“[The] sublime Gamelan Dharma Swara ensemble played … and the feeling was straight-up religious, without a hint of irony. …[They] got perhaps the weekend’s most rapturous response (including a fair amount of crying).” – The New Yorker, Sept. 19, 2014, Sasha Frere-Jones
Gamelan Dharma Swara (GDS), established in 1989, is a New York-based collective of musicians, dancers, and composers presenting Balinese music and dance. GDS’s repertoire draws from classical Gamelan literature and incorporates contemporary works by Balinese and non-Balinese composers. Gamelan refers to percussive ensembles of gongs, metallophones, and drums found throughout Indonesia, including the island of Bali. GDS is among the most respected Balinese gamelan ensembles outside Indonesia. As a community ensemble, GDS draws its members from the public and counts among them professional musicians, dancers, composers, and ethnomusicologists. GDS’s vision is to introduce its members and audiences to the rich performance traditions of Bali while engaging in dialogue on the challenges and potential for enlightenment in cross-cultural understanding.
GDS has performed at renowned venues and cultural institutions such as (Le) Poisson Rouge, The Stone, BAM, MoMA, and Asia Society. In 2010, GDS was the first non-Indonesian group invited to compete in the annual Bali Arts Festival. In addition to an average of five public performances in New York City each year, GDS offers public workshops, classes, and lecture/demonstrations in Balinese music and dance.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Leonard Nevarez