Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"The Passion of Gamelan and Pop Sunda" at Pitt, April 12 and 13.

Poster from the Asian Studies Center.

Pitt will host a concert on April 12 and 13 featuring its University of Pittsburgh Gamelan orchestra and several visiting Indonesian musicians. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes today about Pitt's program and the upcoming collaboration this weekend:
The University of Pittsburgh is one of the few American colleges to have this Indonesian orchestra composed of percussive instruments of brass and iron. Gamelans are usually given a name, and in the case of the 40 instruments that Pitt received in 1994, "Kyai Tirta Rukmi" -- Venerable Rivers of Gold -- also had black and gold colors and carvings of the Pitt Panthers logo.

The gamelan is a centuries-old music tradition of Indonesia. The University of Pittsburgh is one of the few American colleges to have an orchestra composed of these percussive instruments of brass and iron.

"The gamelan program internationalizes Pitt in creative and unique ways, especially in Asia," says music professor Andrew Weintraub.

Pitt has one of the most active Indonesian music study programs in the nation. "Indonesians know about Pitt because of the dialogues we're creating between people through the arts. It's soft-power diplomacy, if you will."
Pitt's Department of Music previews the concert:
Joining the University Gamelan this year are vocalists Rika Rafika and virtuoso drummer Suherlan. Rafika is an award-winning vocalist who sings both traditional music and pop Sunda. She has 10 albums to her credit already and shows no signs of slowing down. Suherlan is a virtuoso drummer who has been performing with Rafika since 2005.

The first half of the program will feature gamelan and other traditional instruments with Rafika singing in a traditional style. On the second half of the program, the musicians transform into a fusion band of Western and Sundanese instruments. The band will include guitar, bass, keyboard, saxophone, and Sundanese drums.
The first show takes place on Friday, April 12, at 8:00 pm in 305 Bellefield Hall (campus map). The second, on Saturday night at 8. Tickets are $15 at the door, though admission is free for Pitt students. For more information about Pitt's Gamelan Ensemble, visit the webpage at the Department of Music and some of the relevant links on its sidebar.