For the people of Bali, their traditional Gamelan music is part of a culture that unites the community as one. It is about inclusive togetherness; where performers share their musical experiences as a group for the people.
Now, 30 second-year students in the new, specialist Australian Popular Music degree at the Fairfield campus of Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), will perform Gamelan music at a concert as part of their World Music Studies on Wednesday 30 May between 7.30-9.30pm at the campus' Yarra Edge Theatre.
The students have been studying Gamelan music this semester and the concert is an opportunity for students to showcase their skills with diverse Gamelan instruments to the local community.
Gamelan music consists of tuned percussion instruments and gongs and the first half of the concert involves the students in performing two different Gamelan musical styles.
These styles include Kecak, also known as the ' monkey chant', which dates back to the 1920s and is a vocal, percussion style based on ancient forms of Balinese vocal music. This will be followed by Baleganjur which is a style of military music used in the mediaeval courts between the 13-15 th centuries that accompanied soldiers and also performed as ceremonial procession music at occasions such as weddings and festival days.
The instruments for Baleganjur include cymbals and pot gongs, large bossed gongs and double-headed barrel drums. The students will walk around on the stage as they play to emulate a processional theme.
The concert will be led by NMIT degree lecturer Adrian Sherriff, who developed his passion for Gamelan music during several visits to Bali over the past 27 years. Ten years ago, he acquired these instruments to enable him to teach the music in Australia. He went to Bali to research a cross-cultural music theatre show with Gamelan music and puppetry.
Adrian grew up in West Papua where he lived until he was 13, and plays a range of Gamelan musical instruments.
In the second half of the concert, he will perform as a guest musician with about 20 members of a Melbourne based community Gamelan group, Genta Semara, performing on instruments owned by Professor Made Mantle Hood from Monash University.
This seven-tone Gamelan music uses a completely different set of instruments. The music was traditionally performed to entertain royalty in the mediaeval courts, particularly played outside the royal sleeping chambers.
Adrian said it was referred to as 'Gamelan of the Love God' and was used to create a musical ambience in the court.
This music will also be accompanied by 10 traditional Balinese dancers, male, female and children, in traditional costumes.
'Balinese Gamelan music is growing in popularity in Melbourne. There are several groups of Gamelan musicians who perform around the city about three or four times a year,' Adrian said.
'Many Australians have visited Bali where they have attended traditional Gamelan concerts and this is our opportunity to stage a concert at NMIT for people here to enjoy.'
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NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.
Interview / Photo Opportunity
Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener.