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Woodside Gamelan

Year 4 Gamelan & Shadow Puppetry Performances

4K Wednesday 26th April at 2.00 pm

4R Thursday 27th April at 2.00 pm

4M Friday 28th April at 2.00 pm


You may have noticed some strange-looking instruments  in our studio this year. These are part of a set of Slendro Gamelan, very old but recently acquired. Children at Woodside have already played Javanese Gamelan on a number of occasions; accompanying traditional Indonesian shadow puppetry in performances to parents in school, complete with Indonesian food and at the Junior Music Festival and Thurrock International Cultural Celebration. These were Pelog Gamelan which is played on 6 notes. The Gamelan set we have now are Slendro Gamelan and uses a pentatonic scale of only 5 notes. The music is therefore completely different but equally enchanting. However, the best thing about these particular instruments is that we have them on extended loan rather than just a few weeks and we should be able to give all our children the chance to play them and develop a regular playing ensemble.


This year our Gamelan performances have a different theme with the life of Alfred Russell Wallace. The connection is that Wallace lived in Thurrock but worked at natural scientist particular in Indonesia where Gamelan comes from. There is a line on a the map of Indonesia called "The Wallace Line" which marks the transition between Asian and Australasian animals. Wallace formulated his own theory of evolution independently of Darwin and the two shared their findings. Darwin published his Origin of Species in response to this and is the better known. Russel had his concrete house, "The Dell", built in Grays when he was expecting to become director of a museum of Natural History in London financing the building of it from sales of specimens he had collected.


Each year 4 class are presenting their own version of Wallace's story with Indonesian style shadow puppets and accompanied by the Gamelan percussion orchestra known as "The Venerable Enchanter".  Authentic Indonesian snacks will be served as is traditional and the audience sit wherever they like in front or behind  the shadow screen.