On October 14, 1963 I was born at our family home in the village of Mojopuro in Central Java, Indonesia. As with my two sisters before me, mydalang father was away performing in another village at the time of my birth. Two other daughters were born into my family following my birth. My four sisters and myself were taught how to play the gamelan instruments and Javanese dance. My father, having come from a dalang family, began performing at the age of twelve years and studied shadow puppetry at the Kraton Kasunanan, Solo in 1952. My mother’s father played the kendang and my mother learned how to play the balungan at a very young age.
When I was three years old my father began to take me to his performances and I began to develop a knowledge of the wayang stories, wayang characters and gamelan melodies. At ten years of age I performed my first all-night wayang kulit play.
In 1982 I graduated from high school and enrolled at the tertiary institution of Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia (STSI) in Solo to study the art of shadow puppetry. I graduated in 1986 and became a lecturer in the pedalangan department at STSI in 1987. I continued to perform all-night wayang kulit plays and lecture at STSI until I travelled to New Zealand in 1993. I finished my doctorate at Otago University in 2000.
RESUME of international activities
- Residency and wayang at Dartmouth College, USA (additional article)
- Wayang presented by the Schubert Club and Minnesota Historical Society, USA (additional article)
- Wayang Esther, by Barbara Benary, with Gamelan Son of Lion, New York City, USA
- Wayang Mahkuta Rama, with Gamelan Widosari of Gamelan Huis, Netherlands
- Wayang in Den Haag, Netherlands
- with the Melbourne Community Gamelan, Australia (look under “Past Performances”)
- University of Tasmania, Australia (additional article)
- Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Tasmania: workshops and performances
- VIDEO of performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
- Fulbright Residency at Bates College, USA (additional article)
- University of Virginia, USA
- with Gamelan Kusuma Laras (NY Indonesian Consulate Gamelan), USA