Gamelan Semara Winangun

Balinese Gamelan in Ottawa, Canada

June 16, 2015

First Unitarian Meditation Gardens 20th Anniversary

Filed under: Gigs — webmaster @ 8:42 am


Join us this Saturday as we help the Friends of the Meditation Gardens at First Unitarian of Ottawa celebrate the gardens’ 20th anniversary. We’ll play from 1.30pm to 2pm, and again after the 2pm anniversary ceremony is over. Beautiful gardens, gamelan music, refreshments — a fantastic combination! There is no admission charge, but donations to the gardens are always welcome. Please note that if it’s raining, this *might* be postponed until Sunday or it may have to be cancelled, which would be very sad.

More about the gardens, and the people that take care of them:

The Friends of the Meditation Gardens, active since 2009, work to maintain, support, promote and fundraise for our congregational gardens. Founded in 1995 and run on ecological principles, the Gardens are pesticide-free, perennial display gardens, open to the public and accessible by walker and wheelchair. Plant identification markers, benches and memorial trees and shrubs are located throughout. Donations welcome to donation boxes. Educational materials posted on bulletin boards.

The usual summary:
When: Saturday June 20, 2015 @ 1:30pm
Where: First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, 30 Cleary Avenue
How much? 0$ (by donation)

October 25, 2014

4th Annual Ottawa Tea Festival

Filed under: Gigs — webmaster @ 9:04 am


As winter approaches, what better to soothe the soul than a nice cup of tea? Lots of things I’m sure. For example, how about sampling teas from around the globe coupled with workshops, seminars, music and dance? WOW!

The Ottawa Tea Festival returns December 6-7. It’s in a new venue but still promises to be a wonderful cultural and educational event, celebrating tea and its customs.

Particularly wonderful is the fact that we get to play at the festival again this year. Please do join us, with tea in hand, as we take the stage on Saturday afternoon at 2pm.

What: Ottawa Tea Festival
Where: Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa
When: December 6 & 7, 2014, 11:00am – 5:00pm
Advance tickets are $12 + tax for one day, $20 + tax for two days (email us if you would like tickets, we can provide discounts)

June 10, 2014

A Taste of Southeast Asia in Ottawa

Filed under: Gigs — webmaster @ 9:40 pm

Indonesia, Myanmar, & Vietnam Festival Flyer

On Saturday June 14th, the Indonesian Embassy is hosting a festival featuring the food, music, dance, and crafts of Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam. As part of the festivities, Semara Winangun will play a short set in the afternoon. Spending time in the parking lot of the Indonesian Embassy has never been more exciting — hope to see you there!

Where: Indonesian Embassy @ 55 Parkdale Avenue, Ottawa
When: Saturday, June 14th from 10:00AM – 4:00PM (Semara Winangun takes the stage around 3:30PM)
How much? FREE! Bring some cash for food though, it’s bound to be a feast

May 16, 2014

Expérience Asie 2014

Filed under: Gigs — webmaster @ 9:28 am

On Saturday May 24th, we take the stage at Gatineau City Hall as part of Expérience Asie. This event is part of Asian Heritage Month and will feature arts & culture from eight countries: China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Lebanon, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Come check out traditional song, music, & dance, authentic dishes, jewelery, martial arts, and more!

What: Gamelan Semara Winangun @ Expérience Asie
When: Saturday May 24th, 2014 @ 11am (we play from 11am-11:45am)
Where: Gatineau City Hall (25 Laurier Street, Gatineau)
Cost: Free admission and free parking

Please click on the pics above for more details.

January 3, 2014

A Look Back

Filed under: Guest Posts — webmaster @ 11:57 am

Happy New Year to all! As we look back on our 10th anniversary year, as well as the 60th anniversary of Indonesia-Canada diplomatic relations, this guest post seems very appropriate. Thanks for sharing Jamie!

By Jamie Gullikson

My first trip to Indonesia was a life-changing experience. Trying to escape the Ottawa winter, my wife and I traveled to Bali on a friend’s recommendation. “Everyone in Indonesia loves music”, he said. Certainly, music seemed to be everywhere: in grand and colourful parades and ceremonies, in restaurants, outdoor rehearsals, and performances. What struck me immediately upon seeing a gamelan actually play, was that this was a true group experience, with every instrument being of equal importance. There were no solos or even solo instruments; they weren’t necessary to the music. The music itself seemed perfect and complete, and was virtuosically played by men who stared absently into space, almost as if they were thinking of something else. As a Western musician, I was mystified. That same trip I read Canadian composer Colin McPhee’s marvelous book “A House in Bali”. His wonderful, thoughtful descriptions of the music, musicians, and country in the 1930s totally captivated me, and I returned to Canada with a small pile of cassettes which I listened to constantly, trying to understand or at least become accustomed to this rich music.

It was unbelievable luck that, a little over a year later, a Balinese pelegongan group was being formed just an hour from where I live. The Indonesian Embassy in Ottawa had agreed to house the instruments and graciously allowed us to begin practicing there, and we’ve been there almost every Tuesday evening since. In that time, we’ve managed to build a repertoire based on workshops with visiting teachers, individual studies in Indonesia, and from original arrangements and compositions. None of this would have been possible without the support of the Indonesian Embassy and the local Indonesian community. From their interest and patience, we’ve been able to improve as a group, and have been afforded many opportunities to perform. Being asked to participate in several of the Asian Heritage Month gala events has been a real thrill for us, as has been working with talented dancer/choreographer/musician Eko Nurcahyo to prepare for these shows. We were also very honoured to have been asked to perform for the 2005 Tsunami Relief Benefit Concert. Three people from our group were in Indonesia at the time of the tsunami, and arrived home just days before the concert. Needless to say it was a very emotional event.

In the past ten years we’ve performed a “live soundtrack” to a classic Balinese silent movie, played with jazz musicians, African drummers and dancers, as well as a classical choir. We’ve played in museums, churches, tents, bars, on a bridge, on parking lots and lawns. It has been the best ten years of my life, musically and otherwise. I’m very lucky to be a part of a group made up of the nicest people, whose dedication to Indonesian music is inspiring. And we, as a group, are very happy to be in a position where we can “give back” to the Indonesian Embassy and community by being able to perform at various cultural, diplomatic, or just-plain-fun events. It is this kind of “friendship beyond borders” that has made the group what it is today.

There will always be new challenges in playing gamelan, and there will always be room for improvements. I’m sure that’s part of the reason why we enjoy playing this music so much. The adventure is simply in getting there. I look forward to the challenges and improvements that the next ten years will surely bring, and I look forward to our ever-growing friendship with the Indonesian community.

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