Evan Ziporyn has dedicated his life to bringing the most exciting ideas from world music to the West. In last year's groundbreaking hit solo CD, This is Not a Clarinet, Ziporyn's Western clarinet merged seamlessly with sources from Japan, Bali, East Africa; creating a kind of music that transcends nation or group in a totally convincing and utterly personal way.
In his new CD, ShadowBang, Ziporyn teams up with Balinese singer and shadow puppet master Wayan Wija to create a unique cross-cultural music theater event. ShadowBang combines the magic realism of a Balinese folk narrative with the raucous American sound of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Singing, shouting, hard-driving tunes, ringing electric guitar - the result is a riot of sound and virtuosity.
"The intensity of Ziporyn's music rises and falls, but always carries listeners along; it's got a natural, unhurried quality that transcends idiom."
-Harvey Pekar, PRI Public Arts
"Evan Ziporyn is hardly the first American composer to obsess over the Balinese gamelan orchestra, but Ziporyn brings a unique perspective to his cross-cultural m?lange... a provocative prism of sound and culture."
-Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press
About the Music:
Shadow Bang is a theater piece combining aspects of Balinese traditional shadow puppetry with western stage design and music. Like all Balinese wayang, it is based the Hindu epics, in this case a very tangential episode from the Ramayana. In keeping with tradition, Pak Wija embellishes and digresses, creating stories within stories and focusing on Balinese folk characters who have been inserted into the original Indian story over the years. While the gods and heroes of Hindu mythology sing and speak in stylized Kawi language, the Balinese characters - Twalen, Merdah, Sangut and Delam - speak in everyday language (in this case, English) and serve as a bridge between the cosmic and the mundane. This is a live recording, trimmed of sections that require dialogue or visuals to be enjoyed. A brief synopsis:
SCENE 1 - the brothers Sangut and Delam philosophize and insult one another while waiting for their master, the demon Dundhubhi.
ANGKAT - Dunhdubhi's army goes forth, seeking suitable enemies to conquer.
OCEAN - Arriving at water's edge, the brothers stand in awe, waiting for Dundhubhi to challenge the Ocean itself to battle. Ocean declines the challenge: its liquid form and ebb-and-flow make it too passive. It suggests Mountain as a more worthy opponent, and the demon departs.
MEDITASI/PESTA RAKSASA - A hermit wanders atop the mountain, preparing to meditate. He is interrupted by Dunhdubhi's army, who throw a party. Mountain also refuses battle, claiming immobility, and sends Dundhubhi to fight Subali, the Monkey King.
FROGS - Sounds of the forest, a solo chorus by Pak Wija.
FOREST - Twalen and his son Merdah , servants to the Monkey King, cavort with various animals while waiting for Subali's arrival.
TARI SUBALI - Subali dances, and Dundhubhi challenges him to battle..
QUIET BATTLE/LOUD BATTLE/PRIEST'S CURSE - The demon and monkey do battle in various incarnations; Subali finally vanquishes Dundhubhi, casting his body atop the sacred mountain. Priest Matanga, caretaker of the mountain, curses Subali for despoiling his land.
TABUH GARI - The story ends, the puppets are purified and go home.
- Evan Ziporyn
About I Wayan Wija
I Wayan Wija is one of the most popular dalangs (shadowmasters) in Bali, performing almost every night of the year. He has won numerous awards for his performing abilities in the popular Mahabharata and Ramayana wayang genres. Wija has also transcended the traditional bounds of his art by creating new types of wayang. In addition to the traditional "Wayang Kulit" (shadow puppetry), Wija has also pioneered "Wayang Tantri", a kind of Aesop's fables of traditional Indonesian stories, for which he created new and fantastic animal puppets, including giant dinosaurs. He has used the Tantri stories to spread an environmental consciousness in Bali. The Tantri Wayang was created by Wija in 1980 and he performed it for the first time in 1982. Beginning in 1983, Wija began taking his performances overseas and since that time he has toured extensively in Europe, India, the US, Canada, Australia, and Asia. Wija is known for highly skilled puppet manipulation, vocal quality and characterization as well as for his ability to continually surprise audiences with new stories and puppets. Wija collaborated with Lee Breuer on MahabarAnta, a part of the Warrior Ant Series, with Larry Reed's ShadowLight Productions on Wayang Listrik for the Henson International Puppet Theater Festival, and with the Mabou Mines Theater Company among many others.
For more information about the composer and performers, please visit the artist pages of Evan Ziporyn and Lisa Moore.