November 11th, 2008


Gamelan Hymns

We just got our first batch of music for our spring concert. Two of the pieces appear to be (or at least have the titles of) Baptist hymns arranged for gamelan. We have "Wondrous Love" and a piece called "Holy Mana," though it's not the same "Holy Manna" as is in The Sacred Harp. Also, just came out of the printer, a ladrang called "Foundation," which is definitely a hymn name, not a Javanese name.

I am instantly intrigued. I knew that missionaries had done work in Java, both Protestant and Catholic, but I'm fascinated by these hymns. The Javanese modes don't work at all like Baptist hymns, and I'm excited to see how these two styles work together!
  • Current Music
    Holy Mana

Gamelan Rehearsal

Status update from Sri Sedånå:

1) It turns out that the gamelan "Holy Mana" is indeed the same tune as the Sacred Harp "Holy Manna." I officially know all three hymns that we're doing, though I have to learn them in the Javanese modes.

2) On that note, "Foundation," which we did today, actually sounds pretty good in slendro. I played slenthem and sang, and I told Fearless Leader that I would be willing to volunteer for the gérong chorus on the hymns.

3) Unfortunately, we didn't get any further than a couple of experimental run-throughs of "Ladrang Foundation," because . . . wait for it . . . YES! The gamelan room flooded. Again. We were there to see it happening this time, and the water just poured in -- we had a serious flood in about two minutes. We can't figure out where it's coming from, either; it was damp and sprinkly today, but not seriously rainy. The church has just dropped $7500 on plumbers, too. They've got a city inspector coming out tomorrow morning, but who knows if they'll find anything?

Anyway, we spent the second hour of rehearsal mopping and moving the instruments upstairs to a drier room. I swung a mop for a good forty minutes there. Never a dull moment with the Chicago gamelan!
  • Current Music
    Ladrang Foundation