BLUE GRASS IN BROMO: New Year 2012


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March 4th 2012
Published: March 5th 2012
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BLUE GRASS IN BROMO: New Year 2012.

We are in the restaurant at the Lava View Lodge overlooking the nest of volcanoes in the Tengger caldera below...four nights booked..."noone stays that long" they say..."most come to see the sunrise and then go".

"We prefer it to traffic"...is my simple response.

Who wants to sit in heavy traffic in cities...if you can enjoy this view?...which as it's wet season...is constantly changing .

But the reality is we love every minute of it...would stay longer if we had the time...hoping four nights is enough to satisfy our souls...and remain etched in our memories.

We toured, discovered and got into the many sights Bromo had to offer (see next blog)...fantastic...but probably our best times were partying with the locals...at night...with "Blue Grass"...while others probably sleep for want of anything to do...no TVs up here..!

Tonight two guys are playing accoustic guitars...entertainment for the dinner guests...some of their riffs indicating a high level of skill in their art...70s rock...went up and had a chat...Andi and Agus...amazed they played "Lucky Man" from that Emerson Lake & Palmer LP I got for my 21st birthday.

So they played a Cat Stevens number..."Matthew & Son"...just for me.

Beautiful music in a remote locale has always captured our souls...one of the reasons we went to Mali for the Festival of the Desert at Timbuktu twelve months previous...the more evocative the setting...the better.

Reminds me of a magic evening in Zanzibar on another African trip...a few days break from an overland safari from Kenya to South Africa...a few days to ourselves...just the two of us...a traditional Arabian band playing over dinner...gave me goose bumps...their urdu transporting me...to ages past. Played their CD...obtained with great difficulty...on the safari truck later...didn't sound the same...its the moment that counts.

The following night at Bromo...at a table to the left of the stage in front of a raised area with two tables...the four Dutch...two couples...a bit older than us at one...and a crowd of Tengger people at the other...some with red bandanas...very cool.

Den & I savouring a small bottle of Baileys we had bought in Duty Free in Sydney...shot glasses provided by Mamat from the bar.

I see one of the Dutch go out and return with a yellow plastic carry bag...I know what's in that...same as last night...the contents destined for the glasses on their table.

So I walked to their table...placed my shot glass down...he could see why I did that.

Had a shot with them..."gumbay"...twirling my hand at my chest...hand rising to my mouth...fingers exploding with a gesture of flurry...and heat...technique exercised many times in China..."Bacardi" he said...gee haven't had any of that since my youth...not bad.

Andi & Agus are back...this time with accoustic and electric guitars...and joined by Momo...the Manager of the lodge...on Hammond organ.

A couple of tracks in...Andi calls across the room..."Hey Aussie...any requests?"

"House of the Rising Sun"...I call out my favourite track from the night before.

ddmm...ddmm..."There is a house...in New Orleans..."...blistering rendition...I can feel the band has an energy tonight...that spark in their eyes.

"Hotel California"...called out from the Tengger table.

Up a notch...straight into...love that song...the music ship is heading heavenward...applause...the Tengger coming to life.

"Now Santana"...Andi calls...first notes...Den that look...both rise from our seats...Den heading off one way...through the packed tables...me another...Den standing in the open floor...weight on one leg...finger demanding "Come here".

Me acting coy...right shoulder rotating...then the left...rhythm from the chest...legs moving...shoulders...shades of Ethiopia...where I had attained
AGUSAGUSAGUS

The consumate performer
rhythm...cameras flashing...me thinking they have probably not seen Ethiopian in Java before now.

Den & I just went for it...shaking our booty like there is no tomorrow...hooting...flashes of others with cameras swooping in for that action shot...Den & I in the moment...track ends...return to our seats...ignoring applause...that quiet smile...that was fun.

A Tengger takes our shot glasses...fills them from a clear plastic bottle...other Tengger gather around...shot glasses full...can't recall their call but I would have said "Gumbay"...down the hatch...twirling my hand at my chest...hand rising to my mouth...fingers exploding with a gesture of flurry...and heat...them refilling my glass.

