Gamelan musicians performing together at a small church in Northcote in North Melbourne. Photo: supplied.

In November 2023, a unique event occured. Eight gamelan groups – Gamelan DanAnda, Kacapi Suling Melbourne, Mahindra Bali Gamelan, Melbourne Community Gamelan, Mugi Rahayu, Putra Panji Asmara, Talo Balak, Selonding Sapta Nugraha – came together to perform at a small church in Northcote, a suburb in North Melbourne.

The gathering was dedicated to the memory of Pak Poedijono, a master Javanese dhalang (puppeteer), musician, dancer and gamelan teacher. He taught in Australia for over 45 years and sadly passed away on the 30th of January 2021.

In this episode of Talking Indonesia, Tito Ambyo chats with the people who organised this gathering: John Cheong-Holdaway, an Australian gamelan musician; Eka Poedijono, daughter of the late Pak Poedijono; and Jocelyn Tribe, a biracial artist who connected with her Indonesian ancestry later in life.

We spoke about many things, including the difference between gamelan and other types of music, the role of gamelan beyond musical performance, and what it’s like to be a part of the gamelan music scene in a city like Melbourne. We also touched on a range of artists and gamelan groups, like Ria SoemardjoPeni Candra RiniGamelan DanAndaBli Putu SeptaDesak Putu Warti and Sanggar Lestari.

In 2024, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Tito Ambyo from RMIT, Dr Elisabeth Kramer from the University of New South Wales, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University and Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


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