Gus Teja, Balinese Flute Maestro: Bringing his Tunes to Worldwide Fame

As a land known for its culture and tradition, we guess almost everybody know about the wonderful talents of Balinese people like  Agus Teja Sentosa (Gus Teja), a flute (Suling) maestro from a small village near Ubud, Bali.

As the youngest of four children from his parents I Nyoman Kadjil and Ni Wayan Darpini, Gus Teja began playing the flute while he was only attending elementary school. Other than playing the flute, he also spent a lot of time during that period practicing the gamelan (Balinese traditional musical instrument). As the years progressed, his preoccupation with wind instruments sparked a passion for learning all he could about wind instruments from around the world.

Over the years, Gus Teja continued to challenge himself, creating new instruments to augment his passion for flutes. He had crafted artifacts ranging from whittled wood instruments to full-fledged bamboo flutes; constantly harmonizing his music, combining traditional and modern instruments to produce a unique signature blend.

After a while, this humorous man formed a group that is known by the name of Gus Teja World Music is a leading Balinese music group determined to spread global peace and love through the universal, spiritual and uplifting language of music.

With seven talented musicians, Gus Teja World Music blends traditional musical instruments such as slonding, tingklik, drums, and flute combined with modern musical instruments like guitar and bass guitar. Other than the band’s leader and namesake Gus Teja, the band is supported by six other musicians: I Wayan Marjana on Slonding Kromatik (Balinese Metal Instrument), I Komang Bagia on Tingklik Baro I (Balinese Bamboo Instrument), I Ketut Adiasa on Tingklik Baro II (Balinese Bamboo Instrument), I Gusti Ngurah Nyoman Adi Putra on Bass Guitar, I Wayan Sucipta on Percussion, and I Wayan Mukayasa on Acoustic Guitar.

 

Gus Teja skillfully plays a catalog of flutes from around the world, including Native American Flutes, Ocarina, Quena, Pan Flute, Whistle, Hulusi, and of course the Balinese Flute. Gus Teja handcrafts many of his flutes from material in the rainforest surrounding his Balinese home. Despute his inability to read or write sheet music, Gus Teja composes songs entirely from memory. He finds inspiration from nature and the spirit of Bali. He is the first and the youngest Balinese musician to skillfully create wonderful ethnic traditional music island of Bali enriched by a fusion of modern influences. Quite simply: Gus Teja has been given a gift and is on the verge of a long and successful career.

So succesful, we would have to say, that even mega brand Louis Vuitton was tempted (and executed) to use his song Hero in one of their campaign without even giving the man any credit whatsoever, let alone asking for his permission. An interview with Gus Teja few years ago stated that it was a mixed feeling of being both happy and disappointed at the same time. “I believe musicians and music composers around the world will feel proud when their compositions is being used by a giant brand. However, in my case, this brand didn’t seek any permission or even credit mentioned the artist in any part of the video or descriptions.” Even though he tried to let Karma works her way out, in the end Gus Teja decided to sue the brand for copyright infringement.

Infringed or not, Gus Teja World Music band has already garnered an impressive discography, having released three full length albums and sold over 100,000 copies. “Rhythm of Paradise” was released in late 2009, featuring the songs Situ Sayong (Secret of the Lake), Morning Happiness, Putri Cening Ayu (Balinese Folks Song), Galang Bulan (The Full Moon), Whispering of Hopes, Bali Shanti, Dream, and Hidden Beauty. Their second album “Flutes for Love” was released in 2011 with songs like Feel with Love, Hero, Lost Love, Beauty in Colors, Cinta, Coming Home, Jepun Putih, Stalaktite Cave, Bali Jalan-Jalan. And Melody of Peace. The latest album “Ulah Egar” was released in 2015, including the songs Senandung Tembung, Ulah Egar, Blessing from Heaven, Unify, Don Dapdap E, Sake-Sake, Romance, Night in Bali, Meong-Meong/Juru Pencar/Ratu Anom and Bali Party. Their early debut single “Morning Happiness” has more than 1,000,000 YouTube viewers and counting.

If you enjoy his music and is interested in learning how to play the flute, you can always come to the workshop that will teach you a new skill or two with only Rp. 400,000,-/person. The admission fee will give you a 60 minutes session to learn how to play the flute and probably unlock the maestro in you, too.

Taught by Gus Teja and bamboo instrument specialists from Gus Teja World Music themselves, you will learn so much about Suling; a Balinese traditional wind instrument, which has a hole as sound source and 6 holes as tone regulator. Suling has very melodious tones, therefore it is suitable for tranquility therapy or meditation. Therefore, in connection with our music which using flutes as the main spirit, Gus Teja World Musid is opening music workshop for everyone interested in learning how to play the flute and other bamboo instruments.

Workshops are hosted at their studio with schedules down below:

Monday: 1st Session (10:00 – 11:30) Suling Class; 2nd Session (13:00 – 14:30) Native American Flute Class

Tuesday: 1st Session (10:00 – 11:30) Bamboo Instrument Class; 2nd Session (13:00 – 14:30) Bamboo Instrument Class

Wednesday: 1st Session (10:00 – 11:30) Native American Flute Class; 2nd Session (13:00 – 14:30) Ocarina Class

Thursday: 1st Session (10:00 – 11:30) Bamboo Instrument Class; 2nd Session (13:00 – 14:30) Bamboo Instrument Class

Friday: 1st Session (10:00 – 11:30) Ocarina Class; 2nd Session (13:00 – 14:30) Suling Class

Saturday: 1st Session (10:00 – 11:30) Bamboo Instrument Class; 2nd Session (13:00 – 14:30) Bamboo Instrument Class

Gus Teja has become synonymous with contemporary Balinese sound. Gus Teja World Music has performed countless concerts in Bali and at international events such as in Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Washington DC, USA.

Their past performance includes playing at Konser Budaya Alam Nusantara at Ciputra Artpreneur, Jakarta, Mei 2018; 2018 Spring Meetings of the IMF and The World Bank Group, Washington DC, April 2018; Gus Teja Concert ( Festival Pujian Alam Semesta ), Nature Loving Wonderland, Shinchu, Taiwan – Januari 2018; Pemuteran Bay Festival, Pemuteran Singaraja, Bali – Desember 2017; Pegelaran Senam Kasih Semesta 2017, Deli Serdang Medan – November 2017; Indonesia Tourism Outlook 2018, Ayodya Resort Bali –  November 2017; Charity Concert “Voice of Angel”, Kertalangu Denpasar, November 2017; Festival Seni Budaya Inla, Art Centre Denpasar – November 2017; Trash Festival 2017, Monkey Forest Ubud, Bali – November 2017; Pecatu Festival 2017, Badung Bali – October 2017; Pesona Mandiri Nusa Dua Fiesta 2017, Nusa Dua bali, October 2017; Gema Perdamaian, Lapangan Bajra Sandi Renon, Denpasar – October 2017; Sundara Album Launch 2017, Kumulilir Bali – October 2017; AFF Awards 2017, Sofitel Nusa Dua,Bali – September 2017, and many more.

If you are interested in hearing his beautiful music, try checking out their social media handles to find out their schedules. Just be prepared to have your eardrums blown by the melody. Enjoy!

 

 

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