Ki Purbo Asmoro
New Delhi and Jaipur, INDIA Mr. MK Singh, director
19 August-25 August 2010
The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi
Mr. YL Rao, director
The Jawaharlal Nehru Indian Cultural Centre (JNICC), Jakarta
NETPAC Conference 2010
(Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema)
The Indian Embassy in Jakarta
Mr. MK Singh, director
For an number of years, Ki Purbo Asmoro has expressed interest in a cultural exchange with India, the "motherland" of the original Mahabharata and Ramayana epics. The idea of performing Javanese Wayang Kulit for Indian audiences, and being able to discuss the Mahabharata and Ramayana with Indian artists and everyday citizens, held a great fascination for Ki Purbo Asmoro. In August 2010, he received an official invitation to peform at the NETPAC Conference (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) to do just this. This invitation was generously supported by the organizations listed above, and a tour of two cities in northern India--New Delhi and Jaipur--was planned.
The trip started on 19 August, when Ki Purbo Asmoro and four gamelan musicians from Solo arrived in Jakarta, and did a pre-departure talk, performance, and question/answer session at the home of Kitsie Emerson and Wakidi Dwidjomartono, Kemang, Jakarta Selatan. Ki Purbo Asmoro had carefully planned out the iringan, and with great mastery was able to make for a full-sounding accompaniment with only five musicians.
Ki Purbo Asmoro and team gave two performances of WIRATHA PARWA (60 minutes versions), a number of pre performance talks, question and answer sessions in New Delhi. They took a seven-hour bus ride to Jaipur and performed there as well. they visited the Gandhi Memorial and a traditional market.
But the most powerful part of the trip in many ways, was Ki Purbo Asmoro's "pilgrimmage" to Purana Qila, the ancient site of Indraprastha Kingdom of the Pandhawa, of some 3,000 BCE. Although the buildings on the site are not from the Pandhawa era (!), the land--the site--has been documented by archeaologists as very most probably the site of the great Indraprastha Kingdom. That was a powerful few hours for all.
Ki Purbo Asmoro spent every free moment inquiring about the everyday Indian's knowledge and experience/feelings about the Mahabharata. He was fascinated with the interactions he had there, and the trip will remain a deep memory for all of us for a long time to come.
Kitsie Emerson, August 2010