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March Newsletter
Gamelan Asmaradana
14 March 2012

About Gamelan Asmaradana Ltd
Gamelan Asmaradana Ltd (GA) is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and awareness of all styles and expressions of gamelan music in Singapore through regular performances, recitals, workshops and community outreach initiatives.

Incorporated in 2004, GA is made up of musicians trained in various genres of music, many of whom are graduates from international universities with extensive training in gamelan, world music and ethnomusicology. Through dedication and hardwork, our musicians have formulated 5 key ensembles under one roof.

The 5 key ensembles are:
- Gamelan Asmaradana - specialising in traditional Javanese Gamelan music and art forms
- Gamma:rays - focusing on contemporary-fusion gamelan music
- Gamelan SingaMurti - specialising in traditional as well as contemporary Balinese Gamelan music and related art forms
- Degung Singalagena - focusing on Sundanese style gamelan music and related art forms
- Youth / Community group based at The Republic Cultural Centre (TRCC) - nurturing greater appreciation of gamelan music in the community

Director's Message

2012 marks the 10th Anniversary for Gamelan Asmaradana. Our year began with an ambitious performance entitled “Ivory Metal” which featured contemporary music for gamelan with piano. Chang Tou Liang of The Straits Times commented that “gamelan should not be considered a traditional museum piece, but a living and breathing organism” (ST Life!, 9 Jan 2012), an inspiring observation that gives us momentum for our exciting year ahead. In March, the gamelan morphs itself into an imaginary train, “The Gamelan Express”, that takes the audience on a musical journey from West Java, across Central Java to Bali. Then, from April, our ensembles will spread their wings, starting with Degung Singalagena's inaugural performance at The Concourse, Esplanade. Also in April, Gamelan SingaMurti's community event at NUS-YSTC will feature Balinese gamelan music and dance. GammaRays will venture abroad with a trip to Malaysia to participate in
the "Ensemble of Gamelan" Festival. We'll end the year with a show entitled “Gratitude” in November, giving thanks to all and for the blessings that we have received from everyone, family, friends, supporters, sponsors and the Universe.

We look forward to entertaining and seeing you at our shows!

 

From
Newsletter Team
Gamelan Asmaradana Ltd

Flashback
What you've missed

Ivory Metal
7th & 8th January, 2012
Esplanade Recital Studio

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After many years of practicing and perfecting the art of traditional Javanese Gamelan music, GA has finally delved into the world of contemporary music with this unique showcasing of gamelan music with piano. With guest musician, Shane Thio, GA featured well-known Amercian composer Lou Harrison’s ‘Piano Concerto with Javanese Gamelan’. Also on the programme was ‘Rag for Deena’, a jazzy piece that had the audience smiling ear-to-ear and tapping their toes to the surprising sound. The Jewish melody of the ‘Sabbath Bride’ also had the audience on their toes as the mesmerizing vocal introduction gave way to the dissonant sounds of the piano with the gamelan. Suffice it to say that this is only the beginning of GA’s journey into the world of contemporary music.

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What’s On:

Feed Your Imagination
“On the Gamelan Express” | 27-29 March 2012 | 3pm & 4.45pm shows
All SOLD-OUT!

This year’s FYI performance is not to be missed as Gamelan Asmaradana proudly presents “On the Gamelan Express” as you’ve never seen it before. Pack your bags and get ready to journey through the Malay Archipelago with us as we explore gamelan music in Sunda, Central Java, and Bali! Our adventure begins in West Java where we encounter the unmistakable sounds of the Sundanese Gamelan with its intoxicating melodies, catchy rhythms, and lively dance. We then move to Central Java where we witness the stately sounds of the Javanese orchestra as it accompanies the famed wayang kulit (shadow puppet) play. From Java, we board the train once more and are whisked off to Bali where the thunderous drums and lightning speed melodies will certainly leave you speechless.

SingaMurti

For more information on FYI programmes, please contact Ms Luanne Poh at 6828 8273 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it More about F.Y.I.

