I teach “Children of the Mud Volcano,” a Central Javanese gamelan ensemble class at Arizona State University. We play traditional repertoire, but often with somewhat eclectic and neoIndonesian techniques appended to more traditional ones. Our university bought the nucleus of the gamelan in 2002 from Andy Sutton, used, but have probably more than doubled the size since then through a series of orders from Joan and Suhirdjan. Examples: 2002 only a suwukan 2 and a gong 6 (originally it was a suwukan 6); now we also have a Pl7/SL1 and PL1 and a large gong 3. We’ve almost doubled the number of sarons, including a saron wayang, acquired two more kendhang kalih sets, kendhang wayang, 2 more ciblons, have filled out both the kempul and kenong ranges, and numerous other instruments. We also have a distinctive naga, which our Javanese friends constructed based on two Arizona tourist postcards with pictures of diamondback rattesnakes (see photos). I’d say Suhirdjan and Joan have been instrumental (literally) in the success, such as it is, of our program. Suhirdjan provided the world at large a unique and indispensable artistry in the acquisition and assemblage of gamelans and gamelan instruments, and we will all be very much the poorer for his very untimely demise. Rest in Peace, Suhirdjan, and many thanks.
Professor, Music History/Ethnomusicology
School of Music
Barrett Honors Faculty
Director, Latin Marimba “Maderas de Comit·n” and Javanese gamelan “Children of the Mud Volcano”
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-0405, U.S.A.
Office phone (480)965-8612