Gamelan Merdu Kumala, Live Scoring of “The Adventures of Prince Achmed”

Hirotaka Inuzuka, Director

Matthew Clough-Hunter, Geoff Dent, Katrina Dent, Spencer Hauck, Kayle Khanmohamed, Arev Markarian, Eugene Moon, Steve Saute, Kerri Shak, Julie Simon, Otto Stuparitz 

The valley’s premier Balinese gamelan ensemble, Gamelan Merdu Kumala, will perform a live scoring for the 1926 silent film “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” by Lotte Reiniger. Its newly arranged score incorporates traditional Balinese pieces as well as the original compositions by the ensemble. The film will be accompanied live by a custom seven-tone gamelan, saih pitu alit, as well as by a rare flute ensemble called gamelan gambuh.

Sunday, March 26, 2023, 7 p.m.
Drinkward Recital Hall

A group of 14 musicians sits on a stage outdoors for the camera. They are either next to their instruments or holding them.
Members of Gamelan Merdu Kumala. Photo courtesy of the Gamelan.


The Adventures of Prince Achmed (2022)
arranged by Hirotaka Inuzuka 

Gamelan Merdu Kumala is an American gamelan, a community, and a grassroots organization based in Tujunga, California. Founded in 2014 by the artistic director, Hirotaka Inuzuka, this independent ensemble provides classes, workshops, and performances in order to bring musical fulfillment to individuals and transfigure that energy outward to communities to create greater shared experiences and unity. In April 2022, GMK was invited to Denver, Colorado to participate at Rocky Mountain Balinese Gamelan Festival and performed new and traditional works for gamelan gambuh.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), written and directed by Lotte Reiniger, is the oldest surviving animated feature film. Based on 1001 Arabian Nights, the story follows Prince Achmed on his journey to rescue his sister Dinarsade and Pari Banu, the beautiful ruler of the land of Wak Wak, from the evil sorcerer. The movie’s animation style was inspired by Indonesian shadow theater called Wayang Kulit, in which puppets are lit from behind and silhouetted against a screen.

The current version of the score was arranged by Hirotaka Inuzuka and premiered at the Secret Movie Club in March 2022. Using traditional pieces from the ancient gambuh theater, Hiro re-orchestrated them in order to augment the mood and action of the film. Three types of gamelan are used: 1) gamelan gambuh, led by the meter-long bamboo flutes called suling gambuh, 2) saih pitu alit, a custom seven-tone gamelan made by Hiro, and 3) gamelan mulut/cak, a vocal gamelan.

Visit Safely
The concert series is open to the public. All audience members are required to give health attestation before entering the venue and wear a mask at all times regardless of vaccination status. The Covid-19 guidelines will be updated as new information becomes available.

HMC is deeply grateful for the generous support that created The Ken Stevens ’61 Founding Class Concert Series.

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