My first encounter with Bromo moonshine...distilled white spirit...a version of Arak...firewater from a species of coconut...tasted quite nice to this initiate.

The band plays on...the Dutch call it a night...other diners filing out...off to bed...like that African safari...the young ones always going to bed early...while Den & I partied on with hardened travellers and locals we would meet.

But the Tengger stayed...and grew in number...and a table of six Javanese...the girls quite gorgeous...and two Aussies...older but as young of heart...with their new friends...the band winding up a notch...Den & I back up...shaking our booty...joined by Uddin...boy he
ANDIANDIANDI

Inspirational band leader
has some moves...we showing the band appreciation...they of course responding.

The Arak must have taken over my body...felt quite loose...danced a lot...pure Ethiopian...or my version of it...taking the hands of the Tengger...Uddin, Dedi, Vina, Monggang, Arip, Dris, Yus, Mamat, Ennie, others whose names I do not recall...and the other Javanese...bringing them reluctant or not...to join in...until we had twirling bodies...throughout the large room...lodge staff behind the bar...watching in awe or amusement.

One of the Javanese young men grabbed the microphone...he's singing...Hey...this is not a Karioke night...wow...he's really good...go for it..!

Made a special point of involving the band...Andi, Agus & Momo...all performers need to know they are appreciated...they thanking me so sincerely...having a good time too.

After a couple of hours the band tries to call it a night.

"More...more"...

"We can't...Momo can't move his arms...he needs a rest.".

"OK five minutes rest then"...we don't want to stop.

Here comes one of the Tengger with my shot glass yet again...I shouldn't...but I do...still feeling good...but no way I can drive home tonight...fortunately I don't have to..!

The band played for at least another half hour...simply too exhausted after that...and so was
MOMOMOMOMOMO

witheringly good on Hammond Organ & Keyboards
everyone else...just hung around after that...first name basis with all...what a night...embraced us as locals...30 December 2011...all agreeing though New Years Eve is tomorrow night...this is our New Years Eve...and one to always remember.

NEW YEARS EVE 2012

As we walked down to breakfast...vans...guitars...power amps...loud speakers...cables...sparkies...big banner behind the stage...erected for New Year...four bands tonight...Lava View Lodge will explode like Bromo crater did months earlier.

There was a feel in the air...of expectation...and that a pivotal event had occurred the night before.

Everywhere I went that day...there was the call of "David"...and someone rolling their shoulders in my direction...even from people who had not been there the night before..!

Many referred to "alcohol"...with a smile...as if we were sharing a joke...but to each I feigned surprise.

"What are you talking about...I thought it was water from the volcano..!"

Yet again in our travels...dancing had trancended cultural barriers and opened doors...actually being friendly and open is the key.

We met many people in Java who commented on our friendliness.

Our perspective is, it was they, who were the friendly ones.

They explained that mainly the Asian cultures that visit...have an air of superiority...a master/servant air...I see it as akin to a form of racism.

We noticed in many restaurants in Java...where we always say "Thank you" to waiters and staff...a lot of the patrons...would look away or down...lips not moving...as they were served...or too busy txting...sad to see really...and they wonder how we always seem to have a good time..!

Rained on & off all day...made touring to the extremities of the region challenging in places...couldn't believe I forgot to put on my boots...never happened before...makes me like the numbskulls who climbed the mud in the dark to the sunrise view the morning before...in thongs & hotel slip-ons..!

Andi, Agus and Momo are expecting two more guitarists & a drummer from Malang...together they are known as "Blue Grass"...what...how can they top last night..?

And an up and coming band in Java..."Nocturnal"...not noted on the banner...practising a Nirvana track...very cool young men...rock stars written all over them.

The night kicked off at 7pm...local Bromo family band...Safium Band...the 15 year old girl up front...born to perform.

Then a local jazz band...Farbig Band...superb musos...though jazz is not my thing.

The place needs hotting up...Andi introduces Nocturnal...played the tracks from their latest EP...and that Nirvana track...place warming up.

