Creativity & Innovation: North Bali’s Signature
Colloquium Musicologicum with Henrice Vonck
Last summer, Undiksha University in Singaraja (North Bali) expressed their wish to set up a research centre for an in-depth and long-term study of North Balinese art and culture in cooperation with the Musicology department of the University of Amsterdam. This research will result in an online database, accessible for local and (inter)national interested parties, and researchers, and aims to revitalize the local culture and performing arts.
Recent studies increasingly show that innovation and creativity are the main style characteristics of North Balinese art and culture, compared to the more traditional and standardized South Balinese culture. Besides that, the region North Bali is a highly cultural diverse area, which led to a high sense of artistic competition among artists. In this dynamic whole, around the year 1915 a new and vibrant – and now omnipresent gamelan style – arose, called gong kerbyar. Sadly enough, the particular North Balinese style went out of vogue and has almost disappeared, because of the economic and cultural dominance of southern Bali.
In her colloquium she will shine a new light on the style characteristics of North Balinese art and culture, and then explain how we aim to (re)discover, describe and revitalise this local culture, and bestow it its rightful place in the artistic world.
Henrice Vonck is a musician-researcher and ethnomusicologist, whose dissertation Manis and Keras (1997) about gender wayang in Tejakula (North Bali) remains one of the few musicological studies of North Balinese music. Since 1987 Henrice is artistic leader of Irama Foundation, which has a longstanding history of concerts, theatre productions and summer schools with renown Balinese artists, like dalang Wayan Wija, dancers I Wayan Catra and I Wayan Dibia, composer I Made Asnawa, and teacher and gamelan maker I Nyoman Sudarna. Vonck was also programme coordinator of the two editions of the International Gamelan Festival Amsterdam (IGFA), in the Tropentheater Amsterdam.
Out of enthusiasm for the enormous diversity of the no longer in vogue North Balinese art and culture, she initiated and organized the International Conference and Festival for North Balinese Arts & Culture in Singaraja (2010, 2013). Following up on the recommendations from the 2013 edition, she is now establishing a Research & Education Centre for North Balinese Arts, in cooperation with Undishka, Universitas Pendidikan Ganesha (Singaraja, North Bali) and the Musicology department of the University of Amsterdam. In her working life Henrice is affiliated as Artistic Research coordinator to the Master of Music of Codarts University for the Arts, Rotterdam. Last but not least she works as a mindfulness trainer at Codarts and the Centrum voor Mindfulness in Amsterdam.
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