Commissioned by Gamelan Sekar Jaya with the support of the Rockefeller Multi-Arts Program.
First performance: May 1992, Marin Community Center, Sausalito, CA and July 1992, Bali International Arts Festival, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Recording: American Works for Balinese Gamelan Orchestra (New World), 1993, Gamelan Sekar Jaya
2 electric mandolins
gender wayang (slendro)
tingklet (joged slendro)
2 kendang, preferably legong size
Aneh Tapi Nyata was composed for Gamelan Sekar Jaya, on the occasion of their second tour to Bali in 1992. I had recently left the group to move east, and only on leaving did I realize what an extraordinary thing it was to have Americans devote themselves so passionately to another culture. I felt it important that the group show itself to the Balinese, in all our ragtag, hybrid splendor. Instrumentation was dictated by whoever was around and whatever they could play, at whatever skill level (the violinist, for example, had an extremely firm command of the open strings). I compensated for tuning and genre discrepancies by highlighting them: the gamelan instruments are also taken from a variety of ensembles in a variety of intonations.
The text, as follows, is by the composer:
Apa arti dunia ini?
Mengembara, cari jamu pantas tamu untuk mengobatkan ngeri...
Zaman kami hilang tradisi - mana beli?
Kalau bisa, minta sisah dari banten masih asli...
Baru tiba membuka kopor saya - di dalam, selalu soal ikut jalan
Aneh tapi nyata
Lagu barat dinyanyi diiringi campuran begini...
Berkumpul sampai terpisah - sementara peleburan
Manis asam, terserah penonton
(What is the meaning of it all?
Wander around, look for a tonic fit for a foreigner to cure anxiety...
Our era has lost all tradition - where can it be bought?
If I may, I ask for the leftovers from still-authentic offerings...
Newly arrived I open my suitcase - inside, all my problems have come along
Strange but true
A western song accompanied by this mixture...
Gather together until forced apart - a momentary fusion
Sweet or sour, it's up to the listener)