Gamelan at WOMAD 2012
New Plymouth 16-18 March
Gamelan performers from Wellington had a strong presence at WOMAD 2012 with three shows presenting music from Java, Bali and Sumatra.
Photo: Dominika Zielinska
|Wayang Kulit (shadow puppetry) with Pak Joko Susilo
||Minuit with Gamelan Taniwha Jaya
||"Kaba Iniak Mudo" Sumatran/Javanese tiger puppet show
|Saturday 17 March
||Sunday 18 March
||Saturday & Sunday 17 & 18 March
||1.00pm & 3.00pm
|Shell Gables Stage
||Shell Gables Stage
Performers: Budi Putra (kendhang), Jo Hilder (gender barung), Greg Street (rebab, gender panerus), Jason Erskine (slenthem), Rupert Snook and Clare Tattersall (demung), Stephanie Cairns, Helen O'Rourke and Tristan Carter (saron), Judith Exley (saron panerus), Marie Direen (bonang barung), Jack Hooker (bonang panerus), Mike Jones (kenong), Alisa Hogan (kethuk), Pippa Strom and Carina Esguerra (gong, kempul), Juliet Palmer, Briar Prastiti and Annika Naschitzki (gerong/sindhen), Anton Killin (gambang)
This new collaboration featured some of Minuit's best-known songs with Balinese gamelan parts added by Jason Erskine. For more information, see here, or read this inteview with Minuit's Ruth Carr.
Gamelan performers: Rupert Snook, Anton Killin, Jacqui Stowers and Jack Hooker (gangsas); Jason Erskine, Gareth Farr, Jo Hilder and Tristan Carter (reyong); Briar Prastiti and Mike Jones (jublag); Carina Esguerra (gongs); Clare Tattersall (kempli); James Rolfe (ceng-ceng)
Joko Susilo (dalang) and Megan Collins (kaba, rabab pasisia, saluang, drums) with Bronwyn Poultney on Javanese gender and drums.
Read an account of our performances here.
Video of highlights from our Wayang Kulit at WOMAD.
A short on-line documentary about the Minuit vs Gamelan Taniwha Jaya will be available soon - watch this space.
We also had fun participating in the WOMAD parade:
Thanks to the NZ School of Music,
the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia
and the Asia:NZ Foundation for their support.
A concert of new music for gamelan and other instruments celebrating Jack Body's 30 years at Victoria University/NZ School of Music
October 2009's Gong Crazy! concerts presented works commissioned and selected by Jack Body from a wide range of composers including Gareth Farr, John Psathas, Ross Harris, Helen Bowater, I Wayan Gde Yudane, and many others.
Guest artists included: Wang Zheng-Ting (China/Australia) - Chinese sheng (mouth organ); Irwansyah Harahap ( Indonesia ) - Indonesian hasapi (lute);
Rithaony Hutajulu ( Indonesia ) - vocal; the New Zealand String Quartet; John Rae (percussion); and Richard Nunns (taonga puoro).
One of the highlights was the piece by Jack himself in collaboration with I Wayan Gde Yudane in which the Balinese gamelan was combined to great effect with the NZ String Quartet as well as Chinese sheng, while Julian Raphael
narrated selections from Colin McPhee's 1930s book "A House in Bali". The music brought to life scenes of cricket fights, flocks of pigeons and the day of nyepi.
The remaining pieces covered a wide range of moods and instruments, with one of the more unusual being a modified spinning wheel.
See our events archive for more details.
Read a review.
Photos: Megan Ward
The Seven Ages of Man
- cross-cultural multi-media music-theatre
In October 2008, acclaimed master of Balinese masked dance, I NYOMAN SUKERTA combined with local artists to reinterpret Shakespeare's famous text.
This new collaboration between NZ and Indonesian artists was a hugely entertaining, sometimes startling, reinterpretation of Shakespeare's view of human life. Mixing multi-lingual declamation, exotic vocal styles, physical theatre and gamelan percussion this production transcended the many boundaries of time and place, language and culture. Shakespeare was never more universal than this! All the world's a stage….
See full details.
DVD available on request. NZ$20 + P&P (usually NZ$7 internationally). CONTACT US
Photo: Robert Catto/robertcatto.com
Didik Nini Thowok
Celebrated transgender dancer, Didik Nini Thowok, has now performed with us twice, most recently in February 2008 as part of the 10th anniversary of Te Papa. He performed traditional Javanese and Balinese dance, with live music from Gamelan Padhang Moncar and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya, as well as dancing the Maori story of Rona e te Marama ('Rona and the Moon') to music by Gareth Farr for both gamelan combined. This work was premiered at the 2007 Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival.
