TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Director Livi Zheng, eight-string guitarist I Wayan Balawan and U.S.-based traditional gamelan teacher I Nyoman Wenten, together with the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia (KJRI) in Los Angeles successfully held a concert on Thursday night at downtown Los Angeles, the United States. Hundreds of guests attended the concert, including Don Hall (Governor of the Motion Picture Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences/ OSCARS, 6 terms, 18 years), consul generals of various countries, such as Switzerland, Belgium, Thailand and the Philippines, as well as Los Angeles administration officials.
KJRI Los Angeles leadership Umar Hadi was the first to come up with an innovative idea and together with director Livi Zheng have managed to hold a concert and produced a film titled “Bali: Beats of Paradise”. Consulate General Umar Hadi, who will become the Indonesian Ambassador to the Korean Republic in June this year, was assisted by Los Angeles-based Indonesian artists, such as I Nyoman Wenten.
The concert was one of the main events accompanying the launch of “Bali: Beats of Paradise” that will be widely distributed in the United States and will also be included in the curriculum in US universities.
The Concert Director of "Bali: Beats Paradise" was I Nyoman Wenten, who had performed on several occasions in the US and other regions such as Europe, South America and Asian countries. He had also featured at the Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles and Lincoln Center, New York City.
I Nyoman Wenten is a US-based professor of gamelan instruments who currently teaches in prominent US universities, including University of California-Berkeley (UC-Berkeley), California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Washington-Seattle and Pomona College in Claremont. I Nyoman Wenten received a doctorate degree in Ethnomusicology from UCLA. Nyoman, who was once invited to make a record at Capitol Records in Hollywood, said: “I’m pleased to be considered an ambassador of arts in the US. Gamelan has already been included in the curriculum in major US universities.”
Nanik Wenten, a dance choreographer who was famous for her collaboration with Ricky Martin, is a lecturer at CalArts and is Pak Wenten’s wife. Both met early in their careers in Yogyakarta. They have been married for 49 years and often performed together. The dance move in the concert and the film “Bali: Beats of Paradise” was choreographed by Nanik.
Thursday’s concert featured a special guest, who came all the way from Bali, I Wayan Balawan, known for his double neck guitar and touch-tapping style.
“Bali: Beats of Paradise” director Livi Zheng is a Master’s degree graduate in Film and Television Production from the University of Southern California (USC). Zheng, who has been invited as a guest lecturer and speaker at many universities, including University of Southern California, New York Film Academy, Los Angeles City College and the Communication University of China, said: “I’m very proud of being an Indonesian because of its diverse culture, among others. It’s a pity that many foreigners don’t know where Indonesia is, therefore, I always try as far as I can to integrate Indonesia into my projects, from squeezing in gamelan rhythms into the sound composition to integrating pencak silat into the choreography of action scenes.” Zheng is very proud to have been trusted by KJRI Los Angeles to direct “Bali: Beats of Paradise”.
Zheng’s film earlier earned an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. She is now working on several projects, including the film “Insight”, starring Hollywood actors Tony Todd (Candyman, Final Destination), Keith David (Armageddon, Platoon, The Chronicles of Riddick), John Savage (The Godfather Part III, Deer Hunter), Ken Zheng (Brush with Danger), and Madeline Zima (former child actress in TV sitcom The Nanny, A Cinderella Story).