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Temanggung hosts Javanese folklore event as part of Sindoro Sumbing Festival

Ganug Nugroho Adi

The Jakarta Post

Temanggung, Central Java  /  Sat, July 20, 2019  /  10:05 pm
  • The "kethek ogleng" performance is staged at Java International Folklore (JiFolk) in Temanggung, Central Java.

    The "kethek ogleng" performance is staged at Java International Folklore (JiFolk) in Temanggung, Central Java. OF JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi

    The "kethek ogleng" performance is staged at Java International Folklore (JiFolk) in Temanggung, Central Java.

  • The Balinese mask dance "barong" is performed.

    The Balinese mask dance "barong" is performed. OF JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi

    The Balinese mask dance "barong" is performed.

  • The "topeng ireng" dance takes place at Temanggung town square on July 14.

    The "topeng ireng" dance takes place at Temanggung town square on July 14. OF JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi

    The "topeng ireng" dance takes place at Temanggung town square on July 14.

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The three-day Java International Folklore (JiFolk) event was staged from July 12 to 14 in Temanggung, Central Java. A truly festive spectacle, the event is part of Sindoro Sumbing Festival, which featured 500 traditional artists from various regions.

JiFolk presented five traditional performances to thousands of spectators at Temanggung town square on  day one of the festival, namely kubrosiswo (a traditional dance from Sleman, Yogyakarta, inspired by the spread of Islam in Java), soreng (warrior dance from Temanggung), jaran kepang (bamboo horse dance), barong (Balinese mask dance) and kethek ogleng (ape dance from Wonogiri).

The kethek ogleng dance originates from Takoni in Pacitan regency, East Java, but later developed in the countryside of Wonogiri regency, Central Java. It was named after the kethek (apes) that its dancers mimic.

Featuring 10 dancers clad in white costumes, the dance showcases acrobatic acts, using props such as chairs and ropes.

"[The dancers'] movements are extraordinary, they really resemble apes. Very acrobatic. I just watched this dance for the first time, but immediately liked it," said Wahyudi, 35, a spectator of the dance on day one of the festival.

On the following day, JiFolk showcased Unen-Unen Rengel, a group of musicians from Tuban regency, East Java, who specialize in bamboo instruments, in addition to staging the wulanggatho dance and the gandrung dance from Banyuwangi, East Java.

Read also: YouTube Kids wants to help preserve Indonesian folktales

Foreign artists also performed at the event, including Spanish jazz musician Rodrigo Parejo and contemporary dance performers from ASEAN countries.

Lefidus Malau, curator of the Education and Culture Ministry's “Indonesiana” platform, said Sindoro Sumbing Festival aimed to help provide exposure to art and culture communities in remote areas.

“The government wants people to develop traditional art and culture, and provide facilities for activities […],” Lefidus said.

Temanggung Regent M. Al Khadziq said JiFolk was an important event for Temanggung as the festival provided a stage for traditional artists and art enthusiasts.

“More than merely an art event, this event could also promote tourism in Temanggung, and it could be the foundation that drives the economy for cultural activists,” Khadziq said. (nic/mut)

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