Festival of Indonesian Arts at Swarthmore April 9 to Feature Balinese Shadow Play, Gamelan, and Batik

For Immediate Release:  March 28, 2006
Contact:  Marsha Nishi Mullan     
610-328-8535      
http://www.swarthmore.edu/news/

Festival of Indonesian Arts at Swarthmore April 9
to Feature Balinese Shadow Play, Gamelan, and Batik

A Festival of Indonesian Arts will be held at Swarthmore College on Sunday, April 9, beginning at 1 p.m. in and around the Lang Music Building.  Highlights of the festival are a performance of "Arjuna Tapa," a Balinese Shadow Play (Wayang Kulit); an exhibition of Batik paintings by acclaimed local artist Laura Cohn; and the Spring Concert of Swarthmore's Gamelan Semara Santi.  The festival is sponsored by the Department of Music and Dance and is free and open to the public.  Families with small children are especially welcome.

The exhibition of Batik paintings by Laura Cohn will be in the lobby of Lang Music Building for the entire weekend of April 8-9.  She will demonstrate her art from 1-2 p.m. outside the Lang Music Building on Sunday, April 9 (rain location: Lang Music Building lobby).

From 2-2:30 p.m. on the Lang Concert Hall stage there will be a hands-on demonstration of gamelan music by music professor Tom Whitman and members of Gamelan Semara Santi.  Children and adults are welcome to participate and learn to play.

The Spring Concert of Gamelan Semara Santi will begin at 3 p.m.  It will open with a Balinese greeting dance, "Panyembrama," performed by dancers in traditional costumes and accompanied by 25 musicians playing an orchestra of gongs, bronze-keyed xylophones, drums, and bamboo flutes.  The Shadow Play will follow immediately.

For "Arjuna Tapa," the Balinese Shadow Play drawn from the ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata, Shadow Puppet Master I Nyoman Suadin will be accompanied by Gamelan Semara Santi and musicians from Gamelan Mitra Kusuma of Washington, D.C.  The Shadow Play is a popular entertainment in Bali and is also a central element of important Hindu-Balinese religious ceremonies.  The puppet master uses beautiful hand-made leather puppets to cast shadows on a large screen; the audience may either watch the shadows from the front or come behind the screen to see how the shadows are created and to watch the musicians as they play. 

As part of the festival, food and handicrafts from Indonesia will be on sale in and around the Lang Music Building from 1-4 p.m.