This short warmup improv is based on an Indian scale, inspired by Dr Emit Snake-Beings‘ travels to Kerala in India, and harmonium lessons in Suva.
There’s an Indian influence throughout the album, as several sections are based on drones and modal improv (rather than the chord changes)… though this is not a traditional Indian album, we’ve borrowed ideas to inform our own experiments.
The temple in the photo is Sri Siva Subramaniya in Nadi. It’s built in the Dravidian style from southern India, which is also found in Singapore and Malaysia.
In contrast to other Pacific Island countries, Fiji has a large – almost half – population of Indian descent. Indians came to Fiji in the 19th century, as indentured labourers to work the sugar cane plantations.
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.