There was a need to up the heat...you could feel it in the room...so at 10.15 Andi announced..."and now for Blue Grass"...as virtually all in the room lifted...chattering amongst the crowd...the vibe you get when a well known band is entering the stage.

Gotta say they blew the place apart...the whole place started rocking...we at the raised tables at the back...with the Tengger...reserved for the locals...and us...us being our guide Fandi, Den & I.

Andi introduced me to the crowd as his "Uncle from Australia"...and another guy kept referring to me as his "brother"...turned out he owned the place..!

Blue Grass played the Santana track early...Andi sort of signalled to me with his eyes...Ok we'll kick off the dancing.

Den's got that demanding beckoning finger down pat...me obliging with feigned submission...rhythm from the chest...my Ethiopian enhanced by my practice session the night before.

The only other Western woman in the place starts dancing with Den...so I dance with a wooden column...seems to excite the crowd...maybe its for the women...who cares if you are having fun.

Couldn't believe it...the only others who danced were Uddin and an Aussie couple...our age...only other Aussies we met in Java.

The Asian tourists were spending their evening either txting...or that other pastime...photographing each other...and of course...can't forget chain smoking...never without a ciggie in their mouths.

Wake up guys...you have hot free entertainment...and you don't know how to get into it..!

But at midnight the place erupted...everyone had been given a trumpet...great idea...hell of a noise...but it got everyone up...and hugging...and dancing...not sure if I have ever received so many hugs & kisses on New Years Eve before.

"You have not mentioned the Arak" I hear you say...well spotted...couldn't really handle it tonight...partook with Andi, Uddin & Monggang...obligatory...gave our last bottle of Baileys to Uddin...a quiet night on the turps tonight...can't think why..!

So ended New Years Eve...often a disappointment...like that nightclub in Zigong in Sichuan, China...when at midnight there were about 10 patrons (4 were us) to welcome the New Year.

But not in Bromo...there it was a blast...and all thanks...to "Blue Grass"...and guess what? The owner has invited us back next year..!

So Andi...when you do your annual climb of Semeru volcano...Java's tallest...and you play your guitar on the summit...to the volcano gods...play a tune for me...maybe...Hotel California...and may the Eagles soar that day...in honour of Blue Grass...in Bromo..!

Relax & Enjoy,

Dancing Dave (who danced & danced in Bromo...Ethiopian style of course!)


Additional photos below
Photos: 25, Displayed: 25


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PAUL & ANNEPAUL & ANNE
PAUL & ANNE

Only other Aussies we met in Java...next stop...Kalimantan
DIKA DIKA
DIKA

Keyboards
RIAN RIAN
RIAN

Bass
IWANIWAN
IWAN

Drums
FREDDIEFREDDIE
FREDDIE

Vocals
THANK YOU TENGGERTHANK YOU TENGGER
THANK YOU TENGGER

See you next time


5th March 2012

"We prefer it to traffic"... (So do we!)
Such an enjoyable blog Dancing Dave! The sheer enjoyment of the moment transcended the page. You tell a great tale...
5th March 2012

THANKS CHRIS & AMY
Yep...it was a joy...one of those moments you can only experience when travelling...thank you for commenting...makes it worthwhile.
6th March 2012

I hear ya!
Nice blog, Dave. I could almost feel the music, feel the heartbeat. Gawd....Hotel California, Santana, House of the Rising Sun! My grandchildren laughing at me now as I keep on humming while reading this blog. Yeah, our music! Love it [:)]
6th March 2012

THANKS LILIRAM
There's still plenty of life in these *** legs...glad to see you are a rocker from wayback...plenty of us around...and how did the rockstar pics grab you?...cool dudes indeed.
7th March 2012

Dance baby....
Looking forward to sharing some of those moves this weekend....see you soon.
7th March 2012

THANKS ROS
For Tinariwen...I believe its camel dancing...pure Tuareg...hope you've been practising...see you in Adelaide.
24th March 2012

:D
Ohh for the simple things in life! That is what makes life worth living :D
24th March 2012

COCKLE'S BACK
As I couldn't handle the beer...here's to Arak...or was it water from the volcano..? Mixed with wonderful music & friendly times...aaaah.

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