Just like its title, "What makes it great?" this is a story of one of Indonesia's classical music, Javanese Gamelan. Monday night (11/14), Kusuma Laras, a group of Javanese Gamelan supervised by Indonesian Consulate General in New York, has an honor to perform in front of New York's public at the one of the prestigious art and culture center in New York, the Lincoln Center. The performance that night was a part of White Light Festival which was held from October 20 until November 19, 2011. The White Light Festival offers experiences of passionate beauty and occasion of profound insights into the many dimensions of our individual selves and the collective shared forces of the human condition. This year is the second year of the festival.
There's something special in the performance that night. Unlike the past performances of Kusuma Laras, there is a special commentator, Rob Kapilow (an exclusive Schimer composer who has been widely known in America, Europe, Asia and Australia), who gave approximately an hour long elaboration about Gamelan Jawa and what makes it great. Kapilow started by introducing each musical instrument played in the Gamelan. Every time he finished explaining an instrument, he would asked to audience to join him in copying the sound made by the instruments.
Kapilow also explain the deep philosophy of Javanese culture embed in the classical music of Gamelan Jawa. The music of Gamelan Jawa was all about harmony and balance between unity and variety. Each instrument exists and played to complement each other in creating a wonderful music. The way Kapilow interacted with the audiences, sharing with them the beauty and mystery of Gamelan, has catch their attention. In the end of the performance, audiences who were captured by the greatness of the music were not only able to enjoy the music, but they also able to appreciate the music.
The performance was opened by a song titled Geger Sekutha before Kapilow began his elaboration. After Kapilow's presentation, the show was followed by more songs such as Laler Mengeng, Panjang Ilang, and Asmarandana. As many as 268 New Yorkers came to the performance, and went home with a new knowledge of the beauty, mystery, moreover, greatness of one of Indonesian Classical Music, Gamelan Jawa. (Source: KJRI New York).
Note: Kusuma Laras was formed 28 years ago at the Indonesian Consulate General in New York. Kusuma Laras ("Flowering Harmony") has enthralled audiences in the US and Indonesia with its authentic performances of music and dance from the classical repertoire of the courts of Central Java. The ensemble has been a treasure of the New York City cultural science since its first performance in 1983 in a Tribeca loft, using instruments built especially for the Indonesian Pavilion at the 1964-65 World's Fair in Flushing, New York.