In response to Well and Truly, exhibited in Gallery 2 of the museum, the Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection proposes to celebrate the work of the American artist Roni Horn, on the theme of water, her favourite element. The museum has invited the Indonesian musician Dewa Alit and his Gamelan Salukat ensemble, composed of eighteen musicians, to explore the sounds of water and the legends it contains.
The word gamelan refers to an instrumental ensemble specific to traditional Balinese, Javanese, and Sundanese music. The group is mainly composed of percussion instruments: gongs, cymbals, and xylophones. Dewa Alit and Gamelan Salukat seek to expand the possibilities of this ensemble—through, amongst other things, cre-ating their own instruments—while respecting the tradition and its canonical forms. For this concert at the Auditorium of the Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection, Dewa Alit and Gamelan Sulikat will present several compositions, such as Yeh Ngetel (Dripping Water), a sound metaphor for water. They are inspired both by the traditional calendar, linked to the water cycle—mountain rains, trickling down from rivers to rice fields, before flowing into the ocean, to reach the sky again—and by Balinese myths and tales.
Born to a family of artists in Pengosekan village in Bali, Dewa Ketut Alit was immersed in Balinese gamelan from early childhood. He began performing at age 11, and by age 13 was playing ugal (the leading instrument) in his village’s adult group, Tunas Mekar Pengosekan. From 1988 to 1995 he played in the internationally acclaimed Gamelan Semara Ratih of Ubud village, touring internationally. Seeking a wider path for expressing his approach to new music in gamelan, Dewa Alit founded his own gamelan group in 2007, Gamelan Salukat, performing on a new set of instruments of Alit’s own tuning and design.
The word Salukat is Dewa Alit’s original combination of two words; “salu” and “kat”. “Salu” means house, “kat” signifies regeneration and the cycles of rebirth, combined, they make a place for new creativities based on the tradition. Gamelan Salukat is a set of new gamelan instruments developed by Dewa Alit, reflecting Dewa’s strong root in traditional music as well as his hope to accommodate challenges he faces in creating new music in Bali. While the basic concept remains same, this unique set has gone through a few experimental stages of different tunings since first built in 2007. The members of Gamelan Salukat include some eighteen young musicians from Ubud area. They are not only skilled musicians with and knowledge in traditional gamelan, but are also enthusiastic about being on the very front line in the Balinese gamelan music scene by playing Dewa Alit’s new and challenging music. Their album Genetic, was released in 2020 on the Australian label Black Truffle.