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The Island of Bali Is Littered with Prayers

4.5 of 5 stars 4.50  ·  rating details  ·  22 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers has been called "an astonishing account of a journey far across the oceans and deep into the self." (Preeta Samarasan, author of Evening is the Whole Day).

In the summer of 2008, musicologist Jeremy Grimshaw made his first trip to Bali to study the island's traditional music. When he returned he brought back not only a collection
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 22nd 2010 by Mormon Artists Group (first published November 22nd 2009)
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Mike Moore
This is a lovely little book. It's a travelogue of sorts, though the journey to a foreign country (Bali, of course) is only roughly sketched and half or more of the book takes place on the author's native soil. Still, the book has a quality that I associate with the best of travelogues: finding familiarity in the foreign and ultimately reflecting on the wonder of the commonplace.

Balinese music is fertile ground for such ruminations. There may be nothing that could be quite so exotic and downrigh
This book was great. I would never have picked it up if it weren't for the fact that I have known Jeremy for as long as I can remember. I can tell you there is no fraction small enough to compare my knowledge of music to his, and I felt the book would be too technical for me to follow. I was pleasantly surprised.

I loved how the book showed that music was related to everything in life. There was a passage that I wished I could type word for word right now, but I don’t have the book handy. In an
May 10, 2010 Angie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Angie by: Mike
This is not something I would have picked up on my own, so thanks to Mike for sending a copy. I had to get on Youtube and watch/listen to some gamelan music as I read this. Very interesting, and I'm glad to have had this book as an introduction to Balinese music and dance. I listen to the gamelan music (which, I admit, first strikes my ears as discordant and strange), and I think of a line from the book, "The payoff for introducing students to sounds they've never heard before comes not so much ...more
I received this book via GoodReads. I requested it because I love music and am constantly amazed by the power of music to unite and evoke, yet I had absolutely no knowledge of Balinese music or Bali in general and figured it would be something to learn about. Not only did I learn a lot about both in this tiny little book, but I also learned a lot about culture, intercultural relations..and myself! The beauty of this book, I think, is that it doesn't preach but provides a space for you to reflect ...more
I wavered between 4 and 5 stars for this one, but in the end went with 5 because there's no other book like it, at least that I know of.

There are many beautiful passages in this book. (Wow. That has two distinct and appropriate meanings. I must be very clever.) Sometimes, the author would focus on a part of his journey I was less interested in, and I would become less interested in the book, but then another of these insights would pop up, making worthwhile the less interesting (but necessary) i
This a beautifully written account of a professor of musicology bringing the music and a piece of the culture of Bali to BYU. The book chronicles Grimshaw's journey to Bali and his subsequent initiation of a Gamelan group at BYU. Grimshaw does a great job breaking down the complex components of the music into understandable bits while providing a glimpse at Bali culture. This short book is worth reading especially if you have an interest in music or Indonesian culture.
Won this book on FirstReads.

Although I've never taken music lesson, I did enjoy this book about Balinese music and culture. Some of the music info was over my head, but it was very interesting, none-the-less. I really enjoyed the section about the king's cremation. It was so over the top. Literally!
The students and faculty of BYU have greatly benefited from Jeremy Grimshaw's love of world music and culture. Way to go, Jeremy!
Beautifully written and a study in how to write cross-cultural creative nonfiction and, even better, how to write about the experience of learning, playing and studying music. There are passages here that capture something that then sinks deep in to the soul.
Grimshaw starts up a Balinese music program at BYU. Gamelan instruments. I liked how he describes how the music is unique in its irregularity and how the orchestra must work together to create beautiful music.
Beautiful writing. Makes me cry every time I read it.
A lovely read. I cried at the end.
I love this book for its remarkable insights into much more than just Balinese music. If there is one metaphor that best sums up my conceptualization of life, the universe, and everything, it is that everything is a wave, a pattern, an oscillation, a rhythm, an harmonic. This book provides so much fodder for my way of thinking about things and opens up further perspectives still. I love it for that, and for Grimshaw's truly moving descriptions of the funeral of a king.
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PRESS FOR "LITTERED WITH PRAYERS" 4 9 May 19, 2010 11:24AM  
GAMELAN LINKS 1 3 May 17, 2010 11:46PM  
Jeremy Grimshaw writes about music. His first book, The Island of Bali is Littered With Prayers (Mormon Artists Group), chronicled his study of Balinese gamelan music and his adventures bringing gamelan to Utah. His most recent book Draw a Straight Line and Follow It:The Sonic Life of La Monte Young (Oxford U. Press), examines the life and work of one of music's most influential and enigmatic figu ...more
More about Jeremy Grimshaw...
Draw a Straight Line and Follow It: The Music and Mysticism of LaMonte Young Draw a Straight Line and Follow It: The Music and Mysticism of La Monte Young The Island of Bali Is Littered With Prayers

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