2hb Julai 2020 adalah satu detik kebanggaan untuk industri muzik tradisional khususnya gamelan Melayu. Gangsapura telah dinobatkan sebagai pemenang Kakiseni 17th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards dalam kategori Best Of 2019 yang berlangsung di TemuTamu, Pusat Kreatif Kanak-Kanak Tunku Bainun yang dipancarkan khas di Facebook Live. Siapa sangka? Saingan untuk kategori tersebut pun sengit-sengit dan hebat-hebat belaka. Tercalon dalam kategori Best Of 2019 pun dah cukup membanggakan!

Sekali lagi, Gangsapura ingin mengucapkan terima kasih kepada anda semua di atas sokongan dan kepercayaan kepada semangat tradisi kami. Tidak sabar rasanya untuk bersama-sama menghasilkan karya di masa akan datang bersama-sama dengan penggiat seni yang lain!

Antara kategori yang dipertandingkan dalam anugerah ini adalah:

TARI

  1. Best Lead/Featured Performer,
  2. Best Group Performance,
  3. Best Lighting Design,
  4. Best Set Design,
  5. Best Music & Sound Design,
  6. Best Costume, Styling & Make-up,
  7. Best Multimedia Design.

MUZIK

  1. Best Solo Performance-Instrumental,
  2. Best Group Performance-Instrumental,
  3. Best Solo Performance-Vocal,
  4. Best Group Performance-Vocal,
  5. Best Musical Direction,
  6. Best Original Composition,
  7. Best Production Values.

Teater Muzikal

  1. Best Choreographer,
  2. Best Original Score,
  3. Best Performance by an Ensemble,
  4. Best Original Book,
  5. Best Musical Direction,
  6. Best Direction,
  7. Best Performer in a Leading Role,
  8. Best Performer in a Supporting Role,
  9. Best Set Design,
  10. Best Costume Design, Styling & Make-up,
  11. Best Sound Design,
  12. Best Lighting Design.

TEATER

  1. Best Actor in a Leading Role,
  2. Best Actor in a Supporting Role,
  3. Best Group Performance,
  4. Best Direction,
  5. Best Original Script,
  6. Best Lighting Design,
  7. Best Set Design,
  8. Best Music & Sound Design,
  9. Best Costume Design, Styling & Make-up.

Dan untuk yang terakhir adalah Best Of 2019!

Sekali lagi, Gangsapura ingin mengucapkan terima kasih kepada anda semua di atas sokongan dan kepercayaan kepada semangat tradisi kami. Tidak sabar rasanya untuk bersama-sama menghasilkan karya di masa akan datang bersama-sama dengan penggiat seni yang lain!

One thing about the Movement Control Order for sure, is that it really puts a challenge onto us. Some finds the quarantine to be peaceful- not needing to go out for family gatherings and is able to stay at home, eat, sleep and repeat, but it is in the human nature to want to go out and have the slightest bit of interaction with other humans. It can be a good friend, a coworker, or even the aunt next door with her 20 orange tabby cats. How exactly do people cope with this current way of living? Well, I can share a few ways on how to de-stress yourself during this quarantine.

Reading A Book

During MCO, it is a good idea to be picking up a nice new habit- reading! Before the quarantine happened, there was an event in Pahang called Big Bad Wolf. It is a book fest where they sell books at a very cheap price. I spend RM100 for a stack of nice novels- 6 books at most and a colouring book as well.

Photo by chris liu on Unsplash

I never had the time to read them as my time in college is very much filled with homework, assignments, group meetings, and in the weekends, I was too busy finding time to rest, hang out with friends and catch up with deadlines. So now that the quarantine happened, I have been finding more time to read the books and so far, my favourite would be ‘Evil’.

It is a book by Colin and Damon Wilson covering the true stories of murder. I am highly intrigued by books like these so maybe you guys should try it out as well.

Keeping Fit

Just because we are in quarantine, it should not be an excuse for us to stop being fit and healthy. There are many home exercises that you can try and fit your needs. There are also plenty of apps and videos available to assist you with it. I have taken up yoga during weekends and sometimes do vigorous exercises on the weekdays.

