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How Do You Perform?

by Tate Grimshaw


*Do not use this for ANY academic purposes. This is a fun linguistic comparison at best, a disappointment to my dad and family friends at worst*


Taksu, Duende, Rizz. Venn Diagram.

My introduction to the concept of performance began simultaneously in a western musical setting (I remember terms like “in the zone”, “stage presence”, etc);
while I was also exposed to Balinese music via my dad’s academic endeavors. There I was made aware of taksu-



As a child, taksu was explained to me in scenarios I was familiar with. A musician who is so locked in, they can close their eyes for minutes and never miss a note. A dancer fully encapsulating their role to an emotional reception. A rhythm section member never losing tempo through a 20 minute odyssey. But there was always a deeper angle to it I didn’t grasp as a kid.


So what is it?


“Have you ever seen someone or something and you think ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off this thing/person’ ? That’s basically what Taksu is ... When Taksu is radiated in a person, it effects their tri-pramana (Three strengths of a living being) which consist of:
-The way you speak

-The way you think

-The way you act


- Miniboy_0 (2021) active contributor to r/Indonesia



I Wayan Dibia, esteemed scholar and artist from Gianyar, calls taksu “the prime energy” in a 2020 article written by Jack Paterson for Theater Art Life. In the same article, Paterson states:


“ Not solely applied to human beings, Taksu is also found in objects and the land. A mask may contain Taksu or a fertile rice field. Shrines to Taksu can be found in most households across the island ...


There is no fixed route towards Taksu. It can be achieved through the spirituality of prayer, ritual and offering; the practical of mastering the intellectual, technical, physical and moral aspects of one’s work; working to be in tune externally and internally; an element of charm; and the gods conferring it"


The Duende Connection



I have Life of Pi’d my way through several philosophical and musical schools of thought in my adulthood, but always clung to taksu within my musical philosophy.


I recently became acquainted with (and eventually joined) a collective?band? called John & Paul and the Studio Musicians, who have helped me deepen my understanding of performance through the concept of duende.


“dark as the ocean
mysterious as the first date
it's where all yr strength comes from
duende is laughing your heart of with a friend its making love to your friends too
deunde is that far away look in your eye
its knowing when to say goodbye
deunde is your soul
duende is rock n roll”


- John & Paul and the Studio Musicians


Similar to my experience with taksu, my exposure began with hearing the song Duende and hearing the term referenced by bandmates.
In Latin American folklore, duende is a mischievous gnome. In Spanish slang, duende is charisma. But what does it mean musically?


“El duende is the spirit of evocation. It comes from inside
as a physical/emotional response to music. It is what gives you chills, makes you smile or cry as a bodily reaction to an artistic performance that is particularly expressive. “ -Language Magazine: ‘In Search of Duende’


Sounds a lot like taksu from my personal understanding. Seeing other performers cling on to this concept has helped me grow within it myself.


Rizz is Serious



“I couldn’t take my eyes off this thing/person”
“The spirit of evocation. It comes from inside as a physical/emotional response”



“prime energy”


Knowing about the rizz overlap won’t improve your life that much. I find it entertaining. Anyone reading this can find plenty of resources on what rizz constitutes themselves. But it’s short for charisma, and originally referred to one’s (usually male) ability to attract another person.


I bring it up because in my experience hearing it used recently, I’ve noticed it tossed around in a way that describes one’s ability to use what makes them strong to their advantage. Almost to a supernatural level.


I won’t go any further down that road though.


I wonder how much the latter definition of rizz will stick in the zeitgeist, but for now, this three-way overlap is helping me feel more creative and free than ever. It has also helped me appreciate artistry and performance in places I wouldn’t have sought out before. Hopefully your research into these topics (mostly the first two) will do the same :)


Big shed 4ever #tempechallenge

Olympic Deth playing in Las Vegas
4 days.
3 sta
2 ba
Hell of a time.
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