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003BI – Kecak: The Balinese ‘Monkey Chant’

October 21, 2011

Balinese Kecak (or ‘Monkey Chant,’ as it is more commonly known in the west) has become one of Bali’s most talked about musical forms.  The music is purely vocal and performed regularly by 80 to 100 or more men, who sit shirtless in a circle and perform a variety of choreographed movements to go along with the layered “cak cak cak” chants.  Though the art is secular in nature, the effect is unlike any other music I’ve ever seen or heard before.

This particular excerpt was followed by a much longer performance called ‘The Death of Kumbakarna,” which used Kecak to as accompaniment to dancers, and was recorded at a separate evening performance at Pura Dalem in Ubud.  There are a lot of groups that perform Kecak on a nightly basis in Ubud, and not all of them are good.  The group here was called ‘Krama Desa Ubud Kaja,’ in case anyone is planning on traveling there and trying to figure out which performance to attend.

Recorded 10/14/11, 7:31PM (local time)

*Note: In the interest of space and time, all of the Balinese music posts are greatly abbreviated from what I actually captured.  On each of the two evenings, I was able to record the performance and would be happy to send the full-length .mp3 files to anyone who is interested.  Feel free to contact me through the link in the sidebar if you want them.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2012 1:55 am

    I first heard The Monkey Chant in 1972…it is uplifting and inspirational. I would like to use a portion of it for my morning alarm. Thank you.


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