Cheltenham festival

An Evening of Javanese Music and Dance
featuring performers from ISI Surakarta Indonesia
Cheltenham Community Gamelan Players and the Oxford Gamelan Society

Monday 8th July, 6pm, Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham


Prasadiyanto – musical director
Sri Suparsih – musician and puppeteer
Widodo – drummer
Matheus Wasi Bantolo – dancer and choreographer
Samsuri – dancer
Ayun Anindita Setya Wulan – dancer
Erma Widhiastuti – dancer
Noviana Eka Pertiwi – dancer

Our team of Javanese musicians and dancers are all from ISI Surakarta the Institute of Indonesian Performing Arts who have been ambassadors for Javanese and Indonesian culture for the last 40 years. They are appearing in the Cheltenham Festival with the help of the Southbank Centre which has arranged their visit to the UK to celebrate twenty five years of Gamelan at the Royal Festival Hall. Tonight’s performance is their only appearance outside the Southbank.

Ni Madé Pujawati – Guest Dancer
DavidMcKenny – Guest Musician

OXFORD GAMELAN SOCIETY; Michael Brooker, Jude Carroll, Chris Cowley, Andrew Freer, Alice Harberd, Nick Harberd, Kate Liddell, Pat Mallery, David McCann , Jonathan Morgan, Philippa Morgan, Ben Mowat, Cecily Nowell-Smith, John Pusey, Ammarul Zaki Bin Rahman, Peter Smith, James Telford, Beau Woodbury, Danny Yee.

CHELTENHAM GAMELAN PLAYERS: June Baker, Philippa Claridge, Sandra Day, Debbie Furniss, Pete Furniss, Hilary Shorter, Jonathan Morgan, Philippa Morgan, Paul Peters, Peter Smith.


Music to arrive to!
Gendhing Denggung Turularé Pelog Limå;
The gendhing bonang form is often used to inaugurate official court and ceremonial occasions, blurring the boundaries between expectation and the start of a great occasion. The sparse instrumentation (led by the bonang, towards the front of the gamelan) and the gradual but inexorable increase of speed and volume to a powerful climax have their roots in the music of the sacred Gamelan Sekatèn which is still played annually on the anniversary of the Prophet’s birth. The rise in volume and increase in speed serves to tell the audience how imminent the start of the occasion is.

Ketawang Puspa Warnå Slendro Manyurå
Our concert formally begins with another — shorter — welcoming piece. Ketawang Puspawarna epitomizes the refined and sophisticated musical style of the court city of Solo using all the different textures of the Gamelan. It is the traditional entrance piece of the Mangkunegaran prince, a minor prince who ruled two or three counties to the east of Solo. His palace in Solo boasts one of the largest Pendhåpå in Indonesia (a large airy pavilion with a tall pyramid-like roof supported on columns). Famous heirloom Gamelans are set out on its marble floor and court dancers still practice under a hundred ornate Dutch chandeliers, although the current Mangkunegaran is most likely nowadays to arrive at his palace by 4X4 or Harley Davidson than by carriage or palanquin.. The sung poem (by one of the prince’s forefathers) is a poetic list of various flowers and their similarity to different characteristics in mankind. A recording of this piece was famously sent into space on the Voyager expedition.

Srimpi Ludira Madu Pelog Barang
Dancers: Ayun Anindita Setya Wulan, Erma Widhiastuti, Noviana Eka Pertiwi, Ni Madé Pujawati
The dance Srimpi Ludira Madu was created in the mid 19th Century at the behest of the future Sultan Pakubuwuna the V after he had been named Crown Prince. This austere and highly ritualized dance was traditionally performed by four female members of the royal household was never seen outside the palace confines until the 1970’s and commemorates the young prince’s mother who died before he was two. Little is known of his mother except that, as a young bride she made the long and arduous journey from her home on the parched island kingdom of Madura – Ludira Madu literally means blood of honey but also means descended from the blood of Madura – The dance, in most abstract terms, depicts an idealized wise and beautiful portrait of a mother and small biographical details such as the swaying of the boat on its crossing from Madura to Java.

