Galak Tika is the Boston area's first Balinese gamelan. A community ensemble in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Galak Tika was founded in September 1993 for the purpose of studying and performing both traditional and modern Balinese music and dance, as well as to develop new works in collaboration with Balinese and American artists.
What is a Gamelan?
The word gamelan means "to hammer," but the term refers to the large percussion orchestras of Java and Bali. The primary instruments are gongs, metallophones, and hand drums, with cymbals, vocals, bamboo flutes, and spiked fiddles used as well.
In Bali, gamelan is the primary source of all religious and concert music. The Balinese are ardent practitioners of a unique form of Hinduism, and gamelan is necessary for all ritual events, as well as to mark any large social occasion. There are dozens of different types of gamelans in Bali, ranging from large metal orchestras to bamboo ensembles, vocal groups, and groups dedicated to the imitation of frog sounds. All the music is marked by the use of one of two non-tempered pentatonic scales - pelog or slendro - and by rhythmically precise interlocking parts known as kotekan.
Our own instruments, a modified gamelan pelegongan, were custom-made by I Wayan Beratha of Denpasar, Bali. Galak Tika is Bahasa Kawi (classical Javanese, a dialect of Sanskrit) for "intense togetherness."
Who We Are
Gamelan Galak Tika is approximately 30 members strong, drawing its membership from MIT students, staff, and community. Our founder and director is Evan Ziporyn, Associate Professor of Music at MIT. We rehearse for roughly five hours a week, and we perform as often as we can. Since our inception we've had over two dozen full performances around New England at such venues as the Emerson Majestic Theater, Clark University, Wellesley College, the Planet Gamelan Festival at Dartmouth, Boston's First Night, the Bang-on-a-Can Marathon at New York City's Lincoln Center (where Ziporyn's Tire Fire was performed), and MIT. Most recently, we presented our first kecak as well as the first ever kecak-a-long, and premiered Ziporyn's latest ground-breaking new work, Amok!, with electronic music duo Basso Bongo, at Bang-on-a-Can's World Orchestra Day in NYC and at MIT.
Galak Tika has premiered music and dance works by Nyoman Catra, Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Wayan Lotring, Gde Manik, I Mario, Nyoman Windha, and Evan Ziporyn. We've also collaborated with the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble on a production of "The Tempest," with director Ron Jenkins and Tai Chi master Bow Sim Mark, and with famed computer music duo Basso Bongo.
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Gamelan Galak Tika is an ensemble in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology