Profile and History

Singa Nglaras means “relaxing lion” (the word “nglaras” means both to “relax” and “to harmonize, tune”). Formed in January 2004, the ensemble is managed by Dr Jan Mrázek of the Department of Southeast Asian Studies. Members of the ensemble are mainly NUS students, alumni, and faculty members, together with many non-NUS members of the public.

The Ensemble’s primary motivation is the relaxed enjoyment and appreciation of gamelan music. While we take relaxing seriously, we also believe we can enjoy gamelan music more, appreciate it better, and ultimately enjoy ourselves better, if we penetrate into the more advanced aspects of gamelan music and play more complex musical compositions.

The Ensemble plays and rehearses on one of the largest sets of Javanese Gamelan in Singapore, Kyai Tunjung Laras. This set is housed and maintained by the Department of Southeast Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and is also used for teaching university modules that feature practical lessons in Gamelan as well as other workshops for the public.

The Ensemble holds an annual Evening of South-East Asian Music at the National University of Singapore. Besides instrumental gamelan music, we also accompany traditional dance and wayang kulit (shadow puppet theatre) and have worked together with many Indonesian artistes, notably Ki Purbo Asmoro (2006), Didik Nini Thowok (2009) and Guntur Mataram Dance Company (2013 and 2014).

If you are interested in joining our ensemble, please contact us. No musical experience is necessary.