Singaporeans to preserve gamelan, the Javanese Orchestra


Singapore, 11/13th/2013. Javanese orchestra (gamelan) communities have spread throughout the nation and are good in quality. Singo Nglaras, Asmarandana, and Singa Putih are three high quality gamelan groups there.

It was a good opportunity for one of the groups to collaborate with Guntur Mataram Jakarta dance group in Malay Heritage Center in Singapore. This made the Yogyakarta-style dance group proud to have a collaboration in a workshop on an orchestra rehearsal for Golek Menak dance fragment directed by Kuswarsantyo. He’s a lecturer at the art department of the Faculty of Languages and Arts, Yogyakarta State University. In this rehearsal, the Singaporean gendang (Javanese drum) Sing Wei is very good at playing cibonan for the Ayun-Ayun notation for the opening before the Menak dance fragment in the Adaninggar Mukswa play.

The composition of the orchestra for the dance consisted of Singaporeans from varied ethnical groups such as Chinese, Indian, Malayan, and also Javanese. They played the gamelan outstandingly. A couple of weeks before the performance, the notation was sent to them and they could interpret it for the collaboration. A gamelan teacher from the Czech Republic, Mr. Szum, assisted them in interpreting the notation. The teacher trained the group twice a week. 

Now, schools in Singapore are promoting the gamelan lesson through the ministry of education. In fact, the government of Singapore invites the teacher from the Czech Republic who learned gamelan in Surakarta. In contrast, Indonesia has a large number of gamelan experts, especially in Central Java and Yogyakarta Special Territory Provinces. The question is, how can the government of Indonesia employ them to teach gamelan at schools? Beside, Yogyakarta has programs for its specialty as a Sultanate Province, this is the time for each school for introducing gamelan to students as a cultural heritage and tradition. In addition, gamelan has philosophical values and is a means of education for children and teenagers. It will be good for them to know their own culture before knowing the global one. (Kuswarsantyo)

submitted by administrator