When our pension owner announced he regularly got in a circle with a load of his pals to chant ‘cak’ and walk across hot coals we were intrigued. Invited along, I naturally grabbed the camera and settled down to enjoy the show.
Tracing its roots from Sanghyang dedari, a traditional Balinese dance exorcism, Kecak is part of the religious expression of the Balinese adapted into an art form.
As the deep, rhythmic chanting commenced the movements of two archetypal Balinese girls told the story of a battle between a monkey army and an evil king. Their dancing also provided the visual stimulus loved by the lenses of great photographers and me. Later male performers worked themselves into a trance and walked across burning coals.
Even I could have got some good shots, right? Nope, I had forgotten to charge the camera. Though I did manage to coax five shots out of the dying battery the rush with which I took the shots combined with the low light ensured the usual blurred travesties with which readers of this column are familiar.