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Penting : A resurrected string instrument  

by on Monday, 8 August 2011No Comment | 1,217 views

Resurrection is the right word to describe a unique musical instrument called “penting”. Penting is Balinese traditional string instrument that is played by picking the string with a pick made of buffalo hide or turtle shell called “pengotek”. The player played this instrument in sitting position by placing the penting on the lap but the recent innovation enable this instrument to be played while standing. This musical instrument is played as accompaniment of many types of dances and other form of musical ensemble.

The origin of this unique musical instrument is still on debate. Some says it was originated in neighboring Klungkung Regency, the others say it has Javanese or Chinese origin. Some Karangasem scholars say that it is an original Karangasem cultural item that its origin dates back to colonial era. At that time, Ducth government held an art and cultural parade called “Ngeraja Kuning” to honor the queen and penting was performed there for the first time. Penting is also performed in Ligia ceremony of Karangasem King in 1930. Another speculation stated that penting came from Lombok along with cakepung, rebana and wayang Sasak performance.

In the 80s penting gradually disappeared and in the 90s penting seems to be a part of oblivion. In 2004, penting is resurrected by I Wayan Widana, S.Sos, I Gusti Komang Teges, S.Pd and I Made Widastra, who organised a penting troupe that most of its members are teenagers. The troupe is named “Merdu Komala” and has performed in Bali Art Festival and other event. Currently this troupe is the only Penting troupe in Bali.

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