In Search of Justice Narratives in Music Performances


Since the Indonesian independence era, the topic of justice has become the concerns of gamelan composers believing that music posseses power to deliver ideals that are deeply conceived by audiences. Through gamelan performances, they can criticize the misconduct of rulers, disagree with the management of natural resources, condemn the behavior of bureaucrats, and promote government’s programs. In a way, music can be used as a means of expressing voices in which people are struggling for justice. Government agencies, party’s rulers, social leaders, and cultural patrons are also aware of how narratives in gamelan influence the minds of their listeners. When portrays social issues, the music explores human rights, social welfares, freedoms, and liberties. The reflections and metaphors that it contains can match audience’s world-view that eventually forms their conceptual turns. In this way, musical ideals are emphasizing the issue of justice among people in the community. Using appropriate themes musicians articulate issues in social, political and cultural domains that result in the concepts of: the balance of status, the recognition of right, the refinement of social conducts, the better relationship between human and natures, and the like. Through metaphors in performances they mediate between what people envisage and the reality they want to manifest in their contexts.

Author Information
Santosa Soewarlan, Indonesia Institute of the Arts, Indonesia

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2017
Stream: Humanities - Ethnicity, Difference, Identity

This paper is part of the ECAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon