Experience music, and glimpse culture from a world away

World music concert invites rethinking of the meaning of music

By Peter Alexander

CU Balinese Gamelan and dancers (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

CU Balinese Gamelan and dancers (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

The University of Colorado College of Music won’t quite take you around the world in 80 minutes, but in one concert of that length they can take you into musical cultures from the other side of the globe.

The occasion is the World Music Concert presented by CU’s Japanese Traditional Music Ensemble and Balinese Gamelan, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8 in Grusin Music Hall.

The College of Music offers several world music ensembles, giving students the opportunity to learn a different musical culture from the inside. In addition to the Japanese and Balinese ensembles, there is West African Highlife ensemble, which will perform Saturday at 7:30 p.m., also in Grusin Hall; and in the spring semester there will be a Mexican Mariachi band.

CU Japanese Traditional Music Ensemble (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

CU Japanese Traditional Music Ensemble (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

The Japanese Traditional Music Ensemble will perform what co-director Jay Keister identifies as “a combination of folk music and theater music.” While he was trained in Japan in classical Japanese music, his wife and co-director of the ensemble, Mami Itasaka-Keister, was trained in Japanese folk music.  Together they cover a variety of Japanese musical styles.  The 14 CU students in the ensemble will sing and perform on the shamisen, a three-stringed lute; the shinobue, a side-blown flute; Japanese taiko drums; and other drums.

The gamelan is a traditional orchestra common in villages on the islands of Bali and Java. It consists of hanging gongs and instruments that are something like xylophones, with resonant metal chimes for the individual notes. The group is led by a drummer, which in this case will be I Made Lasmawan, a Balinese master musician who lives in Colorado and teaches the gamelan at CU and other schools on the Front Range.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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CU World Music Concert

CU Balinese Gamelan (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

CU Balinese Gamelan (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Japanese Traditional Music Ensemble,
Jay Keister and Mami Itasaka-Keister, directors; and

Balinese Gamelan, I Made Lasmawan, director

2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8
Grusin Music Hall, CU Imig Music Building
Free and open to the public

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