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Susquehanna Life

Gamelan Dharma Swara to Inaugurate Bucknell’s new Gamelan

Jan 28, 2016 07:27AM ● By Erica Shames

New York City’s celebrated world music ensemble Gamelan Dharma Swara will perform at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University on Saturday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m. The free performance is open to the public and tickets are not required. The event is co-sponsored by Bucknell University’s Department of Music.

The ensemble will inaugurate Bucknell University's new gamelan semara dana, a type of Balinese gamelan that was invented in the late 1980s. Combining two musical modes on each instrument, the ensemble can play a wide range of repertoire and styles, traditional and new.

At 6 pm, a ceremonial blessing of the new instruments will take place officiated by Ida Bagus Made Widnyana so patrons are encouraged to come early. Following the blessing, there will be a free reception in the lobby at 7 p.m., followed by the free performance at 7:30 p.m.

Please note that incense will be used during this performance.

Gamelan refers to the Balinese traditional percussion orchestra and to the music performed on it. Closely related to Javanese gamelan, an older form, scholars speculate that the Balinese ensemble of bronze gongs, bamboo flutes and tuned keys has been played for at least a millennium on the island.

Dedicated to the traditions of Balinese performing arts and committed to exploring new music, New York City's Gamelan Dharma Swara is carving out a compelling niche.

Founded in 2000, Dharma Swara is one of the leading Balinese gamelan and dance groups in the United States and has performed at renowned NYC music venues including (le) Poisson Rouge, Symphony Space, Joe’s Pub, Roulette, and BAM, as well as cultural institutions such as MoMA and Asia Society.

The group toured Bali in 2010 with an invitation to perform in the Bali Arts Festival's popular Battle of the Bands, and most recently, a stunning performance at Basilica Soundscape in Hudson, New York, was described by The New Yorker as feeling “straight-up religious” and provoked “perhaps the weekend's most rapturous response (including a fair amount of crying.)”

Gamelan Dharma Swara performs on two sets of instruments representing different styles and repertoire: the innovative 7-tone gamelan semara dana and the gender wayang, a five-tone ensemble that accompanies Balinese life-cycle ceremonies and shadow theatre.

For more information about this free performance contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or

The next event in the Weis Center’s 2015-16 Series is a free jazz event by Aaron Diehl Trio on Wednesday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center lobby.

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, visit or

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