Segara Madu: Balinese gendér wayang

Sun 9 July 5.45-6.25pm
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London, London WC1H 0XG

Gendér wayang is the name given to a small duo or quartet of bronze metallophones, used in Bali to accompany the shadow play (wayang kulit), a sacred drama based on stories from ancient Indian epics. It also serves as a ritual ensemble playing for life-cycle ceremonies, temple festivals, purification rituals and cremations as part of Bali’s rich Hindu heritage. The playing technique in this miniature gamelan ensemble is very demanding, as players must damp the ringing notes with their wrists while executing high-speed figuration that interlocks between the instruments. Bamboo resonating tubes beneath the keys give the sound a unique resonance.

Segara Madu (“Sea of Honey”) is a gendér wayang group based at SOAS, directed and taught by Nick Gray. The performers today are: Paula Friar and Nick Gray. The group mostly plays pieces from the village of Sukawati, as taught by the late I Wayan Loceng.


1) “Sekar Sungsang” – a set of increasingly intricate variations that create interlocking polyphony like the tendrils of a vine

2) “Partha Wijaya” – an action piece from the shadow play depicting the noble warrior Arjuna, featuring rapid interlocking patterns

3) “Cangak Merengang” – a gentle piece depicting a heron in a rice-field

4) “Mesem” – a slow piece depicting the sadness of a noble character in the play

5) “Krepetan” – an action piece

6) “Rebong” – for a princess in the shadow play and scenes of romance

7) “Sekar Ginotan” – a complex set of variations on an old theme with a dramatic introduction

8) “Grebeg” – an action piece