Talks and workshops/

Rhythm in Bronze in the Community:
The Selayang Project II

About the Workshop

Rhythm in Bronze is a gamelan ensemble which performs new music on the expanded Malay gamelan set. It was formed in 1997, and is led by directors Sunetra Fernando and Jillian Ooi.  Special features of Rhythm in Bronze’s work are its intercultural approach, the development of a new audience for gamelan and the effective use of gamelan on the concert stage.  Through its repertory that extends beyond traditional regional styles to new works written specially for the ensemble, Rhythm in Bronze has successfully achieved a global resonance. Rhythm in Bronze is based at Five Arts Centre.

The Selayang Project community outreach was made possible through the sponsorship of HSBC in the Arts.  Rhythm in Bronze chose to work with the children from the available housing estate of Taman Prima Selayang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur because these children already had a sense of organized community.  This was deemed necessary because of the nature of the project that involved the movement of the children to and from the gamelan set location and the nature of gamelan-playing that requires many hours of group rehearsals in full quorum.  This special community in Taman Prima Selayang was a pre-existing entity nurtured by the efforts of a social worker, Sister Bertha, whose special mission has been to attend to the educational needs of the children in community by providing tuition, day-care and study areas within the housing flats.

The project saw four facilitators working with the children (ages 9 – 15) for a total of 36 hours or 18 sessions.  The venue for the sessions was the gamelan room at the Kuala Lumpur Performance Arts Centre (KLPAC) where The Actors Studio's gamelan set is housed.   These sessions were held weekly on Fridays from 8 to10 pm.  The program began on August 11th 2006 and culminated in an on-site concert on December 10th 2006 where the children presented their compositions as the soundscape for a story read by one of their own.


Director/Project Initiator:  Jillian Ooi

Creative Framework:  Susan Sarah John

Facilitators:  Jillian Ooi, Sharmini Ratnasingam, Susan Sarah John, Ann Salina Peter

Blog Creator/Manager:  Sharmini Ratnasingam

Children’s Coordinator:  Sister Bertha

Children (10 – 15 years):  Kogila Ganeshan, Yasotha Ramachandran, Kavitha Ramachandran, Thanu Priya Balu, Kavin Raj Balu, Durga Devi Kanthan, Norbaizura bt Ismail, Norhaslina bt Mond Nasir, Geethanjali Muniandi, Santhi Subramaniam, Mohd Kidir, Ukvesh, Babaganesh, Nathan, Kamsala, Shain.

Other Information (Participants’ Comments)

Last friday, I and some of my tuition friends went to KLPac which is placed at Sentul for a "Gamelan" practice. We were all fifteen people. We went there by a van. It was an enjoyable journey.

When we entered the building we were welcomed, by a lady who named "Kak Jillian". On that day, there was a party in that building. So we could see many people. There also we saw many colourful and beautiful painting.

After that we went to the second floor where all the "kakak's" were waiting for us. Then we introduced ourselves to the kakas and they too. And then, they also taught us some games. It was very interesting.

Then we played the 'Timang Burung' song with the Gamelan instruments. It was very nice. They praise us, "although it was two years later, you all can remember.

Later we had our rest. There they gave us some food. The food is really delicious. We enjoyed the food. Then we continue our discussing. And the time ends at 10.00 o'clock at night. Then we performed a moving taught by them. At last they remembered us to do our homework.

And then we came down to the waiting van. Then we went home. We hope that we could finish our homework given by them by the time they had gave us.

The story ends!

Age: 9 years

Every friday I and my friends are going to KL Pac to play instrument. We leave at 7.30pm from Taman Prima Selayang. We all taking van to go to the KL Pac.

Once we reached there we walk to the second floor when they give permission to enter, we all go inside to the room. There were many instruments things. Then we the instrument following the song of "Timbang burung".

After an hour we all taking the break for a few minutes. After that, we all went to the room and we do exercising. It was a very beautiful and Romantic place. We all happy and enjoyed ourselves.

We leave the place at about 10.00 o'clock from KL Pac Sentul. We arrived at home at 11.00 o'clock. We all very thanked to Sister Better because she give opportunity to learn the instrument very succesfully.

Age: 13 years

Every Friday my friends and I went to KLPAC. We went there by van. We all went to play musical and learn how to play musical with the song or rhythm. We didn’t learn like this before because very interesting to play.

I enjoy and it make me very interesting. It make me interesting because have many music interesting with different sound. We all very lucky give us chance this musical. We will continue to learn this music. We all are enjoy in the day with you all.

Age: 14 years

Full Report

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