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Genjek: Jokes in a Song  

by on Tuesday, 18 August 2009One Comment | 1,575 views
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One of many social art performances that are originated from Buleleng is Genjek. The word “genjek “is derived from the word “gonjak” means joke. It was born as a kill-time activity; it started through talking and accompanied by the tuak (sweet wine made from the coconut palm flower) then developed to a kind spontaneous singing performance.


Nowadays the genjek can be used as an extension of a person’s artistic expression as well as a medium for relaying information. The rapid popularity of genjek is understanable since one is free to create one’s own lyrics. Joy, is the basic characteristic of genjek, the joy of genjek comes from the lyric of its song. Often these lyrics take the form of love, bawdy jokes on everyday activities, criticism of politics, modern times, people’s changing values and so on. The public can easily relate to these messages, due to genjek’s simple and accessible form. Moreover, genjek lyrics always have the local audience in fits of laughter.

The unique thing in genjek is that there is a custom to drink palm wine (from palm tress) before they perform the genjek. The main purpose is to make the song they sing more attractively. It is believed that the quality of the song depends on the level of intoxication of the performers. High level of intoxication means a high quality song. The genjek is performed by a group of men (usually 6 to12) sitting in a circle. The genjek starts out with a solo vocalist accompanied by drummers, gong, bamboo xylophone & flute. The introduction is exquisitely beautiful but suddenly a cue is given and the room bursts into a rousing cacophony of vocal counterpoint. The singers are actually performing vocal drumming & percussion. A joged (traditional flirtation or friendship) dance sometimes accompanies the genjek performance to heat up the show.

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