Gamelan Blog

Gamelan centre stage at Big Sing Rheged Oct 17th

Musical Journey in the Land of Shadows.083The gamelan was centre stage for our Big Sing at the Big Screen event at Rheged on October 17th.

Children from schools that have had taster workshops, and players from our community and training sessions played an introductory piece on the gamelan to 200 children from local primary schools. They will also accompany the singing for the specially composed cantata and film “A Musical Journey in the Land of Shadows” which incorporates the musical genres BlueJam is currently focussing on – gamelan, jazz improvisation and electronic soundtracks.

This BlueJam event aims to develop Cumbria Music Hub’s singing strategy for Cumbria and increase access to the acquisition of musicianship skills through combining vocal, compositional, percussive and improvisational music-making.

Heathlands Project Gamelan Week with BlueJam

The second week of the gamelan project at Heathland Project involved participants from Heathlands users with a young music leader from BlueJam. The sessions were run by Jilly Jarman from BlueJam who directed the project and finalised the music and Spiff from Heathlands who devised the storyline. The group was inspired to help write the music for the theme tunes that 200 primary school children will sing at the BlueJam Big Sing at Rheged on October 17th and will come to Rheged to join in the concert.

The story they have created has a main character “Fox!” and this is what she looks like! (courtesy of Hugh Pottinger) and the forest she lives in (courtesy of Bryony Jarman-Pinto). Fox journeys through the Land of Shadows alongside other characters like the Pirate and finds his special place full of light, form and colour.

There are some audience places available at the Rheged performance or you will be able to see footage from the project on this website.

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Gamelan at May Day, Penrith

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This year the Penrith Lions added a range of workshops in St Andrews Churchyard to complement the stalls and parade in the town. We set up Lawrence Leith’s gangsa instruments and gongs, with our dragons and banners to set the scene and had a steady flow of young players throughout the 3 hours we were there.

Children came with their families and discovered the sounds of the gamelan from 7 different schools around the area from toddler to secondary.

Lawrence had devised a new tune as an introduction for new players and Bryony assisted in getting everyone to join in.

This was our first public exposure in Eden and encouraged by the feedback we are now planning to take the instruments to other festivals during the summer.

The gamelan instruments are easy to access, make a distinctive and magical sound, and because outdoors they are melodious and not too loud, they can co-exist with other stalls and workshops nearby.

We think this is a very good model for an engaging, hands-on taster music session for all the family.

News, resources and thoughts arising from our new stewardship of the Cumbrian Gamelan