Pasrah, Gumirah, and Sumanah

                Making a right turn into a place called Balai Budaya Minomartani, a touch of silence greeted me. There are around six houses woth simple designs. A wide wall outside the housing area is painted beautifully, with a Hindu figure who is praying.

                What caught my attention was a building near the housings. It is a joglo – a traditional Javanese house. The first floor is an empty hall. This area has multiple functions. Sometimes it is used as a stage to perform dance, karawitan concert, and wayang. It explains the platform in front of the building. Apparently, the platform is used for the audience of the show. Other function this area has is, it is also used as a kindergarten school. This is why there are some children playthings on the left side of the joglo.

                I am guided by Mas Nanang to go upstairs. My eyes were amazed as there were so many karawitan instruments. They look old, but so unique and beautiful.


                Inside the room, Mas Nanang greeted me with a friendly smile. He is a young man in his late 20s. He looked casual with his outfit. He politely asked me to sit down on the carpet and then we began our conversation.

                As a warm up, he told me about his family. “Well, I have seven sisters and brothers. I am the youngest one. I live near this BBM (Balai Budaya Minomartani). I am a karawitan coach,” he said.

                Our conversation flowed fluently as he shared about the reason why he loves karawitan. “This will be a very long story,” he said while chuckled. Mas Nanang also said, “When I was a young boy, I wasn’t interested in culture. In fact, I didn’t like art at all. However, I was considered as having a talent in singing. I was elected to be a representative and won the competition. If I’m not mistaken, in 1992, there was a performance by my parents. My mother was the dalang (or puppet master) and my father was the kendang player. After that, I felt ashamed. Considering how the struggle to make a living for the family, I felt that I didn’t respect them because I didn’t like art form. Then I began to like this gamelan or karawitan art form”, he told his story.

                Mas Nanang’s new interest was supported by his parents. He joined one of his father’s karawitan classes and began to learn various karawitan instruments. “I continue my study to SMKI, stands for Sekolah Menengah Karawitan Indonesia; I took karawitan as my major. After SMKI, I continue my study to ISI (Institut Seni Indonesia) and graduated in 2003 as an Art Scholars,” he said.

                As an artist, the journey is not very smooth. Art is very abstract and it develops with the flow of the time. Before he became an artist, he also did another job. “I have been teaching karawitan for SMP 1 Klaten and UKJGS. I have been teaching for two years for both, “said Mas Nanang. Unfortunately, teaching is not what his heart wants.

                As an artist, his life is full of emotional feeling. Once, he cried because one of his student from Sang Bumi felt down and hurt his knee right before they were about to compete.

                He has a very meaningful motto to teach. “My motto is pasrah, gumirah and sumanah. Pasrah means as a new born child, he will be like the parent wants him to be. Gumirah means that after the child have become an adult, he needs a passion and positive thinking. Sumanah means that a person must be ready for when the Lord ends his life,” he said.

                A journey of an artist is not so easy as we think they are. There are ups and downs, especially related to art. But a spirit that Mas Nanang has, inspired me to think positive just like what he does, in order to live life to the fullest. Now I can see how he loves being an artist. He truly enjoys his life, no matter what.



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