The Gamelan Heron

Our original Night Heron song is influenced by Welfare State International’s magical heron lantern installation on a boat on Lake Windermere. It was part of the millennium Cityscape symposium which explored how art is good for the earth and which for us made the natural earth unworldly…

I was lucky enough to train as a Gamelan workshop facilitator with Manchester’s Halle Orchestra Gamelan and to play with the Hull Honorific Sea Dragon Gamelan Orchestra. 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.

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 band Loudhailer Electric Company.  You can hear the full psychedelic electric album version here. –

Imagine a lake; very still, no ripples, as clear as glass.   And as night falls the full harvest moon rises into the September sky. Little fires burn all around the lake…  Wood smoke drifts up to the stars…

On the lake, a boat; and on the boat, a huge paper heron all lit up with electric light. And from the boat the sound of the gamelan fades into the distance as the boat rows towards the far shore.

We watch this, looking down through the trees… and we see… the Night Heron…

You are the night, heron I am… Over the silver moonbeam plated lake our eyes swam southwest to find the full moon and I still believe we can moor our boat to the farthest shore. Listen to our hearts and the gamelan, pure and right inside us…

You are the night heron I am… and even if there is a stone’s throw between us south and north still still together alone entwined and like and being, our sweetest dna flowing between us around and through… you’re coming with me I’m coming with you…”

© 2002 R & L Duffy-Howard

Lou D-H

Listen to The Gamelan Heron Full Length Film Cut

...and finally, click here for our newest skeletons


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