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Gamelan, Debussy reunited at ‘Impressions Universelles’

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta  /  Thu, May 16, 2019  /  07:15 pm
Gamelan, Debussy reunited at ‘Impressions Universelles’

Lithe: The four Javanese dancers reenacted the exact same dance performed by Surakarta Palace dancers performed at the fair’s Le Kampong Javanais 130 years ago. (Aula Simfonia Jakarta/STEMI Photography)

More than 100 years ago, the tunes of the Sari Oneng gamelan set enchanted French composer Claude Debussy at the World Fair in Paris. The historic gamelan set once again showcased its charming sounds at a recent concert in Jakarta. Long before Indonesia gained its independence, the Sari Oneng Parakansalak gamelan set from Sumedang, West Java, had traveled the world. Put together in 1825 in Sumedang, the gamelan set’s Europe journey started in Amsterdam in 1883. It also appeared at the World Fair (Exposition Universelle) in Paris in 1889, as part of the Le Kampong Javanais (Javanese Village) pavilion where 65 Indonesians lived in a recreated village showcasing Indonesian culture. It was at the pavilion that then 27-year-old Claude Debussy and 14-year-old Maurice Ravel discovered the sounds of gamelan, and later incorporated its unique melody into their works. &ldquo...