Photo by Avrielle Suleiman on Unsplash

During the first time of doing them, my whole body was in pain. It was hard to keep up with the steps as I have already started breathing heavily and have a hard time trying to keep my balance up. But as time goes on, your body will get more used to it and these exercises will be more refreshing than it is tiring! It is good food to the health and the body. You should really try the healthy lifestyle apps and videos for your quarantine ideas

Learn Something New

Since staying at home will really get you into an unescapable routine, it is always nice to try and learn something new to try and break the habit. Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone and into the vast choices of skills that you can manifest. An example of a new skill is a friend of mine who just recently tried her hand in knitting. She even bought the equipment and yarn. She made her cat a small beanie and her sister a nice sweater, even though it was not the most appropriate wear outside with all the visible holes in it. She had enjoyed it, even though she wasn’t making anything perfect, but she was slowly getting there.

I, in particular, started learning gamelan myself! I have been so intrigued by the different sets of instruments and the skills of gamelan players as I watched it live. One of the great examples was the Buka Langkah live performance at KLPAC. The atmosphere was lively and the aura it radiates was truly magical. There is a bunch of gamelan music you can listen to on our YouTube channel, Gangsapura. It features a lot of our original music at the highest quality.

I hope this blogpost has helped some out to destress during quarantine! I have been doing fine so far and I am hoping that you all will be well as well. Stay safe and stay clean!

Apa itu gamelan? Gamelan itu sendiri adalah satu alat muzik tradisi yang berasal dari tradisi Jawa dan kemudiannya berkembang nusantara seperti di Bali dan Tanah Melayu. Dari segi instrumentasinya, ia berkembang sehingga bentuknya menjadi sampai seperti sekarang yang kita kenali ini pada zaman kerajaan Majapahit lagi.

(Gambar hiasan) Gamelan Melayu pertama tertua (berusia 208 tahun) yang tiba di Tanah Melayu.

Untuk pengetahuan umum, kenapa gamelan kita dipanggil Gamelan Melayu kerana gamelan ini mula berkembang di istana Riau-Lingga dan seterusnya meneruskan tradisi Joget Gamelan (tarian istana diiringi gamelan Melayu) di Pahang dan Terengganu. Gamelan di Indonesia pula mempunyai beberapa jenis gamelan yang berbeza mengikut etnik atau suku, contohnya gamelan Jawa, Gamelan Bali, dan gamelan Sunda. Lebih menarik, gamelan sering dikaitkan dengan unsur-unsur mistik atau berpenunggu!

Cerita ini bermula ketika saya masih fasa awal pembelajaran dalam gamelan Melayu. Saya masih ingat ada dalam 10 orang termasuk saya untuk belajar gamelan. Ketika itu, guru gamelan saya banyak memberi pengetahuan tentang gamelan antaranya pantang larang bermain gamelan. Antara pantang larangnya adalah jangan sesekali melangkah gamelan! Itu yang selalu ditekankan oleh guru saya setiap kali kami menjalankan latihan. Akibat jika melangkah, alat sulit kita akan membengkak, katanya. Saya juga pernah diberitahu oleh guru saya terdapat penunggu di setiap alat gamelan. PENUNGGU?! Menurut cerita lama, penunggu tersebut berdamping dengan alat gamelan untuk menjaga kualiti bunyi alat dan juga menjaga alat itu sendiri supaya berada dalam kondisi yang baik. Saya hairan, macam mana penunggu tu jaga? Penunggu tu duduk dekat mana?

(Gambar hiasan) Alat Gamelan Melayu replika yang menyerupai Gamelan Melayu pertama yang tiba di Tanah Melayu pada awal abad ke-19 lalu (Gambar ihsan dari SeniKome Peng Heng)

Semasa kami sibuk menjalankan latihan, guru kami sering mengingatkan kami supaya menjaga adab ketika bermain. Adab apa? Contoh, bila mengetuk gamelan, kita kena ketuk dengan lemah lembut. Bunyi yang keluar pun mendayu-dayu. Orang lain dengar kita main pun sedap. Bila kalau dah tak main, kena usap gamelan tersebut dan cuba bercakap dengan alat kita main tu. Cakap yang elok-elok. Barulah kita belajar tu, ilmu senang masuk dan susah keluar kata guru saya. Aduh pening. Kena bercakap juga ke dengan gamelan? Silap-silap gamelan tu sapa kita balik. Mahu tak berlari langkah seribu. Selain itu, guru kami sering mengingatkan kami kalau nak mulakan lagu, kena dibuka dengan lagu Perang dahulu dan lepas tu barulah boleh dimainkan lagu-lagu yang lain. Tak cukup dengan itu, habis pun kena ditutup dengan lagu Perang. Kenapa ya? Tak ke pelik tu…

(Gambar hiasan) Generasi terakhir penari Joget Gamelan menari beriringan muzik di Istana Kolam,Terengganu pada tahun 1966.

