February 26, 2015, by International students
A Cultural Gem in Nottingham
“Nottingham Gamelan Group Naga Lelana In the Castle café, FREE” – was listed in the Light Night 2015 schedule. I was surprised as well as curious to find this event. Gamelan is a traditional ensemble from Indonesia that consists of several musical instruments. Nowadays, this cultural gem which has been played since a hundred years ago is only played for formal occasions, traditional ceremonies, or in some tourism sites in Java and Bali, Indonesia. Although Gamelan is no longer popular among young people, this instrument is still famous among foreigners.
Not being able to make it for the performance that day, I googled “Naga Lelana Gamelan Nottingham” and found a video about this ensemble on Youtube. What I stumbled upon was even more surprising; the performers are not Indonesians. Googling further on “Nottingham Gamelan”, what I came across was also startling. I found that there is a professor in the University of Nottingham Music Department, in the School of Humanities, named Professor Mervyn Cooke who is an expert in Indonesian traditional music. When I visited their official website apparently, besides Gamelan, they also have Indonesian traditional dance and visual arts (shadow puppets, mask making and batik). As an Indonesian, I am so proud yet embarrassed of the fact that there are many foreigners who know more about my culture and traditions than me.
Finding out about Art Beat Projects now is coincidentally such a perfect thing for me because I am currently involved in the Arts Committee for the annual Indonesian Cultural Festival – Indofest 2015 which is organized by the Indonesian Society (Isoc). I then contacted Art Beat Projects, and asked them about performing in our event. I was so happy and excited when they said that they are willing to perform in the event. Indofest itself will take place on 7 June 2015 at Highfield Park. There will be traditional arts performances, folk games, an Indonesian traditional food bazaar, and a cultural exhibition. If you are interested in finding out more about this event, you could visit the Indofest website and download the mobile application for more information.
Meredita Susanty, an international student from Indonesia studying MSc Management in Information Technology at the University of Nottingham.