An Indonesian musician presented a gamelan performance dubbed An Evening of Gamelan Music on at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) in Glasgow. Two gamelan instruments pelog and slendro, that were existed in Glasgow since the 90s and have never been played together before, were played together at the show on Tuesday night to bring a new atmosphere.
The gamelan ensemble show was made possible by a cooperation of gamelan composer from ISI Surakarta Prasadiyanto, Glasgow’s gamelan community Naga Mas, and the RCS under the leadership of J. Simon van der Walt.
Prasadiyanto was invited by the Education and Cultural Attache at the Indonesian Embassy in London (KBRI London) Prof. E. Aminudin Aziz. KBRI London planned to make a residency program for artists in a number of institutions in the United Kingdom since 2017, as stated in the press release received by Tempo on Saturday, June 17. The residency of Prasadiyanto was the first wave of the program.
The event was opened by Indonesian Ambassador to London Dr. Rizal Sukma. He explained the importance of the residency program to the Indonesia’s diplomatic mission in the UK. There are certain ways to create a diplomatic tie with the country that is known to have the largest community of gamelan artists around the Europe.
“The existence of gamelan residency can be a very important agent to the success of a diplomatic mission. Therefore in the future, such program must be strengthened and duplicated, either in the number or in the period of time,” Rizal Sukma said.
Meanwhile, an RCS music director Dr. Gordon Munro expressed his gladness in his speech. He said he could understand Indonesian traditional music closer as well as the people of the country after witnessing the show.
J. Simon van der Walt who has been working with Prasadiyanto in the past three months supports Munro’s statement. He viewed that gamelan is like a magic; its sound creates peace and describes sincerity. “The more I learn gamelan from Prasad, the more I fall in love with it,” said the head of music department at the RCS. He is also planned to visit Solo to improve his ability in playing the Indonesian traditional instrument.
The show presented classical gamelan performances, such as ladrand wilujeng, gegot, mugi rahayu, lancaran manyar sewu, baita kandas, and many others. Prasadiyanto rearranged the music based on today’s condition and especially the taste of the Glasgow people to create a different atmosphere. In addition to the musical performances, a dance called gambyong pangkur dance was also performed to enliven the show.
The Indonesian Embassy’s Education and Cultural Attache Prof. E. Aminudin Aziz said the residency program at the RCS can be the first step to the Indonesia’s cultural diplomatic program in the UK and also as the benchmark of the program in other locations. He was also optimistic that gamelan could survive in the country.