Monday, April 14, 2008

Powerhouse, Balinese gamelan-style

Andrew McGraw is a musician, arranger, composer and ethnomusicologist, who has been resident in Southeast Asia, collaborating with artists, dancers and shadow puppet performers. Andy corresponded with me in mid-2007 about arranging Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" for a native Balinese gamelan ensemble. A few months later, he sent an mp3 of the group's charming, energetic performance. Andy wrote at the time:
I'm in Bali, arranging for the Balinese composer Sudirna. The Cenik Wayah (roughly: "awesome little guys") children's group, in Ubud Village, just recorded "Powerhouse." The kids are between 12 and 15 years old. The tune is performed on a seven-tone gamelan (i.e., flattening out all the chromaticism to seven notes). The Balinese gamelan use paired tuning, resulting in constant quarter-tone "harmonies."

The recording is now slated for June 08 US release on the album Kolaborasi (Porter Records), a collection that features "large gamelan ensembles to peaceful duets of traditional Southeast Asian folk songs." McGraw's arrangement of "Powerhouse" can be heard here.

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