Siapa pernah dengar lagu Mulih/Muleh? Guru saya pernah cakap lagu Muleh ni bukan lagu sembarangan untuk dimainkan. Kalau nak main pun ada tujuannya. Guru saya cakap, tujuannya adalah menyembuhkan. Sembuhkan apa? Sakit ke? Bukan sakit. Lagu Muleh ni hanya boleh dimainkan kalau ada sesiapa saja yang tiba-tiba nampak 'lain'. Lain macam mana tu? Contohnya, bila seseorang tu dah naik syeikh dan tak sedarkan diri ketika bermain, barulah kita boleh memainkan lagu tu untuk pulihkan seperti sediakala. Secara konklusinya, hanya kita sendiri yang membuat keputusan sama ada gamelan itu berhantu atau tidak mengikut pengalaman masing-masing kerana mungkin pantang larang tersebut hanya untuk mendidik kita supaya kita lebih menghargai alat tradisi budaya kita sendiri. Atau memang dari dulu gamelan ni berpenghuni?

When someone mentions musical instruments to you, what would be the first thing to pop in your head? Violin? Electric guitar? That triangular metal thing in the back of a primary school band? What defines a musical instrument is that it is created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. This means that your voice can also be considered as a musical instrument! I discovered my musical instrument when I was 10 years old, oblivious to the word ‘choir’ in my primary school, forced myself to join the team because my teacher said so. Now as I look back, I am glad she did. So in this post, I will tell you the experience I had with music, which in this case, choir.

There were pamphlets of the choir competition pasted everywhere in my school’s information boards. I was curious at first, but seeing that it requires you to be on stage, I decided to forget about it and ditched the thought. All competitions require to be on stage, so I have obviously avoided any competition that could’ve helped me with my certificate when I leave school. This was worrisome for my English teacher who seemed to like me a lot too, so she forced me to join the choir team. It was awkward. The moment I entered the room, all eyes were on me. Did I have chilli in my teeth when I grinned? I hope not. They were all sitting in different spots in the room. Most of them were girls, and only a number of them were boys. I introduced myself and I was immediately asked, “What role would you like to take?”

How would I know? I know nothing about the choir. And so, I only stood there with an awkward smile, and I could hear the girls laugh at me. Oh, the horror. Realizing that I was a total newbie, the teacher then decided to start the first meeting with basics. In a choir, there are many different roles taken by people according to their capabilities of controlling their voices. In the choir, there was 4 main roles; soprano, bass, treble and conductor. Soprano have really high pitched voices, most of the squeaky girls hold that role. Bass is mostly given to the boys, with deep voices even though most of them do not have that at the time. Treble is the role that was given to people with neither of those roles- they are mostly in the middle. Not too high, and not too low. Before the roles were given, we were told to test our voices by using solmization- a musical scale to measure pitches of your voice, or more commonly known as Do Re Mi. After the test, I was given the Soprano role. It was quite surprising for me, and even the teacher told me, “You have a great voice! Why don’t you join earlier?”

Thing is, I didn’t even know I could sing, until that solmization test. The teacher then put us all in a 3-layer line, the Bass at the back. Trebles then Sopranos. She continued the lesson that day by teaching us how to control our voices. There were many different ways to do so, but our teacher insists we practice with our breathing. Higher voices tend to use a mixture of chest, nose and head depending on the range, while lower voices use the chest a lot more. Even if a particular song doesn’t require it, breathe deeply and fairly slowly so that we have a good oxygen supply for each phrase of the song. We practised our breathing and voices for about a week, and after that, we were left on our own to perfect it. At the same time, the teacher would introduce to us the songs that would be used for the competitions; Lompat Si Katak and Tekad. When we first heard the composition of the songs, some of us complained that they were hard to master but we found out that it wasn’t impossible. We managed to sing them in unison together and practised every day to make it even better.

