I have been lucky enough to play the York Gamelan, Gamelan Sekar Petak (white rose, in honour of York’s white flower symbol) with a lovely group of people, some experienced players.  Recently I had a chance to return to the Hull Gamelan, Gamelan Kyai Sri Jaladri Nage – Rise of the Sea Dragon – which was the first Gamelan I played back in 2002.

Here are some recent Gamelan antics:

It was such a feast for the senses playing in the Gamelan Sekar Petak’s annual concert in York. Under the direction of Neil Sorrell there was a superb array of performers and collaborations – shamen, shakers, flutes, dancers, singers, Coritani from Humber Taiko, Global Grooves ensemble, Samba York, atmospheric lighting and during the amazing Ida-fixe sago fertility ritual, the scent of incense.

Here is our group playing the opening piece (and first piece ever played on the York Gamelan in Solo, Central Java in 1981) Ladrang Wilujeng. We also played Lancaran Maynar Sewu (a thousand weaver birds, including singing and  my favourite part, the bird like sounds ‘cru-wat cru-wit) and David Hammond’s collaborative composition, Gambas Sambal with Samba York.

Gamelan Sekar Petak – York Gamelan annual concert

We had a Northern Gamelan Network session with John Pawson – so inspirational, wonderful sounds and lots of fun. What a fantastic day. And the Gamelan looked gorgeous under the lights.

Gamelan Musical Journey We played a concert for Laurence Rugg’s Musical Journey, part of this summer’s Amy Johnson Festival. Music included a traditional piece – Kotek – Alec Roth’s contemporary pieces – Kingston Bells for Gamelan, and Bubaran Hull – with improvised interludes between each piece.

The Northern Gamelan Network video:

The Gamelan Heron – radio edit

I trained as a Gamelan workshop facilitator with Manchester’s Halle Orchestra Gamelan and to play with the Hull Honorific Sea Dragon Gamelan Orchestra back in 2002. Rich and I wrote and recorded The Gamelan Night Heron as the soundtrack to Linda Martin’s art film. We used some gamelan instruments – the saron, slentem and gender – and explored different ways of playing them for this recording. You may notice that I have a strange vocal accent. This is because I recorded Rich’s vocal, then flipped it round so it was backwards, I listened, and copied the backwards vocal, recorded it backwards then flipped it back round again.

Full length film edit

There is a film cut of the music, and a radio edit. With thanks to Hull Community Gamelan and Alan Raw for djembe and rainstick. Rich & I perform The Night Heron with our full psychedelic band, the Loudhailer Electric Company.

One Minute Gamelan Workshop