The Ramayana Monkey Chant, also known as the Kecak (ketjak), originated as a “trance”/exorcism chant in Bali that only became internationally known after German artist Walter Spies, living in Bali in the ’30s, helped developed it into a performance depicting a battle described the Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit epic. Today the Monkey Chant is a tourist-friendly Balinese spectacle during which over a hundred male performers wearing checked waist cloths, chanting “cak!,” gesture boldly with their arms to act out the tale in which the monkey-like Vanara aids Prince Rama in his fight against evil King Ravana. Whatever the origins of the Ramayana Monkey Chant, it sure is spectacular.
In class we’re going to not worry about the fact that the spectacle owes as much to a visiting German as it does to ancient Indonesians and do a little monkey chanting….
Well why not?