We have joined multiple competitions with these songs and we have won many awards- until one day we lost to another primary school which apparently had movements in their choir presentation. We were surprised- we didn’t know that we can move and get points for it. Well, a champion will fall at least once, so we took the 2nd place with pride. I stopped going to choir when I graduated Primary School since my Secondary school didn’t take choir competitions and singing competitions either. It was a memorable experience, to be able to discover your talent and sing your favourite songs. I learned a lot, made a bunch of friends, and even performed in college a couple of times. It had started something in my life, and I was truly grateful to have taken part in the choir team when I was just a 10-year-old shy girl at the back of the classroom.

Saya mula mengenali Gamelan Melayu sejak saya berumur 12 tahun lagi ketika saya di Pahang. Ketika itu, saya cuma melihat dan tertanya-tanya, "alat muzik apakah ini?" "Bagaimana nak memainkannya?". Saya hairan. Kenapa alat ini dipinggirkan begitu sahaja. Saya mula cuba untuk mengetuk-ngetuk alat tersebut seorang diri tanpa ada sesiapa pun yang menemani saya. Saya cuba untuk mendalami bunyi gamelan tersebut. Ternyata! Bunyi ia amat menenangkan saya ketika itu dengan waktu petang yang tenang. Teramat tenang! Ketika saya lalai mengetuk alat tersebut, saya dikejutkan dengan seorang lelaki. Lelaki tersebut perkenalkan dirinya bernama En. Jasmi. Beliau bertanyakan saya, adakah saya seorang diri di situ. Saya menjawab ya. Dia mula bertanya lagi, "berminat ke untuk belajar?" Saya hanya mengangguk. En. Jasmi mula bercerita yang suatu ketika dahulu, gamelan ini selalu dimainkan oleh penggiat-penggiat gamelan di Pahang. Malah, ada festival lagi! Tapi kian masa berlalu pergi, gamelan di situ makin tidak mendapat tempat di hati orang. Gamelan semakin dilupakan. Beliau juga ada membuka kelas gamelan kepada sesiapa yang nak belajar apa itu gamelan. Tetapi tiada sambutan. Kemudian, En. Jasmi tanpa melengahkan masa, memberi satu cd gamelan dan meminta saya untuk mendengarnya. Beliau juga meminta saya untuk datang semula esok harinya dan membawa rakan saya yang berminat untuk belajar sama-sama.

(Gambar hiasan) Kumpulan Gamelan dari Perbadanan Muzium Sultan Abu Bakar bermain gamelan sempena Istiadat Pertabalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong ke-16 pada 30 Julai 2019 lalu.

Keesokkan harinya, saya datang ke tempat itu semula dan membawa 5 orang rakan saya yang lain untuk turut serta dalam mempelajari gamelan. Ketika dalam kelas, kami mempelajari lagu pertama iaitu Togok. Kami mengambil sekurang-kurangnya 5 hari untuk mempelajari lagu itu sahaja. Untuk pengetahuan pembaca, saya hanya memainkan satu alat sahaja iaitu gong. Setiap hari saya datang belajar gamelan, saya hanya memegang pengetuk gong sahaja ya. Saya tidak pernah mencuba alat lain kerana ketika itu kami semua lebih pentingkan penghafalan lagu dan penghayatan lagu.

Setelah bertahun-tahun kami belajar, kumpulan gamelan kami kian berkembang dengan penambahan ahli kumpulan. Kami juga diberikan peluang untuk belajar dengan guru-guru lain antaranya Awang Kechik, seorang pemain Gamelan Muzium Pekan. Banyak ilmu pengetahuan yang kami peroleh dari beliau. Kami juga mula mendapat peluang untuk membuat persembahan di luar, dan antara yang terbesar adalah program perasmian songket terbaru dari Tengku Puan Pahang yakni Permaisuri kita sekarang. Sejak dari itu, saya mulakan langkah saya sebagai seorang pemain gamelan. Kalian pula macam mana? Pernah tak jatuh cinta dengan gamelan?

For a little introduction of what Gamelan is, it is the traditional ensemble music of the Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese peoples of Indonesia made up predominantly of percussive instruments. It has also reached to various parts of the world which includes Malaysia! That is how gamelan Melayu appeared. It is basically from the royalty passed down through heritage, which is why it was once played only for the royal family. Well, music on its own has its benefits but did you know that Gamelan itself also has its advantages when played? Keep on reading and educate yourself! Suhartini (2010) found in their research that gamelan music was effective to reduce the level of anxiety in patients with ventilator support. The gamelan music was also found to be effective to reduce the physiological responses in patients with ventilator support. Indeed, researchers can use the gamelan music for therapeutic purposes, as can be told from other researches and also from the previous blog post on the meaning of Music.

