Dangerous Things: Gamelan Galak Tika [CD]


Dangerous Things
Gamelan Galak Tika

1. Panyembrama  
2. Oleg Tambulilingan  
3. Panji Semirang  
4. A Dangerous Thing (Dan Schmidt)  
5. Kumuda Sari (Desak Made Suarti Laksmi)  
6. Taruna Jaya  

Liner Notes

Traditional Balinese music and new works by Dan Schmidt and Desak Made Suarti Laksmi

Performed by Gamelan Galak Tika

Liner Notes

Gamelan Galak Tika is the Boston area's first and foremost Balinese gamelan. We’ve been together since 1993, studying and performing both traditional and modern Balinese music and dance, as well as developing new, innovative works that cross borders and defy genres. A community ensemble in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we’ve now 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. The primary instruments are gongs, metallophones and hand drums, with cymbals, vocals, bamboo flutes, and spiked fiddles used as well.

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.

We play on two complete sets of instruments, both custom-built to our specifications by Balinese master smiths. The original Galak Tika instruments are a pelog set designed to play various traditional repertoires; our new set, the Beta Gamelan, is a unique slendro, based on Pythagorean principles and designed to work with instruments from other cultures. “Galak Tika” is Bahasa Kawi (classical Javanese, a dialect of Sanskrit) for "intense togetherness."

Who We Are

Gamelan Galak Tika is approximately 30 members strong, drawing membership from MIT students, staff, and community. Our founder and director is Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at MIT. We rehearse for roughly five hours a week and perform as often as we can. The group learns aurally, without the aid of notation, and functions in the tradition of a Balinese village sekeha, with decisions made communally and responsibilities shared among the members of the ensemble.

Since its inception, Gamelan Galak Tika has devoted itself to studying traditional Balinese music and dance and to developing new works by Balinese and American composers. We has given dozens of performances around the East Coast and New England, at venues including Zankel Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, the Boston Museum of Science, Boston’s First Night and the Kripalu Yoga Institute, along with numerous universities and high schools. Our programs have included presentations of traditional Balinese repertoire, new works by twentieth-century Balinese and American composers, collaborations with Ensemble Robot, the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble, tai chi master Bow Sim Mark, computer music duo Basso Bongo, and Odd Appetite. Gamelan Galak Tika has given school workshops, offered dance classes, and also devised the first-ever “kecak-along,” a participatory performance in which 1,000 people were taught to shout the interlocking rhythms of the famous Balinese monkey chant. Galak Tika has premiered music and dance works by Dewa Ketut Alit, Nyoman Catra, Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Joshua Penman, Dan Schmidt, Danielle Smith, Christine Southworth, Nyoman Windha, Evan Ziporyn, and Rebecca Zook.

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