Dewa Ketut Alit
Dewa Ketut Alit (or just “Alit” for short) will be organizing the gamelan and dance instruction while in Bali. I have known and worked with Alit for two years through Gamelan Galak Tika at MIT, and he’s a tremendous musician, teacher, and human being. A little biography:
Born to a family of artists in Pengosekan village in Bali, Dewa Ketut Alit was immersed in Balinese gamelan from early childhood. He began performing with village children at age 11, and by age 13 had been recruited to serve as ugal (concertmaster) in his village’s adult group, Tunas Mekar Pengosekan. From 1988-1995 he served as a founding member for the internationally acclaimed Gamelan Semara Ratih of Ubud village, touring Japan in 1993 and Denmark in 1994.
In 1997, seeking to both renew and reinvigorate his tradition Dewa Alit and his brothers founded Gamelan Cudamani. The virtuosity and artistic innovation of the group led to their own US tours in 2005 and 2006, in which Dewa Alit’s compositions were featured. In an effort to extