The smallest bronze Gamelan, 2 or 4 musicians create the soundtrack to Wayang, the shadow puppet theatre which is alive and well throughout Bali.
A compact Balinese Gamelan, Gender Wayang is extremely portable and dynamic, able to evoke a range of moods as required by the Puppeteer. As puppet shows are considered an offering to the Gods as well as human entertainment, the music of Gender Wayang evokes a spiritual atmosphere and is employed for various religious events, including the tooth-filing ceremony which marks adulthood in the Bali-Hindu culture.
Lyrical melodic lines and interlocking decoration are produced by two (sometimes four) musicians using a special double-handed hammering technique. The repertoire includes slow, drifting tunes as background to dialogue, fast, aggressive vamps for action scenes, and overtures of the most highly regarded complexity on the island.
Here in Melbourne our Gender Wayang ensembles have welcomed Indonesian deligates to conferences, entertained Wedding guests, and captivated onlookers who attempt to unravel the interwoven melodies.