Artist-in-Residence: I Made Lasmawan
Master Balinese drummer and composer I Made Lasmawan was born in the village of Bangah, in the Baturiti region of the regency of Tabanan, Bali in 1958. Strongly influenced by his family and involved in the arts since childhood, he entered KOKAR (Conservatory for Traditional Performing Arts) in Denpasar, Bali, and graduated in 1977. He continued his studies in 1978 at STSI (Indonesian College of the Arts) in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, and studied traditional Javanese music, receiving his Traditional Indonesian Music degree in 1983.
Pak Lasmawan has since traveled throughout the world, including Belgium, France, England, Singapore, Japan and Mexico. He is a prolific composer who taught Balinese music at STSI from 1983 until 1990, when he was invited to San Diego State University to teach Javanese and Balinese music. Living in Colorado since 1993 as Artist-in-Residence with Gamelan Tunas Mekar, Pak Lasmawan also teaches Balinese gamelan at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado the University of Wyoming in Laramie and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
When in Bali, Pak Lasmawan continues to play a lead role in the development of his home village's musical orchestras, which include a men's gamelan angklung and a children's orchestra.
Pak Made is accompanied in the United States by his wife, Ni Ketut Marni and his sons, Putu Tangkas Adi Mayena, Ade and Aji.
Ni Ketut Marni
Ni Ketut was born in the village of Kebon in the town of Singapadu, district of Gianyar, Bali. Born into a family of traditional dancers and musicians, Ni Ketut has studied Balinese dance from a very young age. She graduated from SMKI, the Traditional School of Performing Arts in Denpasar, Bali with a major in Dance and has performed for TVRI, (Television of the Republic of Indonesia). Ni Ketut first performed with Gamelan Tunas Mekar at the International Bali Arts Festival, Denpasar in 1996. Ni Ketut teaches with her husband Pak Made and resides with him in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
I Putu Tangkas Adi Mayena
Putu, born in Java in 1989, is a graduate of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs with a degree in Visual and Performing Arts. He continues to study Balinses music and dance with his father Pak Lasmawan, and assists in teaching ensembles at UCCS, Colorado College and CU Boulder. Putu has performed with Gamelan Tunas Mekaras both musician and dancerand the gamelan orchestras of UCCS, the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado College, Naropa University, the University of Wyoming and Colorado Springs Community College.
Frankie Anderson is a founding member of Gamelan Tunas Mekar, established as a community orchestra in 1988. She has served as the group’s President in the past and currently as Treasurer and Board of Director. Her first exposure to gamelan was as a student at Colorado Women’s College, where she also studied carillon, marimba and vibraharp. Having traveled to Bali with Tunas Mekar members to study the music of the island, the gamelan combines her love of music with a fascination for Asian/Pacific cultures. Frankie is administrative support to the City of Aurora Business Development Center. She has held that position since 1992 while simultaneously serving as staff to the nonprofit Aurora Asian/Pacific Community Partnership. She is a resource coordinator for the Partnership, connecting people with cultures, and plans the meetings of the Partnership and the many logistics of Partnership activities, including the decade-long Aurora Asian Film Festival and seven years of implementing the Partnership’s Aurora Asian Education Awards Program. For many years, she was President of the Colorado New Music Association, producing an annual music series that included world music concerts. Her interests in the arts and culture keep her active in the community, and her talents in music are also utilized in her local church as pianist and choir director.
Felicia received her Bachelor of Music in 2009 from Lawrence University. Her studies included percussion, education, and conducting, with focuses on classical percussion, West African drum and dance, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian drumming, and Balinese gamelan. She has also participated in the International Body Music Festival and co-founded Lawrence University's first body music ensemble, Beats On My Body, with
Stacey Stoltz (LU '11). She began playing gamelan with Gamelan Cahaya Asri in Appleton, WI, and joined Tunas Mekar in the summer of 2011. Felicia currently teaches world percussion and dance for El Sistema Colorado and runs her own studio, Slap Happy Music Studio in Littleton, CO, where she teaches percussion, piano, and flute.
Merisa has studied Javanese, Balinese and early European music, with occasional stints in anthropology. Merisa studied in Bali in 1995 and is also a member of Catur Eka Santi. Currently, she is in awe of seasonal change and (still) attempting to adjust to the altitude.
Aleanna is a student at New Vista High School in Boulder, Colorado. She grew up with Gamelan Tunas Mekar and traveled with the ensemble to Bali in 1996. Aleanna has also been a student of African marimba at the Kutandara Center in Boulder since 2003, where she studies under composer and musician Randolph McIntosh. She performs in the Shamwari Youth Marimba Ensemble and with Musha Marimba. Aleanna began performing with Tunas Mekar in 2010.
Jon joined the team in 2000 after never having played an instrument in his life. Jon is currently a computer graphic artist with a Denver screenprinter. He spent about ten years in Indonesia working a variety of jobs, ending up teaching English at Dr. Soetomo University in Surabaya, East Java, where he met his wife Meta. Jon and Meta have two amazing, cute little girls named Krystal and Liberty, who hope to dance for the group in coming years.
