As a community group, pleasure in the playing and performing of
Balinese music is the cohering factor of our existence. We also
have a high regard for the music and the skills required, and we
see our performances as opportunities to raise the awareness of
gamelan music in the Australian community.
|Over the years we have found that we have needed to adapt
our presentations to cater for our mainly western audiences,
whose listening practices and expectations of music don't always
correspond with the structures of gamelan music. This means
sometimes running tunes together into medlies, sometimes shortening
existing compositions, and at other times collaborating with
dancers like Karensa Johnson, musicians like Francis Gilfedder,
to produce narrative dance dramas in 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003.
Despite these adaptions for particular audiences, we strongly feel
the need to re-identify and strengthen the traditional sources of
the music by cultural exchanges with Balinese musicians. This is
not an aim for 'authenticity', which is a problematic concept when
we consider that the particular genre of gamelan we play evolved
in Bali in the 1930s in response to Western visitors; rather, it
is an acknowledgment of the Balinese musical culture that we have
transported to play in regional Australia. It is also in recognition
of our need for the continued development of our skills, knowledge
and repertoire in order to sustain the group.