Youth Music funded project developing youth leadership, composition skills and community creative opportunities through exploring the sounds of the Gamelan.

What We Have Done So Far

Gamelan Orchestra Project 2016-7

We started in June 2016 with a training idea which involved asking the BlueJam team to write music for the Gamelan, which we performed at Morecambe Kite Festival. This was a lovely event, with families watching and engaging in the workshops we delivered between performances.

We then felt energised and excited about finding out more about our new instrument and developing our skills and knowledge about it. This was facilitated by our new partnership with Heathlands Project in Carlisle where immediately the opportunities became apparent to trade their knowledge of the Gamelan and working with groups of young people with learning differences with our musical expertise and experience.

Over the summer of 2016 we ran two week-long learning and performance projects which involved National Citizenship students working alongside members of Heathlands Project.

In the Autumn Term our core activity involved training 12 young leaders from James Rennie School to learn, create and pass on knowledge and skills about the Gamelan as an accessible and fun musical instrument.

In Spring we took the Gamelan out to James Rennie School for an in-depth, hands-on opportunity for those leaders to actually deliver the skills they have learned, with younger students from the school.

During the course of the project, we are offering monthly open sessions to all members of the community to come to Heathlands and explore the gamelan. These have been instructive and inspirational and have led to a series of ideas about how we can integrate the gamelan into musical performances and community events and use the resource fully. Composers, singers, improvisors, folk musicians, youth workers and artists have all come and had a go.

We delivered a packed outdoor gamelan workshop for young children and their families during May Day Festival in Penrith.


GAM-A-JAM workshops with Dwi Gambia Sari take place at 

The Heathlands Project
Heathlands Farm
Harker Road Ends
Carlisle CA6 4HN

See calendar on homepage for 2017 dates




Project Team

Heather Tipler – Programme Manager and Arts Award
Jilly Jarman – Project Director and Musician
Ali Watson – Musician and SEN teacher
Tom Leah – recording artist and producer

Sarah Kekus – CMH, musician and gamelan consultant
Lawrence Leith – music instrument maker and trainee leader

Mike Borgia – Heathlands director, theatre director and enabler


Gamelan Facts

“The term gamelan – derived from the Javanese word “gamel” meaning to strike or to handle – refers to the ensemble of predominantly percussion instruments on which the traditional gamelan music of Java and Bali is played. Vocal music has also had a significant role in the development of gamelan music, alongside the addition of the rebab – a stringed fiddle, the siter (a plucked zither) and the bamboo flute called suling.” South Bank Centre Gamelan Resources

August 2016

Heathlands GamaJam rehearsal for show