5. Trance rituals
It was through Vincent Moon
and his big collection of movies that I started to discover a little bit more of different trance rituals from Indonesia. The way he puts it, ’’the concept of trance
, as we envision it, is to be taken in the broad sense: poetic trance, possession trance, altered states of consciousness, visions, hypnosis, mediumship, ecstasy, dreams… The race for global new body experiences, mostly through external substances, is making us rethink the entire spirituality encountered in so-called primitive cultures
. (…) How much do we need to lose out knowledge, to forget our books, to disconnect our technologies to dive again in the incomprehensible? What are the limits of perceptions?’’
is a traditional Javanese dance depicting a group of horsemen. Dancers ride
horses made from woven bamboo and decorated with colorful paints and cloth. Generally, the dance portrays troops riding horses, but another type of Kuda Lumping performance also incorporates trances and magic tricks. When the "possessed" dancer is performing the dance in trance conditions, he can display unusual abilities, such as eating glass and resistance to the effects of whipping or hot coals. Although the dance is native to Java, Indonesia, it also performed by Javanese communities in Suriname, Malaysia and Singapore.
‘’Indonesia has a long history of trance rituals of different kinds. They mostly involve music. Now, most of these activities have become more of a public spectacle and interesting entertainment. Last year, Senyawa and Volcanic Winds was involved in a project that brought a troupe of Kuda Lumping to a festival in Melbourne, where they performed a long set of dance and music leading up to chaotic trance. Wukir and I researched East and Central Java to find the right group for this. We wanted to find the real thing, the one that can perform real trance. One way to test it was by letting them get me into trance. The last group from East Java did it’’
, says Rully
Later on, during the concert at Control, we could see why everybody calls Senyawa one of the most intense acts in the world. Because they are, indeed, a force of nature; a chemical mixture of two totally different elements, which form together an unique, powerful and mesmerizing whole.
Photo credits Senyawa live @ Control Club: Andrei Mușat