After 14 years of developing its repertoire and playing before and educating 25,000 people in the last three years alone, Minnesota’s own Sumunar Gamelan & Dance Ensemble embarked on its Indonesian performance and study tour on July 3, 2010.
The tour includes an invited performance at an international Gamelan music and dance festival in Yogyakarta, Central Java, as well as performances at a series of arts and traditional universities throughout the island. The 18-member ensemble will visit four major cities — Jakarta, Bandung, Surakarta and Yogyakarta to perform for a variety of audiences, presenting traditional Indonesian music pieces and dance choreographies, along with new compositions and arrangements of several American songs.
During the tour, the Sumunar Ensemble will engage in artistic collaboration and study with gamelan performers and educators at a number of arts and traditional universities. A tour highlight will be participation in the international Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival, along with gamelan groups from various countries. Sumunar performances are under the direction of Joko Sutrisno, gamelan, and Tri Sutrisno, dance. They have also planned and organized this tour for the Sumunar group.
Sumunar’s objective for the tour is to promote artistic understanding and collaboration between the United States and Indonesia. Members of the Sumunar ensemble seek to gain a better understanding of the Indonesian art forms by attending gamelan and dance performances in the Indonesian environment. Discussions and collaborations with other arts groups are intended as first steps in setting up an artistic exchange program.
“Gamelan” involves a stage full of percussion instruments featuring bronze and teak gongs, metallophones, xylophones and drums, accompanied by flutes and strings. The rich combination of instruments creates beautiful soundscapes that are both upbeat and hypnotic. Indonesian traditional dance is restrained and graceful, with elegant and colorful costumes.
Sumunar, meaning a glowing light in the Indonesian language, is a Twin Cities-based Indonesian music and dance program. Through performances, school residencies, and community classes, the program has reached more than 25,000 people in the last three years. For more information, see www.sumunar.org.