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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: October 2015




In contrast to detachment engagement transitions, the musical events in this chapter reveal ways in which gender and other social boundaries were negotiated in situations of intensified musical physicality (Cowan 1990; McIntosh 2010). More specifically, the other worlds and sexualisation forms of musical physicalisation that variously arose and merged in Yogyakarta's kampung and commercial-venue events challenge conventional understandings of Javanese power. These physicalisations, I argue, shine light on the relationships between musical performance, gendered bodies and the social dynamics characteristic of downtown Yogyakarta in the early post-Soeharto years.


‘Other worlds’ refers to the highly physicalised dance and/or related bodily movements that reflect an actor's entrance into an alternative reality or state of being. While political campaigns in early post-Soeharto Yogyakarta sometimes included menacing other worlds-style hysteria, the more popular and widespread cases derived primarily from Javanese mysticism and western-influenced metal and elec tronic musics. This section seeks to demonstrate how these latter cases produced outlets of expression that helped to transcend performer/audience and gender-based social divisions, which in turn influenced and were influenced by the gendered habitus in daily life.

Of the numerous indigenist and regionalist performance types that have long challenged stereotypes of conservatism in Java (Richter 2008a:180, note 6), in 2001 the jatilan trance dance was immensely popular. Jatilan is generally performed in a cordoned-off arena, within which the dancers enter into a trance, as reflected in performers' trance-like or possessed movements and facial expressions. M. Wienarti (1968) has discussed jatilan and its animist associations, as well as its historical function in rites of passage such as marriage. Margaret Kartomi (1973) has explored ‘folk trance art forms’ more broadly in terms of their pre-Hindu origins and contemporary entertainment functions. I found the performances noteworthy for the way in which the trance phases signalled the submergence of performers into an ‘other world’, and also because audiences consisted of women, men and children.

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Musical Worlds of Yogyakarta
  • Online ISBN: 9789814414463
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