Project Nyora

Preservation of an ancient rice ceremony: performance celebrating traditional arts and customs of rural Sunda, West Java.

Overview

Project NYORA (nyora being the Sundanese term suggesting a combination of voices and sounds), is a large scale collaboration with rural communities in Sunda. Not only will it celebrate old habits and local art forms which fortunately are still remembered by some of the older generations, but it will educate future generations of their cultural roots. In this vein it will engage with over fifty artists (musicians and dancers) ranging from the ages of 16-77 who will perform altogether.

 

Pengormatan Dewi Sri is a traditional Sundanese tribute to the goddess of rice, Nyi Pohaci. Orginally the ceremony which varies from village to village was celebrated bi-annually after the rice harvests in February and mid-August to September; however in recent years this has declined significantly and in many areas has all but disappeared.

Sundanese composer and artistic director Gempur Sentosa was raised in the small town of Subang north of Bandung, West Java has noticed the deterioration of these traditional practices. In an effort to sustain them he plans to create the performance artwork entitled "NYORA" on the 8th February 2016.

 

Your pledge will enable us to cover the essential costs of the project.

On top of recieving some of the great rewards on offer, you will also help cover the costs of:

- any additional accommodation and travel expenses for artists 

- refreshments for artists

- creation of new instruments (including materials)

- hire of sound system

- creation of decorations and properties

- costume rental and / or purchase

- promotion of the event (e.g. banners, posters, press and publicity, etc)

- essential costs to allow the piece to be marked as part of a masters course

 

  

A bit more about Project NYORA

"NYORA" represents the compounding of activities (such as post harvest celebrations, the ceremony itself, cooking, eating etc) and musical interaction (between self, others and the cosmos) departing from the complexity of the social reality into the dimensions of time and space. This work is inspired by the synthesis of these activites and interactions, which in turn establishes the culture of the society, which is firmly rooted in farming.

This work can be viewed as experimental. The sound exploration is derived from the complexities of community activities whilst the process allows reconstruction and re-structuring of arts developed in the local community, through oral transmission. Musical composition is built upon a reflection on the two kinds of reality; namely objective social reality and subjective social reality.

Objective social reality can be interpreted as the spirit of agricultural communities in central Subang, and the voice of these communities. The idea of the content in this work is expressed through the viewpoint of phenomenology towards subjective social reality. It examinines the concrete activities alongside what is seen and felt in the community environment of an agrarian society (e.g. primarily cultivators and rice farmers) . The structure of this work is divided into four sections with each section transitioning into the next so that the preparation does not break dramatur 'red thread'.

 

 

The Performance

1. Part One

Soundscape.

Representation of the activities surrounding the settlements and field-oriented tendencies of agrarian society. Preparation for gathering before the celebration of the harvest. Arak-arakan (parade) combining angklung (hand-held bamboo instruments) and genjring bonyok (processional interlocking drumming patterns). The composition in this section explores the complexities of sound and the re-structuring of these sounds.

2. Part Two

The arrival of people in a specific place for the thanksgiving harvest activities, including offerings to the figure of the Queen Pernyai (Dewi Sri / Nyi Pohaci). Toleat (Sundanese bamboo single reed instrument) ensemble plays arrangments of traditional songs, encouraging the audience to gather in this place.

3. Part three

Offerings (to Queen Dewi Sri / Nyi Pohaci) of gratitude for the rice harvest and as a guide for forming local values. In this case there is a process of reconstruction in the shape and structure of common objects and to look for new forms in them, without losing the essence of their spirituality. There will be a performance of  kacapi pantun, commonly a soloist kacapi player - a plucked string instrument - will accompany bringing a story to life through the Sundanese singing style of pantun. In this section there is a unique combination of gembyung (another traditional drumming style) with the toleat ensemble.

4. Part Four

After the ceremony has finishe, there is a further interpretation for residents which combines genjring bonyok music with the tradtional dance of belentuk ngapung. In this section there is a fusion of musical and physical forms incorperating elements of both genres.

 

More about the Composer / Artistic Director

 

Gempur Sentosa (b.1990) graduated from STSI Bandung in 2012 as a Bachelor in Sundanese Karawitan.

He currently is studying for a Masters in Music Creativity and Composition at ISI Surakarta (Indonesian Institute of Arts).

Sentosa has artistic directed numerous projects - his key achievments being:

Gurgulis ed Banua (2011) Composer

Phytagomusica (2012) Composer and Artistic Director

Svarapati (2014) Composer and Artistic Director

Posesif (2013) Composer

Dharma Sora (2015) Composer and Artistic Director

 

Thank you for your support of this project.

 

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