Presented by the UNC Department of Music in Hill Hall, the groups’ joint concert tonight, called UNC World Music concert, will feature performances by the two very different student groups.
The Gamelan Nyai Saraswati is a traditional Javanese music ensemble, directed by music department Ph.D. candidate Joshua Busman. Charanga Carolina has a much different sound as a traditional ensemble of Cuban dance music. The group is directed by music professor David Garcia and is the only University-based charanga ensemble in the state of North Carolina.
“It’s a very unique experience to listen and attend one of our music events if it is something you’ve never done before in comparison to a seated, quiet performance,” Garcia said.
Kidznotes, a group of middle school musicians from Durham, will be making their debut on campus by opening for Charanga Carolina’s performance. Garcia said he arranged for the collaboration, and that the Charanga Carolina students have been rehearsing with Kidznotes in Durham for the past few weeks.
“It has been so much fun to see them play — they have been working hard for salsa music,” Garcia said.
Following these two Latino music and dancing acts, the Gamelan Nyai Saraswati will showcase their traditional central-Javanese music using gongs, wooden xylophones, flutes, drums and stringed instruments.
Sophomore and Gamelan Nyai Saraswati member Trudy Becker said she is excited to be part of such a unique group on campus.
“It was really nice when I found out Carolina offered a gamelan (group),” she said.
“Our director was really good at making it easy for people to join.”
Becker joined Gamelan Nyai Saraswati as part of a long-standing family tradition. Not only was her grandmother an active participant in gamelan music, but she also helped to start a lot of gamelans around the United States.
Becker also said the threads that gamelan holds in her family history influenced her to expand her musical ear.
“It is important to have different perspectives of the world and to try and broaden your mind out of the American or Western perspective,” she said.
Busman said although the sounds of these two ensembles are vastly different, they complement one another as a representation of musical diversity within the music department.
“The gamelan and Charanga Carolina are two of the most vibrant non-western ensembles in the music department,” he said.
“When you listen to music that comes out of western tradition, you have to force yourself to listen to music in the same way — our music expands the way you listen to music for an evening.”