The Surakarta Style Art Unit of UGM was triumphant in the International Javanese Gamelan Festival held at the Institute Technology of Bandung (ITB), 11-12 June 2011. In the competition, they became the champion in classical Javanese gamelan music as the Best Traditional Performance after competing with nine other gamelan groups.
At this festival, the UGM team featured two repertoirs, namely Asmarandhana Sekar Laras Rinonce Pelog Pathet Barang in the category of classical Javanese gamelan and Gongso Dewo Gegalungan in the category of contemporary Javanese gamelan. "We won this competition in the category of classical Javanese gamelan music where we performed the repertoire of Asmarandhana Sekar Laras Rinonce Pelog Pathet Barang. The piece was arranged by Joko Suwito, our trainer. While Gongso Dewo Gegalungan that was arranged by Drs. Sukisno, M.Sn. has been unable to win this competition," said Purwa Dani, representing his colleagues at Stana Parahita room UGM on Thursday (16/6).
The victory earned by UGM is not something that is achieved easily. Before setting out to compete, they only have two weeks to practice. "We worked hard to prepare everything within two weeks. It also coincided with the exams," he explained.
Added by the trainer, Joko Suwito, UGM was elected as the champion because the mastery of song, skills, and presentation is far superior compared to the other gamelan ensemble. "According to the jury, the UGM unit deserves to be the winner in the category of classical Javanese gamelan as they know the material well, whether the song, skills, and presentation," he explained.
Regarding to the Asmarandhana Sekar Laras Rinonce Pelog Pathet Barang piece, Joko mentioned that it was the gending tells about someone’s praise to the beauty of flower. The flower is not always interpreted as a real flower, but it can also be interpreted as the people we love," he said.
In the competition, 18 members participated, namely Purwa Dani (vocals), Galih Adhi (bedhug), Tatag Waruju and Anisa Windhitiastuti (demung), Ferdian Wahyu (saron), Lita Sudiati (kenong), and Angga Dwi (kempul). Next, Ratna Pradipta (saron), Sekar Damarjati (pelung), Fragadean (bonang barung), Rizkia (bonang penerus), Nindya Putri (slenthem), Joko Suwito (Siter), and five more members of production team.
The International Javanese Gamelan Festival is organized by the ITB Society of Dance Arts and Javanese Karawitan (PSTK) and followed by nine gamelan arts groups, among others, Gamelan Asmarandhana of Singapore, the Gamelan ensemble from Bandung, Laras Udan Asih from the University of Indonesia, and the gamelan art group of Petronas University of Technology, Malaysia. This competition competes two categories, namely classical Javanese gamelan and contemporary Javanese gamelan. Contemporary Javanese gamelan music category was won by the Laras Udan Asih from the University of Indonesia. Apart from these two categories, Asmarandhana Gamelan from Singapore is selected as the most favorite participant.