Singa Nglaras Gamelan Ensemble

February 1, 2013

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 NUS Department of Southeast Asian Studies. The ensemble is made up of NUS students, alumni, and faculty, together with many non-NUS members of the public.

Our weekly rehearsal is open to anyone keen to learn and enjoy this seriously relaxing music. Currently, it is on Tuesday, 7.00-9.30pm at the NUS Gamelan RoomPlease see this post for an FAQ and more details.

If you are using a laptop/desktop, please follow the links on the right for more information. On a mobile device, select “Profile and History” from the drop down menu, and scroll to the bottom to see it.

You can also send us a message using the contact form .


Digital Gamelan Lecture Series from Nusantara Arts

April 18, 2020
Passing on a message from Nusantara Arts (Buffalo, US), who are organising a series of Zoom-based lectures by various experts of Javanese gamelan based in America. It is free to join, and donations are welcome – these will go towards supporting musicians in Java who are affected by the current pandemic.

Do note that 7.30pm EDT is 7.30am the following day, Singapore time.
For security reasons, I have taken out the zoom links from their message. If you are interested, please contact Nusantara Arts, or you can message us via the contact form.


A new Digital Gamelan Lecture Series from Nusantara Arts.
Feel free to share widely.
Every Sunday & Wednesday Nusantara Arts is inviting gamelan masters to join us for guest lectures on various topics related to Javanese gamelan music making and Indonesian culture. These lectures are designed to be enjoyed by anyone in the world with an interest in gamelan, to deepen appreciation, learn more about the culture and practice of gamelan.

We are doing this as a way for the gamelan community to connect, learn, and continue our appreciation during this covid crisis. Anyone is welcome. We will be taking donations during the lecture to give to Indonesian musicians on Java who are currently facing serous economic hardships due to COVID, suggested donation $10 to be made through nusantaraarts.com

Full schedule below. If you can’t pay $10 feel free to join anyhow and enjoy.

*Every Sunday and Wednesday 7:30pm EST: Nusantara Arts Gamelan Masters Guest Lecture Series.*

Update: These lectures WILL be recorded and uploaded to Nusantara Arts youtube page. So if you can’t attend live you will still be able to see them. Also we are in the process of adding a few more lectures, so stay tuned!

Full Schedule

Sun 4/19 – Midiyanto – “Rasa: Javanese Gamelan in Cultural Context” 
Famed puppet master and UC Berkeley Professor Midiyanto will be lecturing on the
topis of “Rasa” one of the beautiful esoteric concepts of Javanese Gamelan.
Wed 4/22 – Phil Acimovic – What exactly is Palaran?
Rarely attempted in American gamelan performances, Phil will discuss this exciting and beautiful form that is a regular part of Solonese klenengan.
Sun 4/26 – Peter Ludwig -“A talk about gamelan makers in Solo, Central
Java “
Peter is a Fellow at Yale’s Tropic Resource Institute and will
speaking on his Thesis: Technology and Tradition in Java: Natural Resource
Access and Innovation in the Gamelan Instrument Industry
Wed 4/29 – “Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey” 
We will have an online viewing party and discussion on Episodes 3&4 of Lorne and Lawrence Blairs Indonesia Travelogue films (Episode 3 includes Krakatoa, Dieng, Surakarta and more) Discussion led by Matt Dunning Executive Director of Nusantara Arts.
Sun 5/3 – Sumarsam – “The History of Gamelan”*
Professor Sumarsam from Wesleyan University will give us the history and context of gamelan throughout the ages leading to a video about one of gamelans unique
artforms called “Gift of the Wali: The Gamelan Sekaten in Central Java”followed
by a discussion.
Wed 5/6 – Alex Yoffe – “The Construction of a Gamelan Suite”
Alex from Friends of the Gamelan in Chicago will be discussing the various theories and possibilities when constructing gamelan suites out of multiple
Sun 5/10 – Phil Acimovic – “Gender”

Phil is an extremely accomplished gender player and will be breaking down the role and theory of this integral and beautiful gamelan instrument

Wed 5/13 – “The Act of Killing Directors Cut”

online viewing party and discussion – One of the most important documentary films ever made about Indonesian History. Discussion led by Matt Dunning Executive Director of Nusantara Arts.