Gamelan is not only pleasing to the ears. There are many benefits that you can get from listening to gamelan itself! Here are some of the benefits that you can get from listening to gamelan.

Furthermore, it has also been found that gamelan has an impact to reduce the stress levels of the listeners. Research has been conducted in Lawangan – Lamongan focused on the elderly using a custom-made questionnaire and some observations have been taken as well. The data had suggested that before listening to gamelan, the elderly have been experiencing general stress, perhaps closely related with their backgrounds and experiences, but after listening to gamelan, their stress has been greatly reduced. This shows that Gamelan does affect individuals in terms of the reduction of stress.

Did you know that Gamelan also has a positive effect on the gross motor functions of the human body? Research has been conducted on the effects of Gamelan on children with cerebral palsy to have positive responses towards Gamelan. This can be seen in the improvement of their posture, muscle strength in the upper and lower limbs, range of motion and the ability to maintain a long period of sitting cross-legged. (Mohamed Ghouse Nasuruddin, 2010) They have also shown improvement in the attention span, hand and eye coordination and so on. Gamelan has given these children a large effect and this can be seen as another benefit of listening or playing Gamelan.

What do you guys think? Do you feel these effects when you listen or play Gamelan? If not, do you have any personal experiences with Gamelan? I hope you enjoy reading this blogpost! Have a beautiful day!

Looking for gamelan class in Kuala Lumpur? Finally, Gangsapura Gamelan Classes is now open!

The BOH Cameronian Awards celebrates astounding performances of musical theatre, art, music and dances in the previous year. It was founded by an organization called Kakiseni, which is the country's online website dedicated to art, as stated in its name. The awards have been started since 2002, and has been the only award to be supporting art since then!

17th BOH Cameronian Arts Awards 2020 is held this year, more precisely, in Facebook live. It is hosted by Dominic Lucien Luk, the Head of Expressive Arts Department and the Co-Founder of the Monday Show School of Musical Theatre. The awards are distributed according to categories of art which are music, musical theatre, dance and theatre. Many groups were nominated in the category and Gangsapura's Buka Langkah: Inner Resonance was nominated too!

And no one, not even Gangsapura themselves expected:

WE WON THE AWARD!

It is a huge milestone! We are glad that Gangsapura's Buka Langkah: Inner Resonance has moved the hearts of so many. The breathtaking vocals, the amazing instrumental plays, the lively energy- everything is now out there in the open! Perhaps from this point on, more shows will take place? Better? Livelier? But one thing for sure, it will be legendary.

Congratulations, Gangsapura. To another beautiful year!

Ever really wondered how Malay Gamelan works?

I can be considered as someone who has zero knowledge of Gamelan despite actually working under a company that associates themselves directly to it. All my life up until I finished college, I never thought about playing the Gamelan, let alone learn about it. However, recently I have seen the class programs provided by Gangsapura and it has somehow piqued my interest.

Gangsapura at KLPAC. Photo by Gangsapura

I ask myself- is it okay to be entering the class when you know nothing at all about Gamelan? The answer is: Yes! Gangsapura has many different classes provided that varies according to your levels. For my case, I should join the Beginners Class so I don't miss the basics and understand better of the whole topic like playing technique, introduction to traditional music notation, instrumentations and more. There are also Intermediate and Advanced classes for those who already have skills but want to learn more styles and songs, more of a 'pro' with Gamelan. I believe the tutorial would be more in-depth and detailed compared to the Beginners'. All of the classes are affordable and worth the shot as you will be taught by experienced and friendly tutors; in a relaxed setting.

Keromong, one of the Malay gamelan instrument here in KLPAC. Photo by Gangsapura

The number of students is also fitting with the current situation of our country- less than 10 people per class. This is to ensure that the tutors can fully focus on the students without being too occupied with too many people. This is also to make sure that everyone has their own set of instruments so everyone can demonstrate their skills during class. Do not worry- the instruments are sanitised every time after use so you are safe under their care.

Our co-founder Teuku Umar Ilany and his Intermediate students. Photo by Gangsapura

Come and join the Gangsapura classes this August! Visit the link below for more details.

Gangsapura Gamelan Group is a standalone Contemporary Malay Gamelan Group, first established in October 2016, based in the heart of Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur, with the aim of promoting Malaysian culture, developing traditional arts and instilling arts and music skills among community.

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