Gamelan Raga Kusuma rehearsal studio

Gamelan is the prevailing traditional music of Indonesia and is an intricate blend of sonorities, structured and patterned in unique rhythmic and melodic systems. It is built largely on tuned bronze percussion, and often accompanies highly formalized dance.

Gamelan Raga Kusuma. Photo by Ron Karnes.

Gamelan orchestras include bronze gongs, chimes, cymbals, metallophones, drums, fiddles and bamboo flutes. Our seven-tone gamelan semara dana was made by Pande Madé Sukerta in 2005 and includes intricately carved teak cases illustrating the Hindu Ramayana epic.

Daniel Martin of Gamelan Raga Kusuma plays gender wayang. Photo by Ron Karnes.

Gamelan Raga Kusuma plays primarily Balinese gamelan, both ancient and contemporary.

A subgroup plays gender wayang — music for shadow-puppet theatre, performed on 2-4 metallophones.

Gamelan Raga Kusuma performing at the Indonesian Embassy. Photo by Ron Karnes.

Gamelan Raga Kusuma has been privileged to perform in various venues along the US east coast, including in New York City and at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC, and we have played with gamelan masters from Indonesia and various ensembles from around the world.

traditional indonesian drums

Andy has posted an article on the Oxford University Press blog. It's a handy overview of the cultural context of gamelan performance in the west today.