In Bali and Lombok in Indonesia, processions—like similar events in many other parts of the world—are ritualized events breaking the normal flow of time. They are always temporally marked, and can be characterized as either religious and temple- or mosque-sponsored, or secular and state-sponsored. This article discusses religious processions generally on the neighbor islands of Bali and Lombok, and focuses on the processions of the spectacular Lingsar temple festival on Lombok. The festival conjoins the migrant Hindu Balinese and the local Muslim Sasak (the majority ethnic group) in ritual participation, but that participation differs in significant ways that are represented in the processions. For the Balinese, the festival is religious and tied to the original, divinely inspired mission from Bali to Lombok; for the Sasak, the festival is “cultural” and a memorial to a Muslim hero who introduced the religion and sacrificed himself to initiate rice field fertility for Sasak descendants. The festival requires an astounding 12 Sasak processions, seven Balinese processions and two mixed processions (some traverse between sacred points, others circumambulate). The music – primarily performed by gamelan ensembles – transforms the notion of time, calls forth the divine, announces the missions and narratives of the processions, and represents both the contestations between Sasak and Balinese over temple ownership and the eventual transcendence of that tension to interreligious unity. And, it is this unity that is the overarching goal of the festival.

Author Biography

David Harnish is Professor of Ethnomusicology and Chair of the Music Department at University of San Diego. Author of Bridges to the Ancestors: Music, Myth and Cultural Politics at an Indonesian Festival (University of Hawaii Press, 2006) and co-author/editor of Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Between Harmony and Discrimination: Negotiating Interreligious Relationships in Bali and Lombok (Brill Press, 2014), he is a double Fulbright and National Foundation Scholar and has consulted for the BBC, National Geographic, MTV-Fulbright Awards, ACLS, and the Smithsonian Institute. As a performer, he has recorded Indonesian, jazz, Indian and Tejano musics with five different labels. He co-directs Gamelan Gunung Mas at USD and serves as USD Academic Liaison for the Kyoto Prize Symposium.

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