Traditional Music from Central Java

Banyumas, in Central Java, is home to a unique gamelan ensemble known as calung (pronounced chalung). All the instruments in the ensemble, including a kind of trumpet which imitates the gong, are made entirely of bamboo. This village music is melodic, simple in form and structure, yet played with an energy and sense of fun rarely found in other types of gamelan music. The bamboo xylophones provide a dynamic rhythmic backing to the enticing melodies of a female vocalist; while accompanying her the male musicians also shout and sing short melodic fragments or rhythmic patterns which fit in with the complex drumming style. In Banyumas the music would accompany lénggér, an all night event combining dance, music, singing and comedy.


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