The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Gamelan

Last night, I finally saw live the Southeast Asian percussion orchestra that has influenced Western composers from Claude Debussy to Lou Harrison. The gamelan is a group of instruments consisting mostly of gongs, drums, and mallet instruments and is to my mind concrete proof that a sophisticated and venerable musical tradition can exist pretty much anywhere.

The presentation of the gamelan here in Berkeley was in the context of a performance of a shadow puppet play, an example of which you can see above. A small taste of what the gamelan sounds like can be found here.


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