torn Osing people who had to rush from their homes as a Blambangan Kingdom — a final Hindu dominion in a area, flourishing until a 17th century — fell into decline.

Behind a fad it brought as entertainment, gandrung spoke of rebellion and survival. “Osing” itself literally means “no,” a sign of a tribe’s intrepid onslaught opposite newer powers, including a challenging Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit Kingdom, a Kingdom of Bali, a Mataram Sultanate and afterwards right during a end, a Dutch East Indies Company (VOC).

Banyuwangi’s Dark History

Yennu, a internal of Banyuwangi, used gandrung as a height not usually to retell chronological tales of his birthplace, though also to demonstrate his memories of a place and give glimpses of his perspective on complicated Indonesia.

“We can use gandrung to speak about anything though ruining a composition. we wish to uncover steady patterns of duress and assault in Indonesia. We have to remember, Blambangan Kingdom also collapsed underneath domestic pressure,” he said.

Yennu’s complicated take on gandrung was partly desirous by a period of genocides that a people of Banyuwangi gifted in a second half of a twentieth century: a 1965-1966 anti-communist pogrom, a “petrus” killings in a early 1980s and a 1998 “ninja-style” killings of internal leaders indicted of being black sorcery practitioners.


In 2008, Yennu collaborated with artists from other disciplines, including dalang (puppet master) Ki Catur Kuncoro and sinden (Javanese normal uncover singer) Soimah. Their categorical theme was a mostly aroused domestic conflicts within a Mataram Sultanate.

However, Yennu never felt confident with a form of a collaborations.

“This has been a prolonged process. we roughly gave up. Then we went home to Banyuwangi and talked to a people there. That was when my memories of a place were rekindled and we satisfied that gandrung was a ideal form for what we wish to convey,” Yennu, who also plays guitar and synth for indie rope Melancholic Bitch, said.

Reinventing Gandrung

Yennu took a normal gandrung’s structure and domestic summary to a new level. In muziktheater, that goes over musicals and operas, a story is essentially told by a music. In “Menara Ingatan,” that took a form of a mash-up of electronic music, normal gamelan and dangdut — with a sinden and a womanlike rapper singing lines in Indonesian and Javanese. There were also some acoustic ballads to mangle adult a rhythm.

The actors and musicians also used tillage and automatic implements like hoes and crowbars as percussion instruments to emanate healthy rhythms during a show.

Dangdut koplo, a various of dangdut that mashes adult dangdut rhythms with coma and mostly facilities amorous dances, was also extrinsic in a second act.

“Koplo was featured in paju [the second act] since traditionally it’s a place to speak about encounters and clashes. It’s a ideal place to speak about today’s cocktail phenomena in a play. Originally, paju featured dancers throwing their sashes around members of a assembly accompanied by kendang [drums] music,” Gunawan Maryanto, co-director of a play and one of a performers in a show, said.

Instead of charming dangdut dancers, actors wearing dog masks danced during a koplo scene.

“The impulse for that was a Minak Jinggo character, one of a kings of Blambangan. He was ostensible to have a tellurian physique and a dog’s head. He represents a unwillingness and rebelliousness of a Osing people. Mataram and Bali couldn’t better them. It was usually a VOC that finally managed to conceal them,” Gunawan added.

Gunawan, an actor best famous recently for his award-winning opening as producer Wiji Thukul in a biopic “Istirahatlah Kata-Kata” (“Solo, Solitude”), played a large partial in a account development.

“Though many of a book was music, a melodramatic opening still indispensable events. We had to work out what forms of events to embody and how a lyrics could conform to them. The routine was especially intuitive, interpreting how a strain done us feel and building an eventuality on tip of that,” pronounced Gunawan, whose communication book “Sejumlah Perkutut Buat Bapak” (“Turtledoves for Father”) won a Khatulistiwa Literary Award in 2010.

The staged events concerned actors and dancers and were not indispensably interconnected, though any served a purpose.

“There are group knocking on doors. They could be husbands who never came home since many Osing people were distant by fight from any other. The car onstage also represented that separation. Gandrung was a opening on a move, so a car represented a story and also a story of a Osing people as incessant refugees,” Gunawan said.

A sum of 14 artists from opposite disciplines were concerned in “Menara Ingatan,” including Belkastrelka thespian Asa Rahmana, playwright Ugoran Prasad and visible artist Timoteus Anggawan Kusno.

The opening incited out to be a warn hit. Initially, there was usually one uncover scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Since sheet engagement exceeded expectation, a organizers motionless to supplement another uncover on Thursday afternoon.

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