Pusaka Sunda Gamelan

15 Apr

pusaka sunda
Last weekend my gamelan class took an unofficial field trip to Sacramento State University to see our instructors perform with the San Jose Sundanese ensemble, Pusaka Sunda. The group is co-directed by this guy in front, Burhan Sukarma, a master suling (bamboo flute) player and the only native Indonesian among these performers.

This first recording is “Ayang-Ayangan,” composed by Sukarma. It’s unlike anything our gamelan has ever played, and I love it. Pay attention to the flute and the drums. It’s nuts. According to the program, this song was written many years ago, but this may have been the first time it was publicly performed.

“Écéng Gondok” was written by female composer Ibu Haji Siti Rokayah, who earned much respect during the 1940s-50s in a genre dominated by men until only very recently. It features singers Laura McColm (who sometimes sings with us, too) and Danni Redding Lapuz. I’ve never, ever cried just because a song was so beautiful, but I almost did when they started singing.


4 Responses to “Pusaka Sunda Gamelan”

  1. Rae Ann - Pusaka Sunda May 3, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Your recordings came out great. Did you get any of the other pieces from the show?

    • Elisa May 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      Yes, I have almost the entire performance, except the last song when I ran out of battery. The quality is pretty good, too. I would be happy to pass them along to you!

  2. Martha May 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    Fabulous! Thank-you so much for posting. As much as I appreciate what I’ve heard of Balinese gamelan, the “softer” sounds of Sunda and some of Java are transportative. More than 25 years ago I attended a live performance of a gamelan from San Jose when I was living in Santa Cruz. It stayed with me all these years. I wonder if it was this ensemble.


  1. Gamelan Pandan Arum | Adventures in Audio - November 6, 2013

    […] from Davis, Los Angeles, Seattle and D.C. The two directors of the UC Davis gamelan played with Pusaka Sunda, Jessika Kenney performed as her duo, and a singer from the L.A. consulate group sang with the […]

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