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Colour and spectacle: UC’s Gamelan Ensemble performs tonight


Every Wednesday and Thursday night students and members of the community gather at the University of Canterbury (UC) and, under the direction of Balinese postgraduate student, Made Kartawan, they practice traditional Gamelan and prepare for their big night.

The UC Gamelan Ensemble perform tonight at The Piano at 7pm, with 25 dancers and musicians and at least two original compositions of this richly dynamic and varied music.

The spectacle is something – richly coloured costumes, dancers in masks, bright parasols and many gold-coloured instruments.

The Gamelan Gong Kebyar is a traditional set of mostly percussion instruments from Bali, Indonesia. The bronze metallophones are paired in tuning to produce a characteristic shimmering tone and the musicians often perform complex interlocking rhythmic patterns, which can vary in tempo depending on the interaction between the dancer and the lead drummer.

The concert is the ensemble’s third and Kartawan’s first recital for his Doctor of Musical Arts, a practically-based qualification.

"I am impressed with the students who are interested to learn the music seriously and always to make an effort to practice individually,” Kartawan says.

Several of Kartawan’s colleagues from Bali will join the concert of both Balinese and non-Balinese performers. The audience will hear two different ensembles with unique scales: pelog represented by Gong Kebyar, and slendro by Gender Wayang. The group premieres Made’s new composition, Kanda Pat, and an original piece he created in 2012 for the sacred Barong Telek dance in Sidakarya village, Bali.

The performance setting will also reflect the Balinese Hindi ritual with offerings. The dance items include some masked dances which portray various characters from traditional Balinese rituals, including an old man, and colored masks for positive and negative forces.

This event is free. To join the UC Gamelan Ensemble contact course coordinator - no experience is necessary.

Watch the UC Gamelan Ensemble here.


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