Campur Sari: Traditional Style


I’ve featured a few campur sari clips in the past couple of weeks.  The first was quite accessable, but with clear elements of Javanese traditional music, the second increased the weirdness level significantly. 

In this clip the style is far more traditional.  Although even this one is a bit more up tempo than is normal for the Javanese gamelan.  It’s also unusual for the singer to crack a smile, in this performance she can’t stop laughing as she forgets the words.  Luckily her colleague is more than happy to help her out.  The performers are wearing traditional Javanese costumes, the ladies wearing kebayas (a kind of tight-fitting blouse).  Their hair styles are also typical, although not as ornate as you might see.

The song is about a type of tree which has heart-shaped leaves and a girl who has many suitors but only loves one man.  I think you would have to be Javanese to get the point of that.  Anyhow, it’s interesting because its in the form of a parikan – a nursery rhyme, the whole of each word of a verse rhymes with the whole of each word of the next verse.  That would be a challenge if you tried it in English.  Do you know of any English poems or songs that have that form?

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