Sun 5/17 – Chris Miller – “Perceptions of rhythm, form, and time in
Senior Lecturer at Cornell, Chris Miller will give a thoughtful presentation on some of the building blocks of gamelan music

Future Unscheduled Speakers:

Jessika Kenney – American Pesindhen and musical virtuoso and CalARTS professor Jessika Kenney will be speaking on a yet to be determined subject!
Jesse Snyder – Gamelan Pacifica

Upcoming Beginner’s Workshop (Jan-Feb 2020)

December 17, 2019

Beginner's Workshop 2020 poster

Pleased to announce a new beginners’ workshop starting on 4 January, and running for eight sessions on Saturday afternoons!

This workshop is open to members of the public (i.e. you don’t have to be from NUS to join), and no prior experience with music or gamelan is needed.

Details below, in case the poster doesn’t display, followed by an FAQ:

Date and Time

Saturdays, 12.30pm – 2.30pm
4 January to 29 February
(except 25 January for Chinese New Year)


NUS Gamelan Room
1 Arts Link, AS2 #02-01, Singapore 117570
(between LT11 and The Coffee Hut)

Fee (all 8 Sessions)
$150 (public) / $80 (students)

Registration and Enquiries

Email SingaNglaras@gmail.com for enquiries and registration


What sort of music will we play?

Just for an idea: here’s some links to videos of our ensemble


And an audio recording of a piece Singa Nglaras performed together with participants of a similar beginner’s workshop

Do I need to prepare anything for the session?

Just yourself, and maybe a notebook. The instruments are low, and we’ll be sitting on the floor, so comfortable pants are recommended to make it easier to move around.

Do I need to know musical notation?

We won’t always use notation – more fun that way – but when we do, it is usually a cipher notation that uses numbers to mark different pitches.

Saturdays aren’t good for me – is there another day?

One possibility is to join our ensemble’s rehearsals on Tuesdays, 7pm. Though we go through more difficult pieces at a faster pace than the beginner’s workshop, we sometimes have beginners joining in too, and the regular members are always happy to help out.

Can I come without registration?

Technically yes, but registering is greatly appreciated 🙂 This helps us ensure that we have enough people to get the course running (at least 8 is preferred), to make sure we’re not oversubscribed (our instruments can serve about 20 people), and to see if we need any additional instructors.

I’m interested to join but I can’t make all eight sessions

Send us an email and we’ll work something out 🙂 Ideally we stick together as much as possible as the more people there are, the more satisfying the music sounds!




Looking back at 2019!

November 10, 2019

2019 was quite a year, filled with lots of collaborations with Javanese musicians, dancers, and puppeteers. In February, we supported NAFA’s wayang workshop with dhalang [shadow puppeteer] Ki Aneng from Yogyakarta (Photos by Heiting Wong):

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In July we had a week of workshops and a final klenengan with guest musicians and instructors Mas Riyadi and Mbak Lestari:

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We accompanying the dancers from the Pakualaman Palace alongside their master musicians as part of Lintas Nusantara 2019 (photos by Haiqal Tahir):

Last but not least, we also were honored to play with Mas Bayu Purnama, accompanying dhalang Ki Catur Benyek Kuncoro wayang at the launch of Wayang and its Doubles, a new book by Dr Jan Mrazek, our ensemble’s founder (photos by Haiqal Tahir):

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Watch our livestream of the event here (admittedly much less sophisticated than the streams you get of wayang in Java!):


Coming up: Lintas Nusantara 2017

October 6, 2017

Once again, we’re working together with Guntur Mataram Dance Company to accompany their Yogyanese dances at Lintas Nusantara! This year, it’s Beksan Lawung and Sekar Pudyastiuti.

MCF Lintas

Besides the ever familiar zapin traditional dance genre as well as courtly dances from Yogyakarta, this year’s Lintas Nusantara will present the pride of Bugis performance arts – rarely witnessed out of Indonesia, brought to the audience by maestros from Sulawesi.

