Our Gambang set is one of the most recent additions at Mekar Bhuana. It is in the Bebandem, Karangasem style and is the most complete type in Bali with six caruk and four gangsa gambang. The keys on the gangsa gambang are also based on the ancient Bebandem set, only a little heavier at an average of 4.7 kg per key on the gangsa gede – these may be the heaviest keys in Bali at this weight! Instrumentation: gangsa gambang gede x 2, gangsa gambang cenik x 2, caruk pametit, caruk pengenter, caruk pemero, caruk kebot, caruk jeblag and caruk jar. There are only two ensembles in Bali that still use the largest bamboo-keyed instrument called caruk jar: one in East Bali and the other right here at Mekar Bhuana.

Compared with the instrumentation of Gambang ensembles outside of the Karangasem region, not only are there more instruments, but the keys are also bigger, giving it a fuller, more powerful sound – this may be because in East Bali Gambang are often used to accompany rituals at temple ceremonies and associatedances, such as Rejang and Pendet.

The almost extinct ‘Caruk Jar’

Gangsa Gambang Key compared with Gangsa Jongkok Angklung Key

Prana and Semara trying out the instruments

Other Collections

In 2019, we restored and reconstructed a very unusal Angklung set from Lombok we have called ‘Semara Kirang’ because of its tuning, where it has four sweet tones with the lowest one missing.
Purchased in 2012, our first Selonding set is modelled on the Bugbug formation but with additional instruments found in the set from Merajan Selonding in the Besakih Temple complex that dates back to around the 10th century.
The Seven-tone Semara Pagulingan set in New Zealand also partly old but has a higher tuning than our one in Bali. The ensemble is both smaller in instrumentation as well as dimensions of the keys, pots and casings.
Our Six-tone Semara Pagulingan is not yet complete, as we still need to fundraise more to make the ornate wooden casings, the design of which we would like to base on the only other Six-tone Semara Pagulingan orchestra in the world.
In mediaeval Bali (circa 1600-1906) Semara Pagulingan (also known as Semar Pegulingan) was an important part of the Balinese courts.
Five-tone Semar Pegulingan
Our five-tone Semara Pagulingan set is our antique Semara Patangian set with a terompong, ponggang-kempyung, kangsi and grantang added, and the gender rambat removed.
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