Ladrang Sri Karongron – Ketawang Kasatriyan Slendro Sångå
This piece of Klenengan (pure music without dance or drama) begins with a ‘bawa’ a sung poem for solo male voice which then calls in the piece ‘Sri Karongron’ (the royal lovers). Under Dutch colonial rule neighbouring rival kingdoms were set up who only ruled with the consent of their Dutch masters, as a result their incomes were more often ploughed into ceremonial displays of wealth and culture as a symbol of power than an actual functioning military power. For at least two centuries the kingdoms of Solo and Jogja indulged in a series of ‘style wars’ where they tried to out do each other in the developement of the arts. Sri Karongron was created in honour of the visit of the Sultan of Jogja to the court of Pakubuwana X in the late 19th Century and is a classic light piece which is almost a lexicon of all the different ways of treating a melody.

Sancåyå Kusumå Wicitrå Pelog Barang
Dancers: Matheus Wasi Bantolo, Samsuri
Much of Javanese dance and drama involves retellings of the Hindu epic the Mahabarata, Sancåyå Kusumå Wicitrå is a ‘Perangan’ dance – a duel between two of its characters, one Kusumå Wicitrå representing restraint, calm and above all a just cause and the other, Sancåyå, representing valour and bravery but also hotheadedness, bravado but ultimately a false cause. The result is inevitable.


Driasmårå Pelog Nem
Dancers: Matheus Wasi Bantolo, Erma Widhiastuti
Driasmara literally means ‘two hearts in love’ and is an example of the ‘Pasihan’ or romantic duet style of Javanese dance popular with wedding audiences. ‘Driasmara’ was originally created by the choreographer Sunarno Purwolelono in 1979 with music by the composer Martopangrawit. Driasmara draws its inspiration from the characters of the Panji legend where Prince Smara Bangung courts Dewi Sekartaji. A series of lovers’ vignettes depict longing, jealousy, deep peace and the joys of romantic playful courtship and lovemaking.

Gatutkåcå Gandrung Slendro Manyurå
Dancer: Samsuri
One of the most ancient of the strong male style dances, this piece depicts the Mahabharata hero Gatutkaca, sone of the super human warrior,Bima and a mountain ogress. Gatutkaca, the original Javanese superman, bristling with energy and excitement, is brought up in a forest away from humanity. On coming of age he flies off to find his father but is overcome with confusion when he sees a striking girl on his journey. The dance depicts the range of emotions assaulting him for the first time: shock, desperation, dejection, optimism and resolve.

Lagon Ajå Lamis Pelog Nem
Lagon Sontoloyo Slendro Sångå
Two short popular songs by the puppeteer Ki Narto Sabdho (1926 – 1985) who revolutionized popular Gamelan music in the 50’s through to the 70’s. His work reignited Javanese enthusiasm for Gamelan and brought awareness of different regional and world traditions to traditional Javanese culture.
In Aja Lamis a girl sings a poignant tale of a relationship turned sour after deception.
Sontoloyo is actually the official title of a duck herd but a duck herd is also a euphemism for a loafer or shirker. The song is an upbeat exhortation for the aforementioned duck herd to get with the programme and pull his weight. This piece has been given a more 21st Century makeover.

Lengger ‘Eling-Eling’ Banyumasan Slendro Manyurå
Dancers: Ayun Anindita Setya Wulan, Erma Widhiastuti, Ni Madé Pujawati, Noviana Eka Pertiwi
Eling-Eling is almost the national anthem of the Banyumas area of Central Java, a mountainous region west of the royal courts of Surakarta and Yogyakarta and east of the culturally distinct region of Sunda. Banyumas pieces are nearly always lively, contain an element of fun and are usually based around short, simple melodies. Often adapted from folk songs, and drawing on many neighbouring traditions, the Banyumas style has a distinctively village character. The dance is in some ways a high energy version of the refined and controlled central Javanese dance movements but delivered with an overtly flirtatious character. Originally Lengger was danced at parties and women would call the male party guests up to take turns to show off their moves to the delight of their neighbours and family.

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