I knew nothing of Gamelan Dharma Swara headed into their set at Basilica Soundscape. But once I saw that crowd members began sitting in a circle around their extravagant instrument set up that was placed in the middle of the crowd area, I knew this was going to be something a little different.
As it turns out, Gamelan Dharma Swara is a Balinese gamelan ensemble based out of New York City, and the extravagant instruments at hand are known as Gender Wayang and Gamelan Semara Dana. The nearly 20 members that group was built of sat cross-legged as they struck these instruments, creating rather lovely blissful arrangements that were different than anything I’ve heard before.
Rather than songs, these pieces were expressions shared within each of its players, which then spread to create a connection with the audience, some who were sitting, some who were standing. They went on to takeover the entire room, surely one of the best discoveries for me of Basilica Soundscape 2014.
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