Metalworks is a new Western
gamelan. It has eight members - all professional musicians - with backgrounds in jazz,
Latin American, experimental, Baroque, Indian pop and contemporary classical music, but
all united with an interest in gamelan and composition. Most of the group has studied
traditional music in Java or Bali. The group is particularly interested in the more
contemporary styles of gamelan, especially Javanese pop and night club music and popular
Balinese pieces. We also commision new works for gamelan from Western composers such as
Howard Skempton and Michael Parsons. In addition we play works by Michael Nyman, Lou
Harrison and members of the group.
"The eight English musicians making up Metalworks play an inspiring mish-mash of
Indonesian pop, nightclub hits from Sunda, English church bell change-ringing and original
compositions. They positively flaunted their multi-cultural heritage by incorporating
smoochy sax, Latin American percussion, klaxon coach-horns and ethereal vocals into a
stirring performance of this simultaneously sacred and secular music.
In these times of undiscerning admiration of non-Western cultures, it is refreshing to
find a bunch of people who have the integrity (and wit) to reveal their own cultural roots
whilst paying homage to another culture, arguably the only true form of multiculturism.
Gamelan music, particularly that of Bali, has plundered bits of other cultures to which it
has taken a liking, and the music of Metalworks continues in the same tradition."
We have recently begun working with the actor/storyteller Tim Ward Jones combining
Asian folk tales with music.
"A comic delight in his strutting impersonation of a conceited cockerel. A