Gamelan Raga Kusuma at Balliceaux 

Sunday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. Free.

click to enlarge night08_gamelon_raga.jpg
Are you feeling that iPod music? Really? You might think differently after hearing the Gamelan Raga Kusuma, an ensemble made up of a diverse group of two-dozen Richmonders of all ages, occupations and lifestyles who share a singular need to synchronize the complex rhythms and melodies of Balinese gamelan music. The musicians play with such clockwork precision that at times, the entire stage looks like the inside of a grand piano. Derived from the Javanese word for hammer, Gamelan is a percussive unit; instruments are struck, often with a small hammer called a panggul. There are also flutes, chimes, cymbals and fiddles. The pemadé and the larger version, called ugal, basically are xylophones with ornately carved teak bases and heavy bronze keys that look like dinosaur teeth. And the bronze that fashions many of the instruments, xylophone keys, gongs, metal drums and cymbals must be forged from the same batch. This is a distinguishing feature of gamelan — the resonance of each instrument relies on the same molecular structure of the bronze. You really can feel this music. Find out at Balliceaux on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. Free.


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