Numbers were fine last week and so we will return to our traditional approach: there is no need to book a slot, it is fine to just come along any time between 2pm and 5pm on future Wednesdays. If we do get a lot of people we can always make use of our second room. Hope to see you there.
We had a really good first session back on Weds 6th, thanks and well done to everyone who came along. Good to welcome nine new players as well as six who’ve been in the group for a while. We played the following pieces:
We learnt this by ear, it’s a loud and fast piece. We played this using the five note slendro scale – there is also a pelog version but it is quite different. Notation here: http://www.durhamgamelan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Lancaran-Tropangbang-Bendrongan.pdf and there is a score which explains exactly what each instrument does here: http://www.durhamgamelan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/bendrongan-score.pdf
This is a softer, longer piece in pelog using all the notes 1-7, with ornamentation from the bonangs and peking repeating pairs of notes in different patterns. Notation here: https://gamelanbvg.com/gendhing/pdf/p6/Gleyong.pdf. Recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8-lpGV_If0
This is a very fast / loud piece, we had a go at interlocking imbal patterns as well as the simpler ornamentation and managed some tempo changes. Notation here: http://www.durhamgamelan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/srepegan-manyura.pdf
This dance piece has a lot going on, it was good to have a go at playing through it after such a long break. Notation here: http://www.durhamgamelan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/ladrang-pangkur-manyura.pdf . See the dance here (played in pelog by our friends in London, Siswa Sukra) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNUdADBzXqg
See our resources page here http://www.durhamgamelan.org.uk/resources/ for some background info including instrument names and much more.
We stopped meeting in March 2020 as we didn’t want to contribute to the spread of Covid. Now that we have all had the chance to be be fully vaccinated, we’ve decided to restart sessions with sensible precautions. We’ll keep windows and door open, wear masks and limit numbers in the room.
We’re looking forward to welcoming a new intake of students and playing the gamelan again. Please get in touch if you want to join the group or just have a go on the instruments. Or just turn up on a Weds afternoon – although if we aren’t expecting you and have reached our maximum number we might have to ask you to come back another time.
We’ve had a great term so far with lots of new players. We’ve been playing a good range of repertoire with some pretty complex ornamentation. I’ve updated the resources page with copies of notation and various handouts.
Anyone who’s interested and hasn’t come to a session yet this year, it is never too late to join us. Come along and give it a try.
Our first session of the new academic year will be on Weds 10th October, 2pm – 5pm in our new room in Dunelm House.
We are completely open to all, please come along and enjoy having a go on our beautiful instruments. No experience required – the gamelan works very well for a mixed group, some who have been playing for years sitting alongside complete beginners. You can come every week or just occasionally and still fully participate when you are there.
Sessions are very informal and it is fine just to come to part of the session – arrive and leave when you need to.
Talk, tea and biscuits form an important part of our sessions.
See you there!
As part of an event organised by Music Durham and Durham Festival of the Arts, we played in an outdoor concert in brilliant sunshine on 9th June, alongside a selection of brass and concert bands. There were also workshops in circus skills and face-painting — and a gamelan workshop for the audience to learn a piece of Javanese music after we’d finished our performance.
The gamelan is now installed and set up in Dunelm House. Today we had our first rehearsal in the new space, getting ready for a performance on Saturday…
Last weekend a team of Durham gamelan players packed up the instruments and associated equipment and moved them out of Durham Observatory, where they’ve been for the last few years, and into Dunelm House where our new space is being made ready for us over the Easter holidays.
While we’ll miss the Observatory and its picturesque surroundings, this will be an easier venue to reach for anyone based in central Durham, as it’s a lot closer, and not located at the top of a hill. We’ll post another update once we’re properly moved in…
Both the gamelan and angklung groups performed at Khatulistiwa 2.0, an event organised by the Durham Indonesian Student Community which showcases the diverse culture of the islands of Indonesia. The event’s name, ‘Khatulistiwa’, means ‘equator’ in Bahasa Indonesia, the official Indonesian language.
As well as our performances, there was a selection of Indonesian food, traditional games, costumes, dance performances, and a workshop in Javanese writing.
On Friday we had an excellent workshop with visiting tutor Aris Daryono. Aris is a musician, composer and teacher based in London, and he travelled up to spend the afternoon with us in the Observatory teaching us new pieces with a focus on Jogya style ornamentation.
We spent the first half of the afternoon learning Ladrang Uluk-uluk, a piece that is often played before the beginning of performances in order to attract the attention of people in the vicinity and encourage them to come and listen. Unlike a lot of the music we’ve played before, there’s so much ornamentation in this style that every instrument was playing a different variation, and there were sections in which nobody was actually playing the written balungan (skeleton/melody) part.
We also worked on some srepegan and sampak with singing – particularly good practise for our listening skills as this involved lots of transitioning between different sections and listening out for signals from the drum in order to know when to do so. We had the additional challenge of learning the vocal melodies from the numeric notation that is predominantly used in gamelan music, which takes a bit of getting used to for those of us who are more familiar with Western score notation!
We’re hoping to do some more work on all of these new pieces in the near future and add them to our repertoire.