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Gamelan Galak Tika

Sun, November 18th, 2007
4:00 pm

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Sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Performing Arts Endowment.

Gamelan Galak Tika will perform on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 3 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. This free event is sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Performing Arts Endowment and open to the public.

“An exuberant blast of metal fireworks!” says Anne Midgette of The New York Times. Gongs, metallophones and hand drums, cymbals, vocals, bamboo flutes and spiked fiddles fill Chapin Stage once more with this return visit by the Boston area’s first and foremost Balinese Gamelan.

This community ensemble in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has performed throughout New England as well as internationally, and collaborated with artists from across the globe, including Chinese pipa masters, Senegalese drummers, and some of the finest musicians on the American jazz and new music scene.

What is a Gamelan?

The word gamelan means “to hammer.” The term refers generally to the large percussion orchestras of Java and Bali. Gamelan is the wellspring of all music in Bali, both sacred and secular. The Balinese people are ardent practitioners of a unique form of Hinduism, and gamelan is necessary for all ritual events, as well as to mark any large social occasion. There are dozens of different types of gamelans in Bali, ranging from large metal orchestras to bamboo ensembles, vocal groups, and groups dedicated to the imitation of frog sounds. All the music is marked by the use of one of two non-tempered pentatonic scales – pelog or slendro – and by rhythmically precise interlocking parts known as kotekan.

Gamelan Galak Tika is approximately 30 members strong, drawing membership from MIT students, staff, and community. The founder and director is Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at MIT.

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