Gamelan and other Indoor Sports

By suakatribe on Friday, November 28th, 2008

Mr. Rully very kindly took time out of his busy schedule on Saturday evening to accompany me to the fall concert of Gamelan Dharma Swara at the Indonesian Consulate. What a treat! I had heard various gamelan ensembles on CD, but it’s a whole different experience live – I actually got goosebumps as the first notes sounded. The intricate rhythms are fascinating and transportative, and the interplay and coordination among the twenty or so musicians was nothing short of amazing. They performed seven pieces in various styles, including temple dances; a Baris portraying a young warrior (whose expressions and eye movements were sublime); a virtuoso gender wayang duet; and of course the Barong made an appearance, much to my delight. It was like spending a couple of hours somewhere far, far away from New York City – perfect for a freezing cold November night.

After the performance, I had the great honor of meeting I Nyoman Saptanyana, the musical director of the group who has been playing gameland since the age of seven! His suling (flute) and kendang (drum) is featured to great effect on Suaka’s song “Racun.” Much respect to him for his work both preserving and innovating this traditional art form.

Sunday night brought a different flavor of Indonesian culture when we went to see Padi at the Warsaw in Brooklyn. They were actually the second high-profile Indonesian band to play in New York this month – Slank is touring as well, and delivered a rocking set a few weeks back. Padi, whose sound is reminiscent of U2 or Smashing Pumpkins, played for over two hours. The crowd loved every minute of it and screamed for more every time they left the stage. Best of luck to them for the rest of their time in America.

In other news, Suaka’s next show is this Sunday, November 30 at the Knitting Factory Tap Bar, with Uzuhi and four other bands as part of In The Sun Vol. 4. I hear that they will be performing some of the new tracks off the upcoming album, so don’t miss it!

Thanks for reading, below some documentations, hope to see you on Sunday. Peace.

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