The Comic Con of Gamelan

4 Nov

The Indonesian Embassy and the Smithsonian joined together this past weekend to host Performing Indonesia: A Conference and Festival of Music, Dance, and Drama. Gamelan ensembles from all over the United States and Indonesia shared the stage, or floor space as it was, three stories below the National Mall in the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center.

4 gamelans

I have many recordings to share from the highlights of this festival, but I’ll start with what the inside of my head has sounded like for the past few days. The finale of Saturday’s first “Gamelan Marathon” was a free-for-all, a total gamelan overload, with four ensembles playing simultaneously in one room.

It’s funny that gamelan music is intended to calm the chaos of the universe and preserve cosmic order, because this was one of the most chaotic, disorderly barrage of sounds I’ve ever heard! I felt like I was going insane. So fun.

Hear more from the festival:


2 Responses to “The Comic Con of Gamelan”

  1. Zac November 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    It sounds like a waterphone!

    • Elisa Hough November 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      I had to look that up! An instrument using water, invented by a guy named Waters? Crazy!

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