Radio Show: Western Gamelan

10 Oct


I spent all last school year thinking and writing about how American students adopt a sort of Indonesian identity through gamelan music. We start playing, usually out of curiosity or boredom, and continue because we find a sense of self and belonging, a musical, cultural community.

It all culminated in my thesis project in April, but last month I got to have some freeform fun with the idea when I subbed my friend’s radio show on KDVS.

The idea was to collect an hour of songs reinterpreting tradition gamelan in a Western context. From Lou Harrison’s dueling Indonesian suling bamboo flute and French horn to Th’ Mole’s use of a killer (probably synthetic) bonang sample, it’s all artistic appropriation. It’s all introducing new audiences to these exotic sounds and furthering the power of the music.

For as confident as I feel talking about this subject, I still got nervous during the show! But I think it’s a good sign that after being a radio DJ for eight years, I still get excited enough to momentarily lose my voice.


Lou Harrison – “Main Bersama Sama”

—air break—

Pusaka Sunda – “Eceng Gondok”
Gamelatron – “Bukkan”
Arrington de Dionyso & Gamelan Gandrun Lombok – improvisation
Robert Beahrs – “Chyraa-Xor”
Yale Gamelan Suprabanggo – “O Sweet Spontaneous”

—air break—

Fox – “Kupu Kupu”
Stephen Steinbrink – “It’s Home – Make My Nest”
Four Tet – “Spirit Fingers”
Th’ Mole – “Jump Jack” (feat. Warrior Queen)

—air break—

Mario 64 OST – Haunted House level


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