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A Postcard from Bali

@pepperkeen

"Every time I visit friends in Tabanan, it hits me deep in the chest. There’s a beautiful energy that stirs in the region."

This postcard comes from dreamy Bali. As head of music & cultural programming at one of South East Asia's most established venues, Potato Head, Pepper Keen lets us in on the blissful island's creative scene and his favourite parts of his adopted home.

How are you doing?

Thanks to some very special friends scattered around the world, who have been feeding my positivity, I’m feeling up, feelin' strong! Every day is different, though I’m trying my best to stay on that trip, and share the uplift onward. Whenever, and in whatever form it’s needed.

How would you describe Bali in three words?

Underlying magic frequencies.

What are your favourite things about the island?

I relocated to Indonesia late last year in 2019, shifting my work from one of a globally-roaming nature, to focus on building a home/work/life here in Bali. So, in saying that, I’m very much still in a state of discovery. Things still have a gloss of mystery and awe. The general nature and temperament of the local Balinese community, and of course the temperature of island life, both play a big part in the appeal of my surrounding environment. There are true true sweet hearts here. In mass.

Who’s are some ones to watch right now?

My dear friend, Ican Harem. Visual artist, clothing designer, vocalist of Gabber Modus Operandi (check them out here and here) and maker of many great things. 19 year-old environmental activist and change-maker, Melati Wijsen (of Bye Bye Plastic Bags) deserves a massive shout out. Her contribution to Indonesia, and the world at large is significant to say the least. Indeed one to watch and learn from.

DJs on my radar are Dita, Gero, Kasimyn (also of GMO), Mairakilla, Raissa, artist Pinky Gurl Bali, and band, Rollfast.

One I have to mention is Dewa Alit. A gamelan master, well-known across this region, though perhaps relatively undiscovered in a general global sense (for now). Regardless, one to watch! I’ve been listening to his latest recordings quite a bit of late. Alit takes an interesting contemporary approach that pays respect to the instrument’s traditional roots.

Where’s your favourite food spot?

Kaum. An Indonesian restaurant at Potato Head, in Seminyak. Their fish dishes and sambal matah get me goin' :)

Any local phrases we should know?

Hmmm... I guess similar to the english phrase ‘Your eyes bigger than your stomach’ - 'lapar mata', translates to ‘hungry eyes’, which I like better. Also a common occurence at the above restaurant.

Your favourite neighbourhood and why?

Ever tytime I visit friends in Tabanan, it hits me deep in the chest. There’s a beautiful energy that stirs in the region. An extended family of gamelan players and dancers have taken myself and other friends under their wing, and made us feel very welcome, and at home there.

It’s far enough away from the heavy tourist strips, though close enough to home. I’m based in a local family neighbourhood somewhere between. So, it’s a quick and easy place to refresh.

Where are you looking forward to going when we can all travel again? Why?

I’ve been longing to visit Jogja/Yogyakarta (on the Indonesian island of Java) for a solid 10+ years. So, it’ll be my first port of call once movements allow. The Jogja creative community is powerful!

Outside of Indonesia, I had hoped to get to Ethiopia at some point, to continue some research that I’m excited by. Partnered with a stop into Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda. That would be heaven also!

Postcards delivered every week - so watch this space!

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