The fairer half of the Ellison team, Meta is an Indonesian native from Surabaya, East Java. As a child, she learned Javanese gamelan but hadn't even thought of playing again until she and Jon happened upon a Tunas Mekar workshop. Although she originally entered the group as a dancer, she quickly found her love of the music and the 'indonesian-ness' of the players. Meta spends her non-gamelan time caring for her daughters, Krystal and Liberty, and is co-owner of Frangipani store in Denver.
An innovator in the world of digital media distribution, Michael designed, sold, and deployed TouchMedia, one of the nations largest networks of digital media stations. Mr. Fitts has a proven track record as an entrepreneur in the music and technology sectors. His first success was the development of a powerful software application or the cost-effective management and tracking of music promotion campaigns. This application led to his forming INDIEgo Promotions in 1992, which went on to become a nationally recognized provider of marketing and promotions services for independent artists and labels. In 1996 he created the label Synergy Music as a progressive home for Art Lande, Paul McCandless and other internationally renowned jazz artists. Through a series of acquisitions in conjunction with industry veteran Paul Schulman he launched Synergy Distribution (SD) in 2002. Michael has been a member of Tunas Mekar since 1991, performed with the group in Bali in 1996 and has been its President since 2000.
Jill holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Denver. As a drummer, Jill has performed with Larry Coryell, Marvin Stamm, Red Rodney, Bill Watrous and has recorded albums with Lee Konitz, Spike Robinson, Ellyn Rucker, and Brad Terry. She joined Gamelan Tunas Mekar in October 1989 and has since traveled to Bali numerous times to study with traditional teachers. In the Spring of 1993, Jill instructed the gamelan angklung at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She is also a member of "Catur Eka Santi," the Denver-based gender wayang orchestra used to accompany the Balinese shadow puppet play.
Tara is a student at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO where she is a biology major and music minor. She has been studying gamelan with Pak Made Lasmawan since the fall of 2010 and plays in the Colorado College gamelan, Tunjung Sari, in addition to Tunas Mekar. She joined Tunas Mekar in the fall of 2011.
I Putu Tangkas Adi Mayena
Carolyn is a musician, graphic artist, Second Life entrepreneur and Mom living in Boulder, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Music, Piano Performance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she studied classical music with an emphasis on the contemporary, and electronic music composition. She has played in numerous new music ensembles from Massachusetts to California including The Time and Motion Project and Plateau Ensemble. She has taken workshops with Meredith Monk, Art Lande and others. Carolyn has performed with Tunas Mekar since 1992, and is a member of the international Second Life improvisation ensemble Avatar Orchestra Metarverse.
Composer and jazz trumpeter, Greg Simon, holds a B.A. from the University of Puget Sound and an M.M. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is currently on the faculties of the University of Colorado and the Metropolitan State College of Denver. He studied composition with Daniel Kellogg, Carter Pann, Richard Toensing and Robert Hutchinson. He has also studied with Kevin Puts and Robert Aldridge at the Brevard Music Institute. His works have been performed by the Tasman String Quartet of New Zealand, the Playground Ensemble of Denver, the Fifth House Ensemble of Chicago, and groups in Washington, Oregon, West Virginia, Georgia, Michigan, California and Wisconsin. Greg began studying gamelan with Pak Lasmawan at the University of Colorado, and joined Tunas Mekar in the spring of 2010.
Dane lived four of his first five years on a U.S. Army post on a mountain in northern Ethiopia. There he listened to Coptic drumming, American parade music, his father's Stan Getz albums, and his mother's church organ playing: he has resisted categorization ever since. He has played timpani with the Pepperdine University Symphony, drums in the Arizona State Marching Band and rock-n-roll guitar in Antarctica. He is a founding member of Gamelan Tunas Mekar. He currently works as a field engineer for Antarctica Support Associates, and has created much beautiful artwork for the ensemble.
I Made Tangkas Ade Wijaya
Ade currently attends middle school in Colorado Springs. He studies music and dance with his father, Pak Lasmawan, and has performed with Gamelan Tunas Mekar and the gamelan orchestras of Colorado College, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Wyoming.
I Nyoman Tangkas Aji Guyasa
Aji currently attends elementary school in Colorado Springs and studies music and dance with his father, Pak Lasmawan. Aji has performed with Gamelan Tunas Mekar and the gamelan orchestras of Colorado College and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
I Made Sumayasa
Made was born in the small central Balinese village of Batulantang, where he lived his entire life until November, 2002 when he moved to Hawai`i to join his wife. Made has played gamelan all his life and was a leader of his community gamelan group until he moved to the U.S. Made is also an accomplished artist in the traditional Balinese style and despite his village’s isolation from the centers of art in Bali, his work was sought out by gallery owners and collectors throughout Bali. In Bali, Made is known for his unique affinity for the Barong, and, his barong paintings are highly sought out by other Balinese. In Honolulu, Made showed his paintings in the 2004 Artists of Hawaii juried exhibition at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and at the Gallery On The Pali. Made played with Tunas Mekar in 2008-2009 when he lived in Denver with his wife and two small children. At that time, Made also built and hand-painted the Candi Bentar (stage set) now used by Tunas Mekar.
Made says of his art: "I am from the island of Bali located in the Indonesian Archipelago. Art and music are very important to my culture and are used for many ceremonial purposes as well as entertainment. Our primary religion is Hindu-Bali. As Hindus we are a minority in Indonesia, but we are very proud of our culture and religious beliefs. Take a look at some examples of what makes my island so special."