Gamelan Padhang Moncar and Gamelan Taniwha Jaya travelled to Yogyakarta, Java in July 2007 to perform a full programme of brand new works by New Zealand composers for gamelan, many incorporating clarinet, baritone saxophone and flute.
We were joined in performance by guest Indonesian artists we have previously performed with – kroncong diva Waldjinah, and transgender dancer Didik Nini Thowok. Waldjinah performed the old favourite “Denpasar Moon” with gamelan accompaniment arranged by Gareth Farr – to great acclaim by an enthusiastic audience. Didik danced the traditional Maori story of “Rona and the moon” to music composed by Gareth for both Javanese and Balinese gamelan combined.
A highlight of the concert was the appearance of another guest – Slamet Gundono who improvised over a classic Javanese lancaran, ‘Singa Neba’, in which our clarinetist Andrzej Nowicki interacted first with Waldjinah singing a traditional song, and then with the truly amazing Gundono whose powerful vocals incorporated a wide range of influences. Our treatment of the piece transformed it from Singa Neba(pouncing lion) to Singa Edan (crazy lion).
Another audience favourite was Jack Body‘s arrangement of a number of Polish Dances for Javanese gamelan and two clarinets and baritone sax. The work of I Wayan Gde Yudane featured strongly – a new work for Javanese gamelan and winds featured angular melodic lines and interesting twists on traditional Javanese forms, while his work for Balinese gamelan featured complex rhythms and a western flute.
Other works were by Chris Watson, Judith Exley, Budi Putra and Anton Killin.
Compositions for this festival appearance were funded through Creative New Zealand (see here for an account of the trip on their website).
These works were recorded on a CD, Now I Know.