Innovative and inclusive music and arts in Cumbria and NE

Family Gamelan & Community Wellbeing Sessions 2022

Come and experience playing our Gamelan

BlueJam is proud to be the custodian, with Heathlands in Carlisle and More Music in Morecambe of the “Dwi Gambira Sari” Gamelan Orchestra. Made by the late master Gamelan maker Pak Tentrem of Solo in Central Java and brought to the UK in Autumn 2010 we have the use of the Slendro half of the Orchestra, the Pelog half being at the Sage Gateshead.

We have made room in our Community Arts Space available to house this precious instrument safely and are able to share it with the community.

We have had pregnant women experiencing relief in a gong ‘sound bath’: families enjoying respite from lockdown in a shared, accessible activity; music students stimulated by a new music ethos and many people having fun with instruments that sound amazing and are easy to play.

Get in touch if you’d like to give a session as a present or birthday gift, book a workshop for your school or club, or join an ongoing community gamelan group.

Email Jilly at bluejamarts@gmail.com

A session will be led by an experienced instructor and your family/friendship group will learn how to play this magnificent instrument and make some gorgeous music as well as creating some rather special memories together.

A Gamelan session is a great way to relax and be creative as a group. Playing the instrument itself is quite meditative and can help give you time to step away, process and reflect on the times we are currently living in. It’s also great fun!

“This has been an incredible experience for our children! They have been allowed to explore a range of instruments – some they are familiar with, some not. And there has been no expectation made of them – just a freedom to play and indeed learn in an environment that inspires, delights and reassures. Sensitive and expert teaching and guidance showed an awareness of my children’s individual needs and preferences, of their anxieties and their areas of confidence. This is a space where joy unfolds new confidence and new discoveries and not just for the kids but for the whole family.”

 Parent – Gamelan Session, August 2020

You do not need to be musical to play the gamelan – there are really easy and more difficult parts so everyone can join in. If you can’t sit on the floor instruments can be put onto tables so you can sit on a chair to play. The bronze gamelan is now located upstairs but we have a portable orchestra that we can bring downstairs for an accessible session. We have a ramp but unfortunately no disabled toilet at present.

Here is a short burst from one of our community sessions on the bronze gamelan.

And here we are at Solfest grooving along to the disco tent!

Sounds amazing! How do we sign up?

Gamelan Sessions are available during daytimes, evenings and weekends depending on instructor availability. All you need to do to book a session is to e-mail us (bluejamarts@gmail.com) with three options of dates/times that you would be free to have a Gamelan Session plus how many people are in your family/friendship group and we will go from there. Each session costs £50 per group for one hour – this is to cover the instructor’s time and hire of the room. This should be paid online before the session (we will send you the link when we confirm your booking). Easy as pie! 

Everyone of any age and experience is welcome. We will tailor the session to suit you.

Here is some information by Sarah Kekus about the Orchestra, how the instruments are grouped together, which mallets to use, and some simple traditional tunes to try out.

BlueJam Arts Gamelan More performances using Lawrence Leith’s portable gamelan – here we are at Kendal Torchlight 2021.