In the Balinese mood…


This past Monday the QC Gamelan, Yowana Sari, had their second gig this semester! Woo hoo! And I just received my check for the first gig we had in early September so I’m in the Balinese mood (and in my mind that entitle happy thoughts and proud to be a Gamelan performer!). For those of you who are not aware of gamelan, it is hypnotizing, wavering, meditative, exciting music. The instruments that makes up a gamelan are mostly percussive but they also include the Balinese flute called the suling and the rebab which is a string instrument. Here’s a picture of our beautiful instruments imported straight from Bali:

Each instrument is part of a pair (one High, one Low) and they are purposely out of tune with one another to imitate the swaying sounds of waves. The sea is clearly an important part of Balinese culture for they are surrounded by it. In Bali, the music plays a big role in their culture. It’s what they do to praise, to amuse and to entertain. They also have dancing in some songs which has a lot to do with small movements in the eyes, fingers and toes. Male dancers represent warriors and they look like this:

The last gig we just had was at Concordia College in West Chester . It was a sort of master class about Gamelan. We performed for them two contemporary pieces (one by the percussion professor, Michael Lipsey) and one traditional. They went nuts. Never heard so much “oooh”-ing and “ah”-ing before. Especially after we performed when we allowed them to come play with the instruments. They asked us all sorts of questions about the instruments and culture but the best comment of the night had to be, “You guys don’t look like you’re from Bali..” None of us said we were…but this made me more proud of being at Queens College and being part of Yowana Sari. We have two more gigs to go this semester, including one in the city! But most importantly we have Bali waiting for us to go THERE ….oh it shall be grand…

Check out our performance of Michael Lipsey’s (percussion professor) piece…it includes an amplified tube: