POCKET GAMELAN is an evening-length show presented by Talujon percussion sextet which features newly commissioned works by American composers Glenn Kotche and Nick Brooke, choreography and performance by Mugiyono Kasido, and a new work by Dewa Alit, a leading experimental composer from Indonesia.
The multimedia program re-imagines the gamelan as a makeshift and dynamic instrumentarium, comprised of parts gathered from the surrounding environment.
“Gamelan” is a catchall term for the orchestras of Java and Bali, most of which share gongs and slab-key metallophones, along with flutes, strings, and often singers. Far from a static instrumentarium, a gamelan can vary from a marching ensemble to a chamber group, and composers often augment or rebuild the gamelan.
Since at least the Paris Exposition of 1889, the gamelan orchestra has been a subject of fascination and source of innovation for Western composers. Yet new music for gamelan is rarely heard outside Java and Bali, in part because the gamelan’s gongs and slab-key instruments weigh in excess of two tons. As Javanese gamelan spreads beyond Indonesia, smaller portable amalgams called “campur sari” (or “mixed essence”) are emerging. In “Pocket Gamelan,” Talujon reinvents the gamelan in a visually striking, ingeniously transportable manner, cobbled together from instruments representing an archipelago of influences.
The first step in putting this ambitious project together is in-depth collaboration between ensemble, dancer, and composers culminating in several workshop-style staged performances. The collabortive workshop will take place in NYC and Bennington College from November 24 to December 1. The first performance will take place at Bennington’s Martha Hill Dance Theater on December 2. A second performance will be held at Queens College’s LeFrak Concert hall on December 4.