San Francisco Balinese bamboo gamelan music

Q: How many musicians are in your group? San Francisco Balinese bamboo gamelan music
A: Our main group consists of three musicians - two on bamboo percussion and one on bamboo flute. This core group is often augmented by extra performers to play gongs and drums or to dance.

Q: Are you available with fewer or more musicians?
A: Different custom configurations are possible, for instance, just two bamboo percussion musicians without flute, flute solo, or more performers as mentioned above.

Q: How much do you charge?
A: Our rates are reasonable. We offer discounts for non-profit organizations and occasionally do benefit performances. Please don't hesitate to contact us - we will try to work with your budget.

Q: Are you available with Balinese dancers? What is the style of dance?
A: Yes. We can include dance from two different Balinese repertoires: Joged or Kebyar. Joged dance is flirtatious and stylish. Kebyar is stronger and more dynamic.

Q: What is the style of music that you play?
A: We play traditional Balinese folk and classical music. The instruments are acoustic and made from bamboo. It is not very loud but does have a sweet and mellow sound that does carry. For video and sound samples, click here.

Q: Is your music more suitable for background music or concert presentations?
A: Our music works very well as background for most functions, including parties, receptions and ceremonies, in either large or small spaces. It also works very well as the focus of your event when the space and audience are fairly small, as in chamber concerts and other intimate gatherings. When we add dancers, and perhaps sound reinforcement, we can perform for larger audiences. We change repertoire and playing style to adapt to your event. Please contact us with the particulars of your event for more details.

Q: Does your ensemble require amplification?
A: See the notes above regarding concert presentations. For very large spaces, or larger outdoor areas where you wish our music to be a focal point, amplification may be beneficial. For smaller events and most indoor events, it is not necessary.

Q: How much physical space does your group require? Are there other needs we should know about?
A: Our space requirements are small for music-only events. Our core trio fits in an area of about 5' x 8'; additional musicians take up more space accordingly. Performances including dance should afford a dance area of approximately 8' x 12' or larger. The musicians' area should be reasonably clean as we play sitting on the floor, in the traditional Balinese style. The dance area should be free of sharp objects as our dancers dance barefoot. We also ask for a small dressing area, perhaps a restroom.

Q: What do your musicians wear at these performances?
A: Several costume ensembles, all authentically Balinese, are available to be worn by our musicians. Our standard and most popular costume (custom-designed for us and our style of music) consists of batik sarongs with overcloths, traditional batik-accented shirts and batik head cloths, all in delicate earth tones that faithfully complement our instruments and the wistful strains of our bamboo gamelan music. Other combinations include white or shiny colorful shirts, or jackets with batik or other head cloths and colorful batik or ikat sarongs. We will work with you to choose the most appropriate look for your event, or decide by ourselves, as you wish.

Q: We would like help in creating a Balinese atmosphere at our event. Do you have any props or resources that we could use?
A: Since we travel regularly to Bali to study the music and enjoy the culture and people, we have been able to collect a nice selection of authentic Balinese decorations, including ornate umbrellas and colorful umul-umul banners. These props are available for use at any of our performances for a modest additional charge. Please inquire for more information.

Q: Do you have other favorite gamelans around the world?
A: Gamelan Semara Ratih, Ken's favorite group in Bali; Gamelan Gadung Kasturi, another Bay Area ensemble with whom we perform; Mekar Bhuana Conservatory in Bali, an organization dedicated to the preservation of classical gamelan and dance.

Q: I own Balinese bamboo gamelan instruments that have cracked. Can you help or offer advice?
A: The bamboo cracks because it expands. When repairing bamboo do not use clamps on anything more than a hairline crack. Clamping it back to the original shape and gluing will cause it to crack in a different spot. What you need to do with big cracks is to fill them. If the key is still making a sound, try putting masking tape over the crack to see if the sound improves. If it does, you can attempt a more permanent solution. For big cracks, you have to carve a piece of wood or bamboo to fill the crack and glue it in with epoxy (30 minute waterproof, e.g. devcon). If there are cracks on the flat part, glue those together as well. If you heat epoxy with a hot air gun (for shrink tubing or a hair drier) it will get less viscous and flow into tiny cracks. You can also use superglue on the tiniest cracks, to help keep them from growing. Most bamboo that is repaired needs to be re-tuned.

If you have a question which is not answered here please contact us.

Gamelan Kori Mas - traditional Balinese music & dance in the San Francisco Bay Area
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