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Gamelan Merdu Kumala

About this Artist

Gamelan Merdu Kumala, formerly known as Sanggar Tujunga, is a community gamelan ensemble located in Tujunga, CA. The group was founded by Hirotaka Inuzuka in 2014 to share and spread his passion for playing gamelan. Members come from all different backgrounds, ranging from college students and community members to musicians and other professionals. The instruments of Gamelan Merdu Kumala have been collected over time to make a set of instruments accommodating 15 players. Piece by piece, the instruments were gathered from places such as Florida, Portland, Los Angeles, and Bali. All of the instruments were made in Bali, but many of them were not being used and were in need of a new home with active players. Once the instruments were collected, they went through a precise tuning process to match tone and unify the sound as a single set.

“Gamelan” refers to various types of percussion ensemble found in Indonesia with gongs, kettles, drums, bamboo flutes, and metallophones. There are over 30 different types of gamelan in Bali alone. Gamelan Gong Keybar is the modern set of instruments and style of music born in the 1910s in North Bali. The word “Keybar” means “sudden burst,” which summarizes the style of music with fast interlocking melodies, abrupt tempo changes, and flashy yet refined performances.