"Sekar Jaya rocks like a wild hog storming through the forest.”
- Spin Magazine
Gamelan Sekar Jaya is a sixty-member company of musicians and dancers, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in the performing arts of Bali. Founded in 1979, Gamelan Sekar Jaya has performed throughout California, the US, and Bali—in venues ranging from New York’s Symphony Space to remote village squares in Bali.
Central to the group’s success is the presence of master Balinese artists. More than fifty of Bali’s most brilliant performers have joined Gamelan Sekar Jaya as artists-in-residence, for periods ranging from one month to two years. They lead rehearsals and performances, create new work, and are featured in workshops, school programs, and lecture-demonstrations.
“. . . music of shimmering yet jarring beauty . . . it engulfs the senses and sets the imagination soaring.”
- San Francisco Chronicle
For "Bayangan Jiwa" Gamelan Sekar Jaya performers played on a gamelan 'semarandana', on loan from the Balinese Performing Arts Company "Çudamani," and the more common five-toned 'gendèr wayang' quartet.
Gamelan Semarandana is an ensemble of instruments that are at the cutting edge of musical innovation in Bali. The seven-toned instruments allow composers to create work that weaves into modes not possible in more common five-toned gamelan traditions, thus allowing a more complex palette of moods and expression to be explored in new work.
Gamelan gender wayang traditionally accompanies Balinese shadow-puppet theater (wayang kulit) and is provided by a quartet of musicians playing ten-keyed metallophones known as gendèr. Because of its dramatic role in the enactment of stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, music for the gendèr wayang ensemble has developed a variety of forms and characters, and is often regarded as the most technically demanding of any instrumental music in Bali.
“Clearly the finest Balinese gamelan outside of Indonesia.”
- Tempo Magazine (Indonesia)
BAYANGAN JIWA, which can translate to both “the spirit’s image” & “the imagination of the spirit” was a dance work that included Balinese Dance, aerial movement, shadow, and Balinese gamelan. The piece, with music by Dewa Berata and movement by Emiko Saraswati Susilo and Rose Nisker, investigates how child-like playfulness, physical and spiritual training and divine inspiration come together in the body and spirit of dancers and musicians as the soul searches for a connection to its eternal self. The piece draws from a rich and dynamic repertoire of movement that explores the wide range of human characters - feminine and masculine, lyrical and powerful- each distinct and unique and yet deeply connected to one another. The work premiered at The Cowell Theater in June 2012. GSJ was given the distinct honor of having it's evening-length performance as the Opening Night of the Ethnic Dance Festival.