Gregg and Leigh invited us (only Rob couldn't make it) to a musical gathering this afternoon at the "guest villa" belonging to friends of theirs in Lombok. The guest villa is newly completed even though it started life as a very old traditional Java style house imported from Jogjakarta. Their friends have had it rebuilt on their family compound set on the lush green hills behind Senggigi Beach.
It turned out to be quite a gathering of the local ex-pat community and their Indonesian partners and family members. We'd met Dick and Janet a few nights before this. Janet will start teaching English at Gregg's school next week. They are from Clovelly Beach in Sydney so will find life here is very different.
The villa was a perfect setting for a gathering of friends like this. The verandah faces spectacular ocean views and captures all the sea breezes.
Our hosts were Mark (an ex-principal from Tasmania and a founder of Gregg's school) and his beautiful Indonesian wife Sopan (recently returned from a year's study in Tasmania completing her doctorate).
But the main reason for the gathering was to listen to a performance of original music presented by Ari and his trio of extraordinarily gifted musicians.
We were spellbound as Ari's group presented a short but stunning program of amazing sound and music combining their rich collective heritage of traditional Javanese and Sasak music styles, infused with Western style jazz rhythms. They also incorporated their own free form existential poetry (in English) exploring the meaning of life and the planet into their compositions. It was actually much more amazing, beautiful and moving than this attempt at describing it!
Ari and the guy on the right played a number of instruments too. Ari could play anything - we especially loved his improvised and melodic percussion sequences played on an assortment of saucepans and their lids.
Our hosts were very generous, with plenty of Bintangs on tap and a most delicious and aesthetically presented table of refreshments after the performance.
Mark showed me over their main family house a little down the hill from the guest villa. It is a newish house in a magnificent position on the side of a hill, built to a traditional Javanese style incorporating all recycled timber from old traditional style houses in Jogjakarta. It also features beautiful antique components like doors and panels and inlays wherever possible. It has obviously been a labour of love over the past decade for Mark and Sopan. Mark even had to bring in teams of craftsmen from Java who were familiar with the construction methods and finishing processes to complete the core parts of the house.
I'd had an unforgettable experience this afternoon but it was made so much better to return to the Puri Saron and find Rob looking like he might be returning to normal. Gregg had dropped him off some Indonesian antibiotics this morning especially for killing germs causing Bali belly (only cost $3.50AUS and you can buy them over the counter) and it looks like they are doing their job well!
He even felt up to coming with me to the Taman Restaurant in Senggigi village tonight for a meal of boiled rice and a hard boiled egg while I enjoyed everything else on the menu.