Performance Details:

Venue: Malay Heritage Centre

Date: 14 October (Saturday) and 15 October (Sunday)

Time: 8.30pm

For full details of this and other events at the MHC, you can visit [their facebook page].


(Almost all of) 2017 at a glance

October 5, 2017

Turns out we’ve done quite a bit this year – so much so that with real life still lapping at our ankles, there’s been no time to write about it, until now 🙂

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Playing for the weddings for our members is the best kind of engagement 🙂 Here’s a short clip of us playing for Mas Mokhtar’s daughter.


2017: We’re still alive!

August 30, 2017

A short note to apologise for the lack of updates (real life, alas) and to let people know that our ensemble is still alive and playing away. Do check out our recently updated rehearsal schedule: we’re back to the classic Wednesday evenings, as well as an additional Tuesday evening for more gamelan goodness 😀

Feel free to use the contact form to get in touch!


Closing 2016

November 18, 2016

Grateful for a busy year full of exciting collaboratons with both old and new friends! Here’s some highlights from Lintas Nusantara, the Launch of the Contemporary Wayang Archive, and Vinayaka!

Lintas Nusantara (Photo Credits: Haiqal Tahir)

Snapshots of Arjuna Wiwaha, a Yogyakarta style Dance Drama

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Launch of Contemporary Wayang Archive

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Our first time performing alongside Indian muscians and Dancers!

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A big thank you to all musicans, dancers, collaborators, movers and logistics guys, stage and sound crews and our supportive audiences who’ve accompanied us throughout our most hectic performance season ever!


Upcoming Shows in October!

September 28, 2016
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be involved in three exciting productions in collaboration with artistes from Indonesia:

Lintas Publicity 2016.jpg

Lintas Nusantara 
September 30, Friday and October 1, Saturday (8.30 pm on both days)
Malay Heritage Centre
Free, but requires registration at: http://malayheritagecentre.peatix.com/

This performance features dances from different parts of Indonesia, Tari Saman from Aceh, Gending Sri Vijaya from Sumatra, and Arjuna Wiwaha, performed by dancers and musicians from ISI Jogjakarta, in collaboration with Singa Nglaras.

Launch of Contemporary Wayang Archive
7 October at 15:00–17:30
NUS Theatrette LT13
Free admission

WayangHip Hop from Yogyakarta and Singa Nglaras Gamelan Ensemble from NUS will collaborate in a joint performance. The event will also feature talks by NUS professors to launch the Contemporary Wayang Archive – CWA (cwa-web.org). Participants include Jan Mrázek, Sarah Weiss, Farah Wardani, Marianna Lis, Miguel Escobar Varela and Catur Benyek Kuncoro.
For more information, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/1774183482853697/

And also…


October 16, Sunday, 7.30pm
SOTA Drama Theatre
Tickets at $25 and $30 (Available at: http://www.bhaskarsartsacademy.com/2016/05/vinayaka/ )

This is a collaboration between Bhaskar Arts Academy and Jakarta based Sasana Budaya Art Troupe, and features Indian and Javanese dance and music (that’s us!).

See you there!

Ramayana 2016

August 29, 2016

This year, we were fortunate to share the stage with really awesome musicans from Solo, to support a production of the Ramayana incorporating Javanese dance and contemporary shadow puppetry. This was staged as the closing of the Malay Heritage Centre’s Javanese Exhibition, presented in collaboration with the Javanese Association. Big shout out to our collaborators Gamelan Asmaradana and Gamelan Naga Kencana, as well as the tech, staging, and logistical crews that made the production possible.

The video, by Haiqal Tahir and Matin Haiqal is on youtube:

And here are some behind the scenes rehearsal shots, also taken by Haiqal:

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Southeast Asian Night 2016

March 21, 2016

For this year’s Southeast Asian Night, organised by NUS’s Department of Southeast Asian Studies, we featured a variety of bronze and bamboo music from Java, Sunda and Bali. A big thank you to our friends from the wider Singapore gamelan community who helped to make this a success, Mas Tommy and the Southeast Asian Students Society for the lovely photos, and kudos to our participants from the beginner’s workshop who gamely shared the stage with us!

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