Gamelan Raga Kusuma at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 

Friday, Dec. 5

click to enlarge night49_gamelan_raga_kusuma.jpg
I love gamelan music. One of my favorite things about it is seeing some people openly wince in pain when they’re exposed to it. Though the agitation is unintentional, the sound of the percussive traditional Indonesian music is, like all the music I like best, not for everyone. Headed by Andrew McGraw, an associate music professor at the University of Richmond, the 25-piece Balinese music collective Gamelan Raga Kusuma is pure exhilaration. A loosely controlled cacophony of metallophones, bronze gongs, chimes, cymbals and flutes confronts the Western ear with aberrant stimulus. If you’ve never heard gamelan or this exceptional orchestra before, you really should, because it forces you to listen differently. Gamelan Raga Kusuma opens your ear to uncharted territories Friday, Dec. 5, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, from 6-8 p.m. Free. vmfa.museum.

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