Balispirit Festival 2009 Celebrates Unity in Diversity - Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Started in 2008, The annual Balispirit Festival was conceived through a creative collaboration between three co-founders, each one bringing a unique perspective to the formation of the festival which was set up in March 2008.
By: Michelle Cempaka - Balispirit.com
 
March 17, 2009 - PRLog -- The Balispirit Festival will kick off its 2nd year at Bali Purnati Centre for the Arts in Batuan which is just 10 minutes south of Ubud. An opening ceremony will take place on April 28th, followed by daily yoga and dance workshops as well as nightly performances which will be held from April 29th – May 3rd. The final day of the festival will be a free family Day (Hari Cinta Keluarga).
The Balispirit Festival was conceived through a creative collaboration between three co-founders, each one bringing a unique perspective to the formation of the festival which was set up in March 2008. Meghan Pappenheim and I. Kadek Gunartha, two of the co-founders and also husband and wife, had a strong desire to create a festival that promotes the creative teamwork of people from all over the world, who have the opportunity to come together with master artists on the island of Bali.
Robert Weber, the third co-founder of the festival brings his expertise and love of music to this year’s festival. He is creating a platform for conscious performers to gather and share their unique forms of music with a new audience from Bali and South East Asia. A producer and musician, Robert has a deep understanding about how music can have a profound and lasting effect on many people’s lives.
All three co-founders strongly believe that creative collaborations have a big impact on outreach for youth. This is clearly evident through the formation of the Bhinneka Initiative. The dream of the founders has been to inspire positive change in our Indonesian youth through introducing yoga principles that enhance daily life and creative collaborations in dance and music. The Festival also seeks to create an environmentally conscious event – one which will inspire on-going responsibility to the environment through Festival activities especially on ‘Hari Cinta Keluarga’
Yoga Series is an essential part of the Balispirit festival. Diverse yoga masters from all over the world will be featured, such as internationally renowned Yogis like Eoin Finn – a yogi, surfer and ‘Blissologist’ who has been a disciple of Yoga, Eastern and Western philosophy, martial arts and meditation since 1987 and has been teaching yoga for over a decade to thousands of students. Fusing his passion for athletics and yoga as an essential cross-training element, Finn has worked with Olympic athletes in the US and Canada for whom he has created customized, performance-enhancing yoga programs. Ines Somollera (Mexico) – an actor, director and producer for the theater and dance, came to yoga through suffering in a time when her heart needed answers, her mind needed a rest and her body was in pain. Clearly her first impressions were a sense of release, perspective, and a sense of relief. Now with Yoga as her companion for over 20 years, she has made her body her laboratory. Katy Appleton (UK) – who was a professional dancer for the Royal Ballet turned yogi, has had an extensive clientele including high profile celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, British royalty, prima ballerinas, as well as TV and media personalities. Swami Shankardev Saraswati (Australia) – a medical doctor, yoga therapist and internationally acclaimed author and presenter is a direct disciple of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, he lived in the Bihar School of Yoga India for 10 years (1974-1985), where he was trained to teach the highest practices of yoga-tantra. During this time he wrote and edited many of the books on Yoga and Yoga Therapy published by the Bihar School of Yoga. Pujiastuti Sindhu (Indonesia) is a Kundalini yoga teacher from Bandung who is on the forefront of the yoga movement for the Moslem community. Her dream is to spread the practice of yoga throughout Indonesia by empowering the community through creating affordable, good quality yoga classes while promoting a good and healthy lifestyle. Her first book (2006) "Hidup Sehat dan Seimbang dengan Yoga - A Healthy Balanced Life with Yoga," made Yoga accessible to all Indonesian people.
The Living Masters Series will be an exciting facet of this year’s festival. There will be a strong focus on masters from the Indonesian archipelago who are devoted to the enrichment and strengthening of people’s understanding of a variety of regional creative forms of expression. For example, barong and jaipong dances, Javanese shadow puppetry, Jamu healing, Islamic spiritual singing and more.
Some of the masters who will be featured are: I Wayan Dibia, Ibu Ni Ketut Arini and Slamet Gundono.  Ibu Ni Ketut is one of Bali’s most revered teachers and performers and an expert in classical and modern Balinese dance. Slamet Gundonon is a multi-disciplinary artist who draws on the long traditions of Javanese and Indonesian culture to reinvent and innovate within the field of interactive shadow puppetry. His work investigates social issues such as gender, exploitation, religious orthodoxy and damage to the environment, using local idioms and simple means to demonstrate that traditional cultural forms can be powerful vehicles for contemporary expression.
Dance & Music Series will feature a fantastic line-up of local and foreign entertainers from around the world including: Sibo Bangoura (Guinea). He was born into a Griot (musician) family in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, and has played music since he was a young boy. Sibo has become a well renowned and respected African musician in Sydney and around Australia; Saharadja (Bali) was created in Bali, Indonesia in 2002 by Javanese Jazz trumpeter and vocalist Rio Sidik, and his wife, Australian-born classical violinist Sally Jo, as a way for them to play together and share their different approaches to music; There will be many other great performers featured like Rocky Dawuni (Ghana), Tom Fruend (USA), and more.
The Tomorrow Series will showcase several talented performers on the rise with a focus on the South East Asian region. During ‘Festival Nights’, performances will feature different genres of music, ranging from indie and folk to traditional and jazz fusion. Some of the headliners will include: Cynthia Alexander (Philippines) – a folk hero from the Philippines who has been heralded as a musician on the level of Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith; Jerome Kugan (Malaysia) - a singer songwriter poet who originally comes from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia, and is now based in Kuala Lumpur. He has been actively writing and performing music and organizing music and poetry events since 1996, and has published his writings in a variety of publications; Daphne Tse (USA) is a soulful singer/songwriter currently traveling and making the world her home. Originally from Texas, she explored music through many venues and was drawn to the west in 1994 (relocating to Los Angeles, CA). Since her initial yoga class, she has explored merging her spiritual practice with her contemporary folk singer/songwriter style. She has played for numerous yoga retreats in India, Greece, Guatemala, Costa Rica and now Bali. She studied folk music at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and kirtan music with Jai Uttal and Daniel Paul in Guatemala; Mia Palencia (Malaysia), is a singer songwriter, jazz crooner, voice actor, public speaker and occasionally a theatre personality. She kicked off her career as the other half of well-known local jazz act Double Take at the age of 14. Mia then joined Groove Unction, a Malaysian jazz band led by legendary jazz guitarist, Jose Thomas.

The crowning event of the 2009 Festival will be Hari Cinta Keluarga – a day especially devoted to the family and the important role they play in our lives. This inspiring day is free and is open to all.
For more information about the Balispirit Festival, please visit: www.balispiritfestival.com

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