GAMELAN ORCHESTRA & WAYANG PUPPETS
Gamelan master Sumarsam brings his Indonesian orchestra and puppet show from Wesleyan University.
Gamelan music is the pulse of Yogyakarta, cultural center of Java. It is a mesmerizing experience with its insinuating, liquid melodies, like a never-ending stream – pure and mysterious like moonlight and always changing like flowing water. It is an integral part of Javanese dance dramas and the ever popular puppet shows.
Indonesian Professor Sumarsam comes to the FREE Young Persons’ Concerts from Wesleyan University, bringing his Javanese Gamelan orchestra and Wayang Kulit to perform a scene from an all-night Wayang Kulit performance. Wayang Kulit is the traditional Javanese shadow play, enacted with flat leather puppets. Gamelan refers to musical ensembles from the islands of Java and Bali in Indonesia and the music played by them. The Gamelan typically accompanies these shadow puppet plays, a staple of Indonesian entertainment, that tell the riveting and endless stories of the Ramayana.
Perang Kembang, or The Flower Battle, is the puppet play to be shown at the FREE Young Persons’ Concert. It is the story of Arjuna, the hero, and his servant/companion Semar and Semar’s three buffoonish sons, who furnish comic relief. After Arjuna and his companions are accosted by the fanged demon Cakil, Arjuna and Cakil do battle. Perang Kempang is the Flower Battle in which the puppeteer demonstrates his skill at the intricate manipulation of multiple puppets. Arjuna, because of his prowess as a warrior, defeats the evil Cakil, thanks to the virtuoso performance of Professor Sumarsam, the puppeteer or dalang for our performance.
Professor Sumarsam, who hails from Yogyakarta in central Java, brings to our concert a 16-piece Gamelan that consists primarily of bronze percussion instruments – various sizes of gong and gong-chimes and various types of metellophones and a xylophone. Also included is a rebab, or two-stringed fiddle. The kendhang, or drum, functions as a conductor, setting tempos and giving cues to the performers.
But of all the arts of Yogyakarta, Wayang Kulit is most beloved by the people. Its performances are all-night affairs in which the dalang, or puppeteer, is the key producer, ventriloquist, historian, wise man, storyteller. He breathes new life into the retelling of these ancient tales, reaffirming the balance between the antagonist and protagonist, which is a central motif in Javanese philosophy.
Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble directed by I.M. Harjito and Sumarsam
No Master Classes.
**Please note: this concert takes place at TRINITY CHURCH in Southport, CT.
For more information about Music for Youth, please click here or call 203-227-1611.