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Goddard's Gamelan Sulukala

Goddard College's Gamelan Sulukala

A gamelan is a set of melodic percussion instruments, originating in the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali. Every gamelan is unique right down to its tuning, which is chosen by its maker. Most gamelans include a mix of plucked and bowed string, marimba-like instruments, and instruments with box resonators a little like glockenspiels. Most have a set of large gongs as well. In Java and Bali, gamelan are often used to accompany shadow puppet theater, dance, wedding and public performances.

Named Sulukala by Goddard’s first teacher of this unusual assembly of instruments, Dennis Murphy (‘67-‘81), Goddard’s gamelan is the perfect vehicle to engage students in the sensibility of another culture while enhancing a spirit of community already important to the college.

Gamelan Sulukala is not Goddard’s first gamelan. The first was made of iron and built by Dennis Murphy. Dennis was known around the world for being the first American to build a gamelan on the Javanese model. The first gamelan is still used by the group, the Plainfield Village Gamelan.

Following the closure of the Residential Undergraduate Program in 2002 the gamelan sat dormant. Today we moved Gamelan Sulukala to its new home in the Pratt Library.  Currently, Steven and Kathy Light are holding open gamelan rehearsals on Sundays at 6:30pm.  For more information please contact Meg Hammond at meg.hammond@goddard.edu