Fiction Map Of The World- Bali

by Travelbag on 23 December 2014, 12:12PM Fiction Map Of The World- Bali

 

Over the last two or three decades, Bali has joined Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam on the well-trod ‘backpacking trail’ of Southeast Asia. It is almost considered to be a rite of passage for travellers these days, particularly younger ones, and it can be difficult to separate this notion from the true nature of this spectacularly beautiful region.
 
It is time to stop thinking about where you should have visited, and what you should have seen, and start looking at countries like Bali for their vast cultural wealth. This Asian paradise is not somewhere that should simply be ticked off a travel checklist, because it needs to be experienced in the fullest way possible.
 
Essential Holiday Reading
For a light and refreshing read on your next Balinese holiday, pick up the charming Fragrant Rice: My Continuing Love Affair with Bali, by Janet De Neefe. This is a light hearted, witty tome which is designed to act as a basic compendium for first timers – part guide book, part memoir, it is at once personal and deeply useful. It offers reflections on everything from Balinese cuisine to traditional music, art, literature, languages and customs. Whilst De Neefe is actually an Australian author, her contribution to the Balinese literary scene has been immense. In 2004, she established the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.
 
Notable Balinese Books
Whilst there is a strong literary culture in Bali, it can be difficult to source English translations of texts written by Balinese authors. There is, however, an extremely rich culture of artists and writers from overseas, who have chosen to spend their lives and careers in this part of the world. Fortunately for all of the book lovers out there, a great many of these individuals have chosen to base their work on tales of Bali itself, both fiction and non-fiction. For example, The Painted Alphabet, by Diana Darling, is based on an ancient Balinese folk tale, and tells the story of a man who gives up everything to lead a holy life, only to have a witch and her protégé conspire to murder him.  
 
Notable Balinese Authors
Due to the prevalence of foreign authors in Bali, it is perhaps not so surprising to find that one of the most famous writers in the country was not actually born there. The revolutionary writer Muriel Stuart Walker was born in Glasgow, but moved to Bali in 1932, after being inspired by a film called Bali: The Last Paradise. During her time on the Indonesian island, Walker adopted the name K’Tut Tantri, which became a world famous moniker, with the publication of her autobiography Revolt in Paradise. This fascinating account covers the period from 1932-1947, during which Tantri was imprisoned by the Japanese army for two years. Whilst doubts have now been cast over the accuracy of some recorded episodes, this book remains an astonishing testament to the revolutionary spirit.  
   
Notable Balinese Films
The most famous film to feature Bali in recent years is, by quite a hearty degree, the recent Hollywood blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love. It is based on a bestselling novel by Elizabeth Gilbert, and follows a divorcee as she travels the world, in search of truth and enlightenment. The final third of the book is based in Bali, and this is where the vast majority of the film takes place – it is where the forever happy ending depicted in the novel happened for Gilbert, in real life. Whilst it is bound to be a little too soppy for some, it does feature some truly gorgeous shots of Bali, and how can you argue with that?  
 
Essential Holiday Listening
The sound of Bali, and of wider Indonesia, has to be gamelan. This exquisitely arranged percussive music is made up of a vast range of instruments, including huge metal tins, gongs and drums. It is a highly regarded form, all across the world, because it can involve hundreds of musicians, all playing in perfect harmony. This is no lack lustre sound either – gamelan is loud, raucous, and a perfect representation of just how spirited the Balinese people really are. For a taste of gamelan, take a peek at Krakatau, a gamelan influenced jazz band from West Java. This band is entirely unique, because its members play in a traditional pentatonic Indonesian scale, incorporating jazz, blues and even rap into their intriguing sound.   
Notable Balinese Musicians
The SambaSunda band are also from West Java, and are a 14 piece ethnic music fusion collective, with a style which is mainly influenced by gamelan, and other traditional Indonesian sounds. They are not content to merely hark back to the past, however, and SambaSunda are all about combining the old and the new. The band is led by composer and multi-instrumentalist Ismet Ruchimat, a man who has played music with people from all over the globe. It shows too, because their sound is at one expansive and curiously familiar, having taken little bits of everything, from little bits of everywhere.     
 


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