November – great turnout

We had fifteen players at various points during the afternoon in our first session of November. Many new people quickly getting the hang of what to do and it is sounding good!

The resources page has been updated with a list of the pieces we are planning to work on this year, so take a look to find out more about what we are doing and for notation / video clips.

13th October – come along 2pm – 5pm

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.

6th October – a great start to the new academic year

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:

Lancaran Bendrongan

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

Ladrang Gleyong

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

Srepegan Manyura

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

Gambyong Pangkur

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

Other resources

See our resources page here http://www.durhamgamelan.org.uk/resources/ for some background info including instrument names and much more.

Gamelan restarts after a long break

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.

Update November 2018

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.

New academic year starts

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!

Durham Gamelan at Arts on the Green 2018

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.

We’re Moving…

Kempul waiting to be loaded into the van

Kempul waiting to be loaded into the van

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…

Gamelan and Angklung Performances at Khatulistiwa 2018

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.