For over twenty years Gamelan Dharma Swara has been inspiring wonder in audiences around New York City and the world. Our sights and sounds have heralded celebration at traditional and modern weddings, captivated curious communities at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and brought people to their knees at Basilica Soundscape Festival. Each of our ensembles has a flavor all its own, and through occasional collaborations with other artists, we create new multi-sensorial worlds. We work closely with clients, collaborators and institutions to align our programs with their visions for events.
Get to know our ensembles below
“Gamelan Dharma Swara, a New York gamelan ensemble, took up a giant circle in the middle of the floor and mesmerized the audience with sudden dynamic shifts and coordinated precision. Some pieces were centuries-old, some current, one, ‘Synesthesia’ by Joel Mellin, an ensemble member, went African and European, into grooves and silences, in a way I haven’t heard gamelan music do before. the group’s set was one of the most talked-about performances all weekend.”
The New York Times
GAMELAN SEMARA DANA
Gamelan Semara Dana was developed in the mid-1980s by combining elements of the five-tone gamelan gong kebyar (explosions!!!) with the older and sweeter seven-tone gamelan semar pegulingan (make love). Due to this increased tonal range, our ensemble is capable of playing ancient instrumental works, classical dances, and a wide variety of new and experimental repertoire. The ensemble comprises 20-25 musicians, and is best suited to medium- and large-sized venues. We can also perform as a smaller ‘modified’ ensemble, requiring 12-15 musicians for more intimate spaces or ambient music at large events.
Gender Wayang is traditionally used to accompany shadow puppetry and religious ceremonies, and its music is appropriately varied in character and mood. Played with one mallet in each hand (and thereby requiring the use of both wrists for dampening), the gender is one of the most challenging Balinese instruments to learn and master. Gender wayang ensembles can come in three sizes: 2 players, 4 players, and 8-10 players (four gender plus rhythm section, called batel). The music is ideal for weddings, receptions, and corporate functions.
Our Dancers perform traditional sacred and classical Balinese dances as well as new creations (kreasi baru) and modern dance-dramas. While some of these dances are vigorous and powerful, others are stately and beautiful. Since Balinese dance is closely coordinated with music, it is best enjoyed with live musical accompaniment, though recorded music can be arranged (if a sound system is provided).