 

“Instrumentally Yours”
Sundanese Degung Showcase
1-2 April 2012
Sunday: 5:15pm-5:45pm, 6:15pm-6:45pm, 7:15pm-7:45pm Monday: 7:15pm-7:45pm, 8:15pm-8:45pm
FREE Admission
Venue: The Concourse, Esplanade

 

Balinese Gamelan at YSTCM
3rd April, 2012, 7:30pm
FREE Admission | Please arrive early for seating
Venue: Orchestra Hall, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) at National University of Singapore.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to be wowed by two Balinese gamelan ensembles going head-to-head this April. Gamelan Gita Buana (NUS) and Gamelan SingaMurti (GA) will share the stage to bring you the best in traditional and contemporary Balinese music and dance. Gamelan Gita Buana will be playing on a beautiful 5-tone Gong Kebyar set, performing a traditional ‘lelembatan’ piece, a contemporary piece composed for dance entitled ‘Selat Segara’, and one solo dance item featuring Dr Irving Johnson, SEA studies lecturer, NUS. Gamelan SingaMurti will be playing on their 7-tone semarandana set, performing a welcome dance, a traditional piece entitled ‘Sinom Ladrang’, as well as the exciting music that accompanies the renowned Barong dance.

SingaMurti

For more information, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

“Gratitude, the Sacred Music of Gamelan”
Date: 30 Nov & 1 December 2012 | 8pm
Venue: The Chamber @ ArtsHouse
Tickets: $15 | 20% discount for all students / NSF / senior citizens
(excl. $2 fee from Artshouse)
Purchase tickets directly from Artshouse box office; or by phone at The Arts House
Ticket Hotline: (+65) 6332 6919; through BYTES http://www.bytes.sg

In celebration of our 10th Anniversary, Gamelan Asmaradana would like to give thanks to the community who has given support and encouragement with this performance entitled "Gratitude, the Sacred Music of Gamelan". Gamelan music has been around for centuries and has been performed for many occasions such as festivals, baptisms, weddings, rituals, funerals, birthdays, and even general elections. In this performance, we will showcase gamelan music for thanks giving, in praise of the wonderful gifts that we have received such as love, friendship, unity in diversity, stewardship, courage and community. This is the Sacred Music of Gamelan! Enjoy!


DR. Gamelan

Sundanese Gamelan Music
West Java and Central Java Ties

Both Sundanese people in West Java and Central Javanese people play on the same gamelan set of instruments. They are tuned in slendro and pelog scales. A set of gamelan slendro in West Java will resemble a small  Central Javanese gamelan.  Sundanese gamelan music tends to have a syncopated, less sustained sound as well as a faster style of playing. It is primarily used for accompanying wayang golek (rod puppet theatre) and dance.  It also can be played on its own as concert music (kliningan) and is still very popular at wedding receptions. Nowadays one usually finds the specialized tuning set which is called gamelan degung – separate from slendro and pelog gamelan sets – and is unique to West Java.

Sundanese gamelan “Degung”

Gamelan degung is thought to stem from an older Sundanese ensemble called Goong Renteng. This is a sacred gamelan only played by initiates on certain days of the year. It developed during the last century in the courts of Bupati (Regents). Since Independence it has become increasingly widespread among the general populace. Gamelan degung has fewer instruments and is less dense, with more of a transparent texture than Central Javanese gamelan, but its sweet and easily discernible melodies are lovely to listen to and a pleasure to enjoy.
The music usually played on gamelan degung has changed considerably since the time when it was played only in Court. Formerly the repertoire consisted primarily of long, rather austere pieces without singing. This style is sometimes referred to as degung klasik. Later, degung came to be used to provide accompaniment for a female solo singer, or juru kawih (degung kawih)
A gamelan degung comprises the following instruments:
Goong, jengglong, bonang, cémprés, panerus, peking, saron, kendang, suling.

Tuning and notation.

Gamelan degung has its own tuning, which is considered uniquely Sundanese : pelog degung. This is a pelog tuning with five notes, the intervals come closer to those of western music. In Java (and the West) musicians number notes from low to high or from left to right. Sundanese musicians number them the other way around. They often refer to what we call “low” sounds as “large” (gede or ageung), and to what we call “high” sounds as “small” (leutik or alit).
Here are the names of the numbers in sundanese notation : 5=la, 4=ti, 3=na, 2=mi, 1=da.
In degung kawih style, another tuning is also used: sorog (or madenda) in which the pitch number 3 is raised about a tone. To change the tuning to sorog, all keys and pots for the pitch 3 are removed from the instruments and a reserve set is substituted.

Visit our website from time to time to find out when our Degung ensemble, Gamelan Singalagena, will be performing in Singapore.

 

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Link : http://www.gamelan.org/library/
Guide to Sundanese Music by Simon Cook


 Gamelan Asmaradana Ltd.
63 Kerbau Road, Little India Arts Belt
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