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Gamelan Music at SOU

Ethnomusicologist leads workshop

Sean Williams, visiting ethnomusicologist from The Evergreen State College, will be leading a workshop/masterclass for the SOU Gamelan Ensemble on Wednesday, April 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Music Building at Southern Oregon University. The public is invited to sit on the stage around the ensemble to watch, listen, and ask questions. At the close of the workshop, observers will have the opportunity to play the instruments. Curious onlookers of all ages are welcome to stop by for all or part of this event.

Gamelan is an Indonesian chime, drum and gong ensemble. There are many different types of gamelan instruments and styles of gamelan music from the culturally diverse islands of Indonesia. The most well known in the west are Balinese and Central Javanese styles. The SOU gamelan - gamelan degung - is from the Sunda region of western Java. It has a distinctive five tone scale and its own "mellow" style of music.

Sean Williams, who speaks Indonesian and has studied in Indonesia, is a specialist in the gamelan degung style, and has transcribed dozens of traditional pieces of music which she has generously donated to the SOU gamelan ensemble. Traditional gamelan music is cyclic in form and has influenced 20th century western composers and performers like Claude Debussy, Lou Harrison, Steve Reich and Mickey Hart.

Sean Williams received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. A professor of music, Asian studies, and Celtic studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, she focuses on musically-related issues of language, gender, politics, and expressive culture. She has lived and worked in Indonesia, Japan, Ireland, the Middle East, and Germany. Williams edited The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook: Complete Meals from Around the World published in 2006, and co-edited The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Vol. 4. She wrote The Sound of the Ancestral Ship: Highland Music of West Java (Oxford University Press) and is currently working on Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song-Man, a biography of the great sean-n&

243;s singer, which will also be published by Oxford. She plays many Indonesian instruments in addition to the banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. More about Sean Williams at her web site, /w/williams/

For more information about this event, call the SOU Music Department office at 552-6101. For more information about the SOU Gamelan Ensemble, see /music/gamelan.html