Didik was joined in a newly choreographed Balinese dance by Evie Suyadnyani, a dancer visiting from Bali. They danced exquisitely to music composed especially for them by I Wayan Gde Yudane.
Check out Te Papa's photos of the day, including many of Didik.
His previous appearance in NZ was in "A Night to Remember" in which he joined cross-dressing Gareth Farr (Lilith La Croix) for an outrageous evening of dance and music from both Java and Bali, with a bit of flamenco thrown in. Gamelan Padhang Moncar was joined by Gamelan Taniwha Jaya (Balinese) for this one-off event in May 2004.
"scintillating sounds, bright and aggressive in dazzling arrangements by Wayan Yudane... In contrast were the more languid and reserved tones of the Javanese instruments. ... Two ends of a spectrum that meet in the middle; nothing ever simply old nor brand new - just honeys made from different flora." Jennifer Shennan, Dominion Post, May 11, 2004.
See full review
12th Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival (2007)
Gamelan Padhang Moncar and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya travelled to Yogyakarta, Java in July 2007 to perform a full programme of brand new works by New Zealand composers for gamelan, many incorporating clarinet, baritone saxophone and flute.
We were joined in performance by guest Indonesian artists we have previously performed with - kroncong diva Waldjinah, and transgender dancer Didik Nini Thowok. Waldjinah performed the old favourite "Denpasar Moon" with gamelan accompaniment arranged by Gareth Farr - to great acclaim by an enthusiastic audience. Didik danced the traditional Maori story of "Rona and the moon" to music composed by Gareth for both Javanese and Balinese gamelan combined.
A highlight of the concert was the appearance of another guest - Slamet Gundono who improvised over a classic Javanese lancaran, 'Singa Neba', in which our clarinetist Andrzej Nowicki interacted first with Waldjinah singing a traditional song, and then with the truly amazing Gundono whose powerful vocals incorporated a wide range of influences. Our treatment of the piece transformed it from Singa Neba (pouncing lion) to Singa Edan (crazy lion).
Another audience favourite was Jack Body's arrangement of a number of Polish Dances for Javanese gamelan and two clarinets and baritone sax. The work of I Wayan Gde Yudane featured strongly - a new work for Javanese gamelan and winds featured angular melodic lines and interesting twists on traditional Javanese forms, while his work for Balinese gamelan featured complex rhythms and a western flute.
Other works were by Chris Watson, Judith Exley, Budi Putra and Anton Killin.
See our gallery of photos from this trip.
A CD of these works is now available - NZ$15 + P&P (usually NZ$7 internationally) - or if your gamelan group has a CD available, we are happy to exchange.
Nelson Arts Festival
October 2006 saw us transporting both a Javanese gamelan and Balinese gamelan across Cook Strait to perform in the Nelson Arts Festival.
This allowed us to present a very varied programme of traditional Javanese and Balinese music, as well as new compositions for both gamelan.
Gamelan Taniwha Jaya also accompanied Evie Suyadnyani in two Balinese dances.
In a collaboration with the choir of St Mary of the Angels, and three guest vocalists from Indonesia (Nyoman Sukerta, Muriah Budiarti, and male soprano Suyarto), Gamelan Padhang Moncar and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya again combined in this concert in November 2005. Traditional Javanese music was interspersed with plainsong arrangements by Jack Body, compositions by Gareth Farr and I Wayan Gde Yudane, and Shen Na-Lin's setting of a Chinese poem. Nyoman Sukerta also performed Topeng Tua (a traditional Balinese masked dance) accompanied by Gamelan Taniwha Jaya. A CD release of this music is forthcoming.
"the setting by Wayan Yudane of a poem by I Ketut Juliarsi called A Drop of Water at the Edge of a Leaf, [was] performed with striking authenticity by a fine assembly of Indonesian singers, gamelan (orchestra) and gamelan choir.... Dancer Nyoman Sukerta's revelatory performance of the Balinese Dance of an Old Man, however, took us convincingly into another realm, self-explanatory and universal in its meaning." Lindis Taylor, Dominion Post, November 18, 2005.
