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Gamelan Dharma Swara Brings Bali to New York

Performing on May 21, 2010, New York's Gamelan Dharma Swara show why they are the first non-Balinese group invited to compete in the Bali Arts Festival. (3 min., 45 sec.)

Performing on May 21, 2010, New York's Gamelan Dharma Swara show why they are the first non-Balinese group invited to compete in the Bali Arts Festival. (3 min., 45 sec.)

NEW YORK, May 21, 2010 - Led by Balinese master performers, New York's Gamelan Dharma Swara presented a variety of traditional and contemporary dances at the Asia Society in a preview of their 2010 Bali tour. The following text is excerpted and adapted from the program notes that accompanied their performance.

 

Program

Tabuh Pisan Bangun Anyar was composed in 1978 by Bali’s foremost living composer, I Wayan Beratha. In this prize-winning work Beratha extended the compositional possibilities of the ancient lelambatan repertoire—long-form instrumental works performed in temple ceremony contexts. For his Tabuh Pisan, Beratha incorporated elements of interlocking and orchestration from the dynamic kebyar repertoire while maintaining the languorous extended melodies of the classic form. Music arranged by I Nyoman Saptanyana.

Gabor—A sacred offering dance performed throughout Bali. Within ceremonial temple contexts Gabor is performed within the sanctified inner courtyard of the Balinese Hindu temple. Dancers: Marantha Dawkins, Phoebe Dawkins, Anya Rome, Jenny Tanudjaja, Noopur Singha, Shoko Yamamur.

Tabuh Kreasi Abhinava composed by Andrew McGraw. An experimental instrumental that incorporates parodies and mashups of traditional gamelan techniques and musical patterns. Americanisms include quotes of jazz tunes, afro-American rhythms, and game show themes. If, as a listener, it helps to have a metaphor to hang on to, listen for the growth of an individual from the cellular level through adolescence, adulthood and finally dementia.

Intermission

Music Demonstration—a journey into the architecture of Balinese gamelan music. Watch the video.

Kebyar Legong was composed in 1914 by Pan Wandres during the heady days of radical musical experimentation that coalesced in the kebyar music and dance style. The work, originally performed by boys but now by young women, portrays the sudden shifts of mood and the volcanic energy of youth. Several members of Dharma Swara studied this work in July 2009 with Wandres' grandson, I Madé Keranca. Dancers: Ida Ayu Ari Candrawati (Dance Director), Phoebe Dawkins, Noopur Singha, Shoko Yamamuro (Dance Coordinator). Music arranged by I Nyoman Saptanyana.