Agnes Flanagan Chapel
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland OR 97219
Events at this location
Lewis & Clark College’s Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan will perform traditional Central Javanese gamelan pieces, on March 9, 2024 at the Agnes Flanagan Chapel at Lewis & Clark College
Lewis & Clark College’s Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan will perform traditional Central Javanese gamelan pieces, on March 9, 2024 at the Agnes Flanagan Chapel at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. Directed by Mindy Johnston, the 15 member ensemble, one of the Pacific Northwest’s first and most enduring world music groups, will be joined by special guest artists Ki Midiyanto, female vocalist Heni Savitri, and other guest musicians from Seattle and Oakland. Music will be followed by the short film, ‘Goong: Sound Through Fire.’
‘Goong: Sound Through Fire’: Sukoharjo in Central Java is one of the few remaining centers of bronze gong forging in Indonesia. ‘Goong: sound through fire’ follows the creation of a large Sundanese gong (goong) in Sutarno’s forge in Jatiteken, Sukoharjo. The film takes an immersive, multi-sensory approach to the process, guided by the occasional interjections of Sutarno. The rich, multi-layered soundscape of the forge and the ever-shifting colors and intensities of the fire accompany the smashing and melting of the copper and tin; the rhythmic hammering, shaping and firing of the emerging, red-hot bronze disc by a team of craftsmen; the voicing of the forged instrument; and finally the sounding of the goong by the master gong-maker.
Gamelan music: One of the world’s most ancient and sophisticated musical traditions, gamelan creates a multi-layered tapestry of beautifully interlocking melodies and rhythms. Originating in Java, gamelan music has spread all over the world, including more than 200 ensembles in the US.
The VSB gamelan ensemble has presented hundreds of events throughout the Pacific Northwest since it arrived in 1980, many including dance or traditional Javanese puppetry (wayang kulit). Up to 20 performers play in concerts, including students and community members from the Portland area. Its repertoire includes traditional and contemporary music in a variety of styles, ranging from poetic songs to ceremonial court repertoire, from quiet, meditative pieces to stirring battle music. Musicians observe traditional playing style: seated on the floor, wearing colorful Indonesian batik costumes. The beauty of the teak and bronze instruments, hand-crafted in Java, complements their ravishing sound. Hand made by traditional craftsmen in Semarang in Central Java, Indonesia, the historic set includes about 60 instruments, most of bronze, set in colorful, ornately carved wooden cases. Some of these beautiful instruments, including the great gong, are over a century old and true Portland treasures. This is our first concert since the pandemic, and we are excited to share this incredible tradition with Portland once again.
VSB Gamelan is directed by Mindy Johnston. Mindy started studying Javanese gamelan in 1993 with Ki Midiyanto at Lewis & Clark College. Mindy was awarded the Dharmasiswa scholarship in 1998-99 and 2004-05 to study traditional Javanese music at Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI), the arts university in Solo, Java. From 2004-2007, she studied and performed gamelan music with some of the most renowned Javanese gamelan musicians alive today.
A puppet master (dhalang) from Wonogiri, Central Java, Midiyanto comes from a distinguished family of musicians and artists. Over the last 35 years he has taught and performed extensively in Java, the U.S., Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, including ten years in Portland, as the gamelan director at Lewis & Clark College. In addition to directing the UC Berkeley gamelan ensemble, Midiyanto has worked with the Portland ensemble as a visiting director since 2002.
Heni Savitri began to study sindhènan (Javanese singing with gamelan) in 2002. In 2003 she won the competition for best singer in her native district of Wonogiri, Central Java. She entered the Performing Arts Conservatory in Surakarta in 2004 and began representing the institution in competitions the following year, as well as performing in shadow plays. Upon enrolling in the Indonesian Arts Academy in Surakarta she was selected as the singer for many recordings of new faculty compositions and traditional works, representing the academy in the 2008 international vocal competition in Jakarta. She has recently been performing with gamelan groups in the United States, including at the Indonesian Consulate in New York City, at Tufts University, Cornell University, the Indonesian Embassy in Washington D.C., Earlham College, Friends of the Gamelan Chicago, and with Sumunar Gamelan in Minnesota.
Originating in Java, gamelan music has spread all over the world, including more than 200 ensembles in the US. One of the world’s most ancient and sophisticated musical traditions, gamelan creates a multi-layered tapestry of beautifully interlocking melodies and rhythms.
(Saturday) 7:30 pm PST