Semara Winangun is an Ottawa-based
gamelan led (or ‘facilitated’ as he would say) by Jamie
Gullikson. Once a week, we come together to play shimmering music
in the basement of the Indonesian
Embassy where we are surrounded by dragons and gongs and watched
over by the gods that inhabit our instruments.
In contemporary usage, the word “gamelan” just means orchestra.
There are many different types of gamelan in Indonesia; the music that
we play comes from the island of Bali. You can hear some of our
In fact, the instruments that we play also come from Bali. Eric Da
Silva brought these instruments to Ottawa in 2002 and formed Semara
Winangun. Eric led the group until 2005 at which point he sold the
instruments to us; we now run as a collective.
Learning new pieces can be a challenge sometimes, since much of the
gamelan tradition is oral. We glean as much as we can from recordings
but have also had week-long sessions with I Made Lasmawan, Balinese
master drummer and composer. In addition, some of our members have
received instruction in Bali.
I Made Lasmawan
I Dewa Superta