The Durham Gamelan Society provides an ideal opportunity to musically travel to the heart of Indonesia, without having to go beyond Durham University. This is where the Music Department’s Javanese gamelan instruments are housed – a large array of tuned gongs (some hanging from stands and others laid out on frames), metallophones and drums. The traditional Javanese music played on these instruments is both highly appealing – a many-layered wash of hypnotic reverberating sounds – and extremely challenging, being based on complex principles quite different from those of the Western Art tradition.
Back in the early 1980s, Durham University was a pioneer in introducing the pleasures of Javanese gamelan music to the UK. Since then, many other music institutions have acquired gamelan sets, but experts agree: the Durham instruments are of an unusually high quality, creating crystal clear sounds with highly distinctive character. The Durham Gamelan Society has continued to thrive since those early days, meeting every Wednesday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm for friendly, informal practices and regularly giving performances, both in the department and at other events in the region.
The group is open to all and is a mix of university students, staff and community members. No western musical experience is required. It is not necessary to commit to coming every week, or for the whole afternoon – come along and give something new a try.
We rehearse almost every Wednesday afternoon; either turn up or contact the MD [email protected] if you want to find out more about playing with the group or booking a performance or workshop.