LEWISTON – The Bates College Gamelan Orchestra, joined by professional guest artists from Indonesia, will perform in concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 14, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall.

At noon Wednesday, March 11, a public workshop in Indonesian dance featuring two guest artists from Saturday’s program will be held also at the arts center.

Both events are open to the public at no cost.

Gamelan refers to a traditional Indonesian percussion orchestra composed mainly of tuned gongs, metal-keyed instruments and drums, and sometimes featuring voice and stringed instruments. The Bates Gamelan Orchestra performs traditional and contemporary music of West Java and Central Java, as well as new music by North American composers.

The March 14 program is dedicated entirely to West Javan, or Sundanese, music. Guest artists include Wahyu Roche, a virtuosic drummer, and Ening Rumbini, a dancer who specializes in “jaipongan,” a popular Sundanese dance. Roche and Rumbini will perform both by themselves and with the orchestra. They will also lead the March 11 dance workshop.

The concert also features singer Rina Oesman, who performs in a classical Indonesian style, and her accompanist, Andrew Bouchard, who plays the kacapi, a stringed instrument similar to the zither. All four artists live in Bandung, West Java.

The Bates orchestra will perform music from a variety of Indonesian genres, including tembang Sunda, a formal style of sung Sundanese poetry, and degung kawih, an ornamented style of singing accompanied by the gamelan degung, a smaller chamber ensemble used in traditional music of the aristocracy.

Roche is a member of Jugala, a pioneering jaipongan group in Indonesia. The group opened for Mick Jagger in Jakarta in 1989. Roche currently performs as a freelance musician for several groups, has written music for the workshop theater founded by the playwright Rendra and recently released his debut album as a vocalist.

Rumbini is a leading dancer of jaipongan, a modern popular style based on martial arts and village forms of dance. She has performed throughout Southeast Asia.

Unusual for a woman, Oesman studied with several master musicians and began performing when she was young. After winning first place in a prestigious vocal contest, she became a member of Jugala and began to tour internationally.

Bouchard began playing gamelan in 1984 at the University of California, Santa Cruz, under the direction of master drummer Undang Sumarna. He studied a variety of traditional instruments in West Java and received a master’s in ethnomusicology from UCSC.

The Bates Gamelan Orchestra will perform on two sets of instruments, a complete Central Javanese set made by an artisan called Mulyadi, and a degung set acquired by the college in 2007. The degung instruments were made in Bandung, West Java, in 2006 by Asep Ahum.

For more information, call 786-6135 or visit [email protected]


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