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A unique new orchestra to launch Mental Health Week

October 11th, 2016 3:02 PM

By Southern Star Team

The instruments in the new ‘orchestra'. (Photo: Tomasz Madajczak)

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A NEW and rather special musical group is ready to unleash the uniquely hypnotic sounds of the Javanese gamelan on the people of West Cork. 

The gamelan is a spectacular set of tuned bronze percussion instruments played by an ensemble of up to 20 musicians. And the West Cork Gamelan Orchestra is about to launch this music from the island of Java in Indonesia at a special event to mark Mental Health Week and the West Cork Feelgood Festival. 

‘The gamelan is a central part of traditional Javanese culture and is used in community music settings all across the globe due to its accessibility and simplicity,’ Kevin O’Shanahan, clinic nurse specialist in mental health and the arts, told The Southern Star.  

A set of these instruments has recently arrived in Skibbereen and will be launched in public on Monday October 10th at 7pm.

 ‘There will be a performance by members of the UCC gamelan ensemble, who have been playing gamelan as part of UCC’s music degree since it was introduced in 1995.  They will be joined on the night by the Bantry Community Choir who will sing some traditional Javanese songs, as well as newly-composed music for the gamelan,’ Kevin continued. 

There will also be a chance for all those who want to try out these unique instruments.  ‘This is a highly collaborative and easy to perform style of music and to prove it there will be a quick workshop after the concert for those who want to get their hands on the instruments.

‘A weekly rehearsal will then take place from Wednesday October 19th and all are encouraged to become members of this new ensemble,’ added Kevin. 

Anyone who would like to get involved with the West Cork Gamelan Orchestra should contact Kevin for more information at [email protected] 

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