COMPOSERS: Traditional Music from Central Java
WORKS: World Music etc
PERFORMER: Banyumas Bamboo Gamelan
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5550
Gamelan has a courtly image, so the Javanese village traditions of Banyumas come as a vital broadening of the picture. Two centuries ago the region’s royalty gave up power, and the music passed into local culture. Far from stultifying, it has continued to thrive and develop, cheerfully taking in outside influences from the neighbours’ drumming to modern pop.
The Banyumas Bamboo Gamelan CD features traditional pieces, but the impact is quite different from the massed metallic sound familiar from the more commonly heard bronze gamelan ensembles. The bamboo construction ensures a lighter, sweeter tone and the numbers are smaller, while vocals and choruses give a hint of the all-night parties where such a gamelan would perform. It is quite hypnotic even on a truncated time-scale – these adaptations were recorded during a 1996 European tour by a specially selected group.