9 Gamelans, 5 Countries, 2 Weeks, 1 Festival
In 2005, ShadowLight Productions, with Gamelan Sekar Jaya, presented, "A Gathering of Gamelans" at The Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The festival highlighted the traditional performing arts from five countries including Bali, West Java, Cambodia, Thailand, and Southern Philippines. The festival also premiered A (Balinese) Tempest, Larry Reed's adaptation of "The Tempest" by Shakespeare.
"In the past 30 years, Bay Area gamelan has come into its own. Once 'obscure' and 'exotic,' gamelan today is recognized for influencing local composers, and has become a favorite of Bay Area audiences.
Last year, I felt moved to honor the artistic traditions of Southeast Asia - all of them endangered by global cultural homogenization - which have inspired my traditional and contemporary work. I decided to organize a festival the Bay Area hasn't seen in decades, one gathering many local gamelans to offer audiences a way to experience first-hand the clear (and subtle) relationships among various traditions. Dalangs in Java and Bali both draw from the Mahabharata - why not show how three artists from three different regions tell the same story? Cambodian dance shares some ancestry with Sundanese - it's interesting and inspiring to see them together.
Gamelan means 'orchestra,' and in the same way that a Western ensemble could denote a symphony, rock band or jazz quartet, gamelan comes in many flavors. Though it is technically an Indonesian term, the music and dance of Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines share a great affinity to that of Indonesia. We are honored to have these three additional cultures represented in A Gathering of Gamelans.
The festival culminates with a new interpretation of a Shakespeare classic inspired by both Elizabethan and Balinese traditions: A (Balinese) Tempest, fusing ShadowLight's cinematic, wide-screen theater with the Balinese music of Gamelan Sekar Jaya."
Take a moment and read through the program to learn more about the traditions, stories, artistry, music, dance, and artists involved in this festival.