Our founding and purpose

Gamelan Raga Kusuma was founded in 2007 By Andy McGraw (University of Richmond) and Gusti Sudarta (Indonesian Institute of the Arts). We are a community ensemble; participation is free and open to the public. Our members come from a variety of backgrounds and we regularly work with and study under master artists from Indonesia.

In 2003 the Balinese composer Wayan Sadra (a mentor to both McGraw and Sudarta) told McGraw: “Western classical music is now completely globalized. But aren’t other orchestral traditions equally deserving of study outside their original cultural context? Is it really the case that only Western music can speak to humanity-in-general?” Since the 1980s gamelan has become an increasingly global phenomenon, appreciated and studied throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Gamelan is engineered to be highly inclusive. If you can count to eight and hit a gong (you can), there is a place for you. From there, students can take the tradition to infinite levels of expression and virtuosity. Participation does not require purchasing your own instrument or paying for expensive private lessons. If you can show up to rehearsal, there is a place for you. But gamelan is not just about music; it is a combination of sound, theater, dance and—just as important—snacks! Gamelan bring people together in face-to-face interactions that build up the social and civic infrastructure of their communities.

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Friday, March 13, 2020 - 7:00pm

Short traditional shadow theater with Gusti Sudarta, and set of collaborative keroncong and crankies with Rumput and Gusti Sudarta.
2 Shows! 7:00 and 9:00

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 10:00am

GRK accompanies Balinese shadow master Gusti Sudarta in two performances for the kids at John B Cary elementary. These will probably mostly be fart jokes and fight scenes!

Sunday, April 19, 2020 - 3:00pm

Family-friendly matinee of music from around the world. UR and community ensembles perform Brazilian, West-African, Javanese, Balinese, and Japanese musics.

Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 7:30pm

Gamelan Raga Kusuma will present traditional Balinese and Javanese gamelan works, accompanying Balinese master dancer Gusti Sudarta.

Saturday, March 28, 2020 - 7:30pm

Gusti Sudarta presents an evening of traditional shadow theater, accompanied by Raga Kusuma, and including a short opening set by Rumput. Sudarta will provide a pre-concert workshop on Balinese kecak for Yale students. Free and open to the public.

Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 3:00pm

A free, family-friendly matinee featuring shadow master Gusti Sudarta, accompanied by Raga Kusuma. Sudarta will also provide several workshops in Balinese music, theater, and dance for Wake Forest and local public school students.

Friday, March 27, 2020 - 5:00pm

Gusti Sudarta and GRK perform traditional and collaborative shadow theater with Rumput, in addition to workshops in music and shadow theater.

Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 7:30pm

Free, family friendly performance by Balinese shadow master Gusti Sudarta, accompanied by live gamelan music by Raga Kusuma. This performance recounts the tale of prince Sutasoma, a 14th century Javanese epic teaching the lessons of religious tolerance.

Saturday, June 29, 2019 - 5:00pm

5:00-6:30 Family Friendly performance of Javanese and Balinese traditional gamelan music. Complimentary Javanese snacks and coffee. Audience is invited to try the instruments afterward.
6:30-7:30 Grab dinner at the food truck parked out front or at your fav Scott's Addition restaurant/brewery. (Remember, Don't Look Back is right next door; and Courthouse Creek is in the back. . . )
Come back for Rumput at. . . .
7:30-8:30 Rumput String-band and Shadow Theater.
Suggested donation: $10 for Rumput or GRK, $15 for both. No one turned away for lack of funds.

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