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  • Event
  • 3 November 2023 - 4 November 2023

performance as part of the public program of Trad u/i zioni d'Eurasia

November, 3rd 2023 - 10 pm @Antiche Ghiacciaie del Mercato Centrale
Performance by RAJA KIRIK with Silir Pujiwati and Ari Dwiyanto

Desire for freedom and rejection of colonial rule: a contemporary take on traditional Javanese folk trance dance.
The result of extensive artistic research into the island’s history, Raja Kirik considers the violence, oppression, and resistance that has shaped Java. At the time of Dutch colonialism, trance dances served the Javanese as an expression of their ardent desire for freedom and their rejection of colonial rule. Raja Kirik show how music, dance, and ritual still provide narrative means today to assert oneself against foreign rule and violence. These explorations can be heard on their eponymous 2018 album, as well as the follow up recordRampokan (Yes No Wave and Nyege Nyege Tapes).In their new music performance, “The Phantasmagoria of Jahtilan”, Raja Kirik, accompanied bySilir Pujiwati (an acclaimedsindhèn, a female solo singerversed in the Javanese tradition) andAri Dwiyanto(performer, director, choreographer, and one of the founders of Yogyakarta Bengkel Mime Theater) investigate the Jathilan horse dance, a folk trance dance popular in Java, Indonesia,as a way of regaining strength despite defeat. Jathilan is an acronym of “Jarane jan tjil-thilan”, which translates to a horse that dances irregularly. The current form of Jathilan developed after the Java War (fought between Javanese rebels and the colonial Dutch empire from 1825 to1830) as a folk practise to grapple with the defeat by the Dutch Empire and the devastation caused by the civil war between the Javanese population and the Javanese aristocracy who supported the Dutch. In Jathilan people use stick horses made of bamboo as a form of appreciation as well as an expression of support for rebel leader Prince Diponegoro's horsemens who fought bravely against the Dutch colonial forces. Despite the actual defeat of the rebels, Jathilan itself always depicts an imaginary victory of the local rebel cavalry against demons, monsters, or the colonisers. This heroic performance therefore has multiple purposes: to entertain, to encourage, to heal, and to unite people against oppression.
Raja Kirik’s “The Phantasmagoria of Jathilan” is an artistic exploration of the Jathilan tradition, re-interpreting its musical, vocal, and dance forms. Syncopated electronic rhythms combine with the metallic percussion of homemade instruments that is as trance-inducing as it is bellicose. Beautifully monotonous singing in a captivating repetitive melismatic style weaves through lilting melodies that gust out of makeshift wind instruments. With frantic, seemingly endless forward propulsion, the music of Raja Kirik inhabits a wide emotional breadth.

Free admission.

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