Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Indonesian orchestra finds home in Carlisle

A Carlisle group which plays exotic percussion instruments from Indonesia is to receive £5,000 so it can set up a permanent home in the city and attract new members.

Cumbria gamelan photo

Cumbria Community Gamelan is the only group in Cumbria – and one of only seven in the North West – to receive funding from the BBC Performing Arts Fund through their community music scheme.

Gamelan is a far eastern percussion orchestra made up of gongs, chimes and drums all suspended on ornately carvedwooden frames.

The musicians say the gamelan is “beautiful to look at” and “utterly entrancing to hear”.

The Cumbria Community Gamelan play on a specially commissioned set of bronze instruments known as Dwi Gambira Sari (Essence of the Two Seas), which has been based at Brook Street School in Carlisle since October.

Chris Stones, leader of the Cumbria Community Gamelan and SoundWave co-head of programming, said: “We are over the moon to have received the backing of the BBC Performing Arts Fund, and to be amongst such an impressive list of winners nationally. This will do great things for our group and hopefully raise our profile in the area.”

Since the arrival of the Gamelan in October, players have come from across the county, both young and old, to take their turn in playing the gamelan.

Mike Borgia, of Carlisle, said: “It’s a nice instrument, and it gives you the chance to be part of a group.”

Barbara Bishop, of Wigton, enjoys “getting to play something I’ve heard of but never seen before.” And Kim Burrell, a pupil at Trinity School pupil in Carlisle, said: “It’s an experience and great to do something I’ve never done before.”

The group says the grant will help it become an established part of the cultural life in Carlisle. It will be staging a performance at St Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle on December 14.

A new 10-week beginners course starts at Brook Street School on Monday nights from 6pm to 7.30pm from January 14.

For more information about the courses and the concerts please SoundWave on 01900 61116 or visit


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