Bang a Gong

How a gamelan orchestra — a traditional Indonesian ensemble of metallophones, drums, gongs and flute — even ended up forming 25 years ago in Colorado is just part of the story of Gamelan Tunas Mekar, which remarkably hit its silver anniversary last fall. Ensemble member Dane Terry, who’s been there since the beginning, says the better question to ask is why. “The gamelan was already here,” he explains. “It came here and then wound up not being used, in a closet at DU.” Brought to Colorado by the Colorado Women’s College, the collection of instruments eventually ended up stashed away at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. One thing led to another, and a local group of world and experimental musicians, including Terry, got permission to use it. That was the beginning of a quarter-century that included a 1996 voyage to Indonesia to perform at the Bali Arts Festival.

Financial limitations prevented the group from returning to Bali in the ensuing years, but current ensemble members hope to remedy that through an Indiegogo crowd-sourcing project, which kicks off today with a performance from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. They also hope to use the funds to make a documentary film, and a larger reunion and performance at the Oriental Theater is being planned for May.

Admission today is $5 at the door (children ages twelve and under admitted free); get more information at tunasmekar.org.
Sun., March 2, 1-3 p.m., 2014

 
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