Gamelan Sekar Jaya

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The jegog ensemble of Gamelan Sekar Jaya, performing in San Francisco in May 2008

Gamelan Sekar Jaya is a Balinese gamelan ensemble located in the San Francisco Bay Area.[1] It has been called "the finest Balinese gamelan ensemble outside of Indonesia" by Indonesia’s Tempo Magazine.[2] It performs the music and dance of Bali in many different genres of Balinese gamelan, mainly gamelan gong kebyar, gamelan angklung, gender wayang, and gamelan jegog. Past performances have also featured ensembles playing in other styles as well, including gamelan joged bumbung, kecak, gender batel, gamelan gambuh, genggong, and beleganjur. GSJ has also performed contemporary pieces featuring instruments from the Western tradition.[3]


Founded in 1979 by I Wayan Suweca, Rachel Ann Cooper and Michael Tenzer, Gamelan Sekar Jaya (GSJ) was the first community-based Balinese gamelan in the United States.[4] Most of its performers are American volunteers, taught and led in performance by visiting Balinese master artists.[5][6]

Popular both in the States and abroad, the group has performed all over North America and has toured Bali seven times (1985, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2010, and 2014).[7] In 2000, Gamelan Sekar Jaya was awarded the Dharma Kusuma Award for Cultural Service by the Balinese government, the highest such honor given.[8] The group regularly performs locally.[9][10]

Gamelan is the Indonesian term for orchestra, and the name "Sekar Jaya" translates roughly to "Victorious Flower."[11]


Along with performing Balinese music and dance, the group has produced a number of cross-cultural collaborations. For example, GSJ commissioned the creation of a new score to the 1935 silent film, Legong: Dance of the Virgins, performing with the Club Foot Orchestra.[12] A DVD of the film with this new score was released in 2004.[13] Major GSJ collaborations include projects with Abhinaya, Crosspulse, Shadowlight, Destiny Arts,Chitresh Das. Since 1994, Sekar Jaya and some of its members have been collaborating with the artist and musician collective The Residents on many of their live shows and albums such as "Wormwood", "Animal Lover" and "Bridegroom of Blood - Gamelan collection."

In 2011, GSJ and I Made Moja collaborated on a multimedia performance piece that fused music, dance, and other traditional art-forms of Bali, notably wayang kulit, Balinese shadow-puppetry.[14]


  1. ^ "Balinese Dance Drama a Sensuous 'Dream' / Gamelan Sekar Jaya seduces at Zellerbach". SFGate. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  2. ^ "Press for Gamelan Sekar Jaya". Hear It Local SF. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  3. ^ "Marc Perlman" (PDF). New World Records. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  4. ^ "Bang a Gong -- Gamelan Turns 20". SFGate. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  5. ^ "Gamelan Sekar Jaya's (about section)". GSJ. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  6. ^ Holland, Bernard (1994-04-19). "Classical Music in Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  7. ^ "Gamelan Sekar Jaya's blog". GSJ. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  8. ^ "Gamelan Sekar Jaya's (profile)". GSJ. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  9. ^ "Ravishing `Ramayana' Fuses Cultures". SFGate. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  10. ^ "California Symphony Rings With Gamelan". SFGate. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  11. ^ Curiel, Jonathan (1999-09-22). "Bang a Gong—Gamelan Turns 20". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  12. ^ "`Virgins' From Bali A Beautiful, Rare Treat / Live music by Club Foot, Sekar Java". SFGate. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  13. ^ Kehr, Dave (2004-11-30). "Balinese Dancers, Orson Welles and the Return of Spider-Man". New York Times online. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  14. ^ "Asian Art Museum: Bali". San Francisco Asian Art Museum. Archived from the original on 20 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-03.

External links

  • Koskoff, Ellen (2005). Music Cultures in the United States. New York: Routledge. p. 124. ISBN 0-415-96588-8.
  • Gamelan Sekar Jaya's web site
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