A Predestined Reunion: Message from Atsushi Sugano, EC General Producer
Balinese jegog ensemble Suar Agung appeared at the Shiroyama Concerts in 1991 and again in 1997, for the 10th anniversary of EC. In 2015, eighteen years later, the unique sound of Suar Agung will echo throughout Shiroyama Park once again. Suar Agung means “Great Lights” in Balinese. The ensemble’s artistic director, Mr. I Ketut Suwentra, came across a tape recording of Jegog music at The Royal Tropical Institute in the Netherlands when he was a student in 1974. It contained Balinese music that was lost during the colonial period, so he used it to revive Balinese jegog music.
Recently Kodo has been using Balinese bamboo instruments, such as jegog and anklung, in its performances but the younger members have not had the opportunity to hear the true sound of these instruments. So we thought it would be a wonderful idea to invite Suar Agung to return to Earth Celebration, for a reunion with Kodo and to give Kodo’s younger generation the chance to learn and experience the real sound of these instruments firsthand. Leonard (Leo) Eto, who will also join us this year as a Shiroyama Concert guest artist, traveled to Bali with me in 1991 when he was a Kodo member so that we could meet Suar Agung in preparations for EC 1991. 2015 will also mark Leo’s first time to perform at EC in 18 years. After he left Kodo, Leo traveled to Europe with Suar Agung for his own project, “Mega Drums.” This year’s Earth Celebration feels like a predestined reunion on Sado Island with both of these great artists.
We are privileged to have hosted so many artists at Shiroyama Park over the past decades. Among those encounters, I can still physically remember the heavy bass sound of bamboo created by Suar Agung, which echoed out into the summer night in the natural Shiroyama amphitheater. Leo understands Suar Agung and their sound very well, so I am sure that under his guidance, the 2015 Shiroyama Concerts will be simply extraordinary.