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York Gamelan orchestra joins martial arts group for unique concert

Posted on 23 May 2014

The University of York’s Gamelan Sekat Patak, an ensemble of traditional Javanese musical instruments, and the Yorkshire Pencak Silat Academy, practitioners of Indonesian martial arts, will present an evening of fight scenes from the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata.

The first performance of its kind in Yorkshire, it will take place on 4 June at the University’s Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall.

One of the organisers, Ginevra House, of the University’s Department of Music, said: “Coinciding with the First World War centenary, the Mahabharata holds particular resonance as a tale of a devastating war between cousins, where all civilised rules of engagement are undermined and an entire race of warriors wiped out. The fight scenes reflect how the line between good and evil become increasingly blurred as the protagonists struggle to prevail, whatever the cost.”

Pencak Silat is an Indonesian martial art, oftenpracticed with musical accompaniment. Its artistic aspects are rarely explored in the UK, where it is mainly learned as a form of self-defence.

The York gamelan, a collection of tuned gongs and metallophones from Java, was assembled in 1981 and was the first purpose-built gamelan in a British University. The group has toured the country extensively and made appearances on the BBC TV and radio and ITV.

The performance starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday 4 June.

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