Waldjinah at the 7th Wellington International Jazz Festival
In October 2003, Gamelan Padhang Moncar collaborated with the Indonesian Kroncong Diva, Waldjinah, and her kroncong ensemble to present an evening of gamelan and jazz. Fracas Saxophone Trio also joined us for arrangements of Indonesian songs by local composers for gamelan, saxophones, kroncong orchestra and voice. Radio NZ Concert later broadcast a recording of the concert, and a studio recording is available for purchase.
From Darkness into Light
For Easter 2001 the gamelan in conjunction with the choir of Saint Mary of the Angels presented a program called 'From Darkness into Light'. This was an Easter plainchant cycle set to musical accompaniment provided chiefly by the gamelan, but also atmospheric settings of throat singing, jews harp, Phillipino Gangsa, bagpipes, organ, cello and more.
There was a large amount of public interest in this program, and this showed in a capacity audience, enthusiastic critical response and a National radio program dedicated entirely to this concert. A recording is available for purchase.
Beat! Festival, 1999
In 1999, we celebrated 25 years of gamelan in New Zealand with an international gamelan festival which featured guests from the US, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia. The week included performances of traditional and new gamelan music and a programme of seminars.
Pak Hardjo Susilo gave the Keynote Lecture, an edited transcript of which you can find here.
"A fusion of the exotic, traditional, and contemporary, all woven into ... sublime music-making from the Victoria University's Gamelan Padhang Moncar group, beginning in fine festive style Wellington's International Gamelan Festival." Michael Heath, City Voice, March 25 1999.
Evening Post Review of Beat Festival, by Lindis Taylor
A double CD of music from the Beat! Festival is available for purchase.
Asia Pacific Festivals and Sonic Circus
Gamelan Padhang Moncar members and organisational teams have been closely involved with these events in 2007, 1993 and 1984, which have involved the gathering of some fine performers and performances from the Asia Pacific regions and contemporary performers and composers from all over the world. For these spectacular events the gamelan has presented various repertoire, but also provided the means by which other interesting performances are aired publicly.
Wayang Kulit performances
Over the years, Gamelan Padhang Moncar has performed numerous Wayang Kulit (traditional shadow puppetry). Working originally with Midiyanto and more recently with Joko Susilo, we have had the opportunity to both experience this spectacular multi-media art form and sharpen our playing skills. In 2003, we accompanied Joko Susilo in a two-hour show at WOMAD in Taranaki, and more recently, we performed three 1-hour shows with Joko Susilo at Te Papa over the course of a weekend as part of the 2007 Asia-Pacific Festival and Composers' Conference.
We have also accompanied visiting dalang, Joko Santoso (pictured) in 2002.
"Seeing a dexterous dalang work a collection of more than 100 whirling puppets, flashing them across the screen, dodging and receiving arrows and spears, spinning them up and down while singing the story and adding sound effects redefines multi-tasking." Duncan Graham, Jakarta Post, 1 May 2008
New Zealand tours
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Gamelan Padhang Moncar undertook regular tours within New Zealand, from Auckland to Dunedin as well as many smaller centres.
These have always been an opportunity for the gamelan members to have some great times together and to play to audiences in some out-of-the-way places. It has been known for the number of performers to be greater than those in the audience. More recently, other Gamelan groups have grown in New Zealand, giving people in other areas more exposure to gamelan. We now have less of an emphasis on playing out of town, and more emphasis on local programmes.
Indonesia Tour '93/'94
Our first group tour to Indonesia was from December 1993 to January 1994 when the group spent six weeks in Java and Bali.
Traveling eastwards overland from Jakarta, the group stopped at cultural and historic centers to experience the culture from which gamelan originated.
Along the way we experienced all manner of social and cultural experiences, broadening our horizons and refreshing our way of seeing things.
We were also lucky enough to catch performances, including: trance dance in Cirebon, an anklung village in Bandung, the Do-Lalak in Porworejo, light bulb eating Reog Ponegoro in Surabaya, not to mention the more classical Klenengan, Wayang Kulit, Wayang Wong and Kethoprak in Central Java.
We were also involved in performances and media broadcasts, including numerous TV appearances and a radio broadcast.
There was quite some interest in there being a group of potato looking bules playing traditional music.
New Zealand School of School of Music Gamelan programme
The New Zealand School of Music (Victoria University and Massey University) offers courses in Javanese and Balinese Gamelan performance and study. In addition, students are introduced to gamelan as part of the performance component of their degree courses. Ethnomusicology courses may include a gamelan component, and the sounds of the gamelan are regularly woven into the musical compositions of student composers. See their website for further details.
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