Ok, maybe not RAWKS, BUT DAUMMMM, I went to see the Wesleyan (CT) Gamelan Ensemble and the attendant Javanese shadow puppet play, and it was a really good time. 4 hours of uninterrupted gamelan music. The ensemble works in “shifts” and some of the musicians are at their instruments for hours. The only downside is that the venue was really uncomfortable for a not-so-flexible person like me. Next time I’ll nab a less cramped space. But still, this is the kind of music i can really sink my teeth into. I think that an ensemble like the New Haven Improvisors Collective could do a lot with this format. The pace is the opposite of rushed. And the puppeteer, Sumarsam,… he doesn’t take breaks. No.
The performance was dedicated to the memory of David McAllester, who was a key figure in the creation of the ethnomusicology department at Wesleyan. I have to think that he would have been pleased at the crowd and the performance.