This fund-raising event was sparked by a tragedy in Cirebon, Indonesia, in April this year when a wall adjacent to the rehearsal space collapsed on top of the players, killing seven youngsters, aged between 12 –15 years, and their teacher, dhalang Mas Herman Basari.
The Cirebon area of Northwest Java is dear to our hearts. Allan Thomas brought the first gamelan to New Zealand from Cirebon in 1974. You can read about the history and about these instruments on the Gamelan NZ site by following the links. Later named The First Smile, the ensemble is still played by a local Wellington group who are embarking on a fund-raising campaign to send support to Gegesik village and families affected by the tragedy. Plans are already underway there to purchase a new gamelan, and dedicate it to the memory of those who died.
You are invited to attend what promises to be a spirited occasion, and to contribute generously to the funds. The programme for this concert will include:
A wayang kulit (shadow puppet show), The Fall of Gathutkaca, performed by dhalang Ki Joko Susilo, accompanied by Gamelan Padhang Moncar of the New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University of Wellington. Dr. Joko Susilo is a celebrated dhalang, Indonesian traditional shadow puppet-master, the eighth generation in his family. He has lived with his New Zealand family and taught gamelan in Dunedin for over 25 years, but is often in demand for wayang kulit performances and gamelan teaching abroad.
Ambassador Bapak Tantowi Yahya will also perform as part of the event.
Tickets are $30 per adult. School aged children are free. All funds will be directly sent to Cirebon.
ShadowPlay – an exhibition of wayang kulit shadow puppets from Cirebon (West Java) at Pataka Museum in Porirua. The antique collection of puppets was purchased by the late Allan Thomas (who also commissioned me to contribute to the book Jazz Aotearoa) in 1974 together with a set of gamelan instruments. Jennifer Shennan and Joko Susilo have worked to curate a unique exhibition showcasing these treasures.
Saturday 6 February, 11:30am, Performing Arts Studio, Pataka Art + Museum
Wayang kulit performance by Joko Susilo accompanied by The First Smile gamelan.
The group performs traditional repertoire from the courts and villages of central Java as well as contemporary works by New Zealand composers such as Jack Body and Gareth Farr. They also frequently accompany wayang kulit (traditional shadow puppetry) with Joko Susilo.
Partly because I’ve visited several countries in East Asia now, and lived in two (Japan and South Korea), Indonesia seems like something else entirely. It’s less Chinese-influenced and has a style of its own.
[Diary from September] This trip was just enough for an introductory sampler. I decided to focus on the arts this time rather than the mountains, ocean and jungle which would require more time, money and preparation.
Gamelan Taniwha Jaya is a group of New Zealand musicians dedicated to the study and performance of Balinese music. They specialise in contemporary music for Gamelan Gong Kebyar, and frequently incorporate western instruments into the ensemble. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s my first video from Bali, from footage taken on my earlier visit in August. Note the gamelan (bronze percussion) and rindik (bamboo percussion) soundtrack.
I left my job in Perth and am on my way home to New Zealand, so I’m nervous about jobhunting & starting all over again (again). On the way home I’m spending a week on a smaller island, Nusa Penida, doing conservation volunteer work with www.fnpf.org If you’d like to help me afford to stay longer and make more of a contribution ($20 = 1 day’s expenses) please – or even better, buy some of our music.
Bali is (once you get away from the main city and the tacky resorts in the south) an almost absurdly beautiful place… frangipani and Indonesian flags (preparing for the August 17th independence day celebrations) everywhere, majestic hillsides lined with centuries-old rice terraces, and too many Hindu temples to count (each family has t…heir own). That plus the many international flights, and entertainment options from adventure sports to nightclubbing to traditional arts make it easy to see why it’s such a popular destination (I read somewhere that 80% of visitors to Indonesia go to Bali and nowhere else, which makes me glad I saw Java first).