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Gamelan Bhuwana Kumala(“Jewel of the World”)

The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Los Angeles.

Nyoman Wenten: Musical director

Nanik Wenten: Dance director

The term gamelan refers to a traditional music ensemble from Indonesia. It also refers to the different genres of music. Gamelan is found throughout Indonesia with some of the best known styles coming from Java, Sunda(West Java), and Bali. The ensemble exists as an inseparable set of instruments. It may be a large or small pitched percussion orchestra, and is meant to be played in a social atmosphere of cooperative group interaction. In the ethnomusicological literature, the word gamelan, is most often translated simply as “orchestra”. 

Each gamelan is a set of instruments that is identified by a specific name. In Java the name or title is given to its gong ageng(great gong). For instance, the ancient gamelan Kodok Ngorek which is housed in the Sultan court of Yogyakarta has two gong ageng whose respective names are Kanjeng Kyai Mahesa Ganggang(His Highness, the Venerable Fighting Buffalo), and Kangjeng Kyai Sima(His Highness the Venerable Tiger). In California there are gamelans entitled: Kyai Doro Dasih(the Venerable Dream Come True) at the California Institute of the Arts; Kyai Mendung(the Venerable Dark Cloud) at UCLA; and Kyai Udan Mas(the Venerable Golden Rain) at UC Berkeley. The titles mentioned above are often symbols for the power, background history, and greatness of the sound of the entire gamelan. 

In Bali, a gamelan ensemble is identified by the name of its sekeha(club) such as gamelan Bharata Muni from the village of Sading or Gamelan Cudamani of Pengosekan village. In southern California there are gamelan groups in residence at the California Institute of the Arts: Gamelan Burat Wangi(Fragrant Offering); Pomona College: Gamelan Giri Kusuma(Flower Mountain), and at the Consulate  General of Republic of Indonesia: Bhuwana Kumala(Jewel of the World). Sekar Jaya(Victorious Flower) is also a well-known group located in northern California.

Study of Gamelan and Indonesian dance in the United States has flourished since the beginning of the last century. Interest has grown sharply over the last four decades, particularly within the college communities and urban areas. There is a general directory of currently active gamelan groups in North America and globally that was compiled in 1983. According to the American Gamelan Institute there are over 250 gamelan sets in 40 of 50 states of the Union, and this number continues to grow rapidly.

On the island of Bali there are more than thirty different types of gamelan. The ensembles vary in size, from the quartet of the gender wayang(the accompaniment of the Balinese shadow puppet play) to the forty or more players that are required to play the Gamelan Gong Gede which is a great ceremonial court orchestra. 

Gamelan Bhuwana Kumala(Jewel of the World) is the name of a Balinese gamelan group in Los Angeles at the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia Los Angeles. The set is an example of the gamelan gong kebyar, Bali’s most modern bronze gamelan orchestra. This beautiful set was given by the late Governor of Bali Prof. DR. Ida Bagus Mantra in 1984.  Under the supervision and guidance Mr Noor Handono, the Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia in 1984 the group was established under the direction of I Nyoman Wenten and Nanik Wenten.

Consideration for its establishment was to promote the Indonesian arts and culture to the community in the greater of Los Angeles area and to the American people in general. It was established to bridge these two nations toward a mutual understanding and respect of the different cultures in the global community in the hopes of bringing a lasting world peace and brotherhood. 

The gamelan and dance classes, historically are in conjunction with the Krama Bali(the Balinese community of Los Angeles) activities, but also are open for the general public.

The classes are held in:
Gamelan room
Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia.
3457 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90005
Every Sunday from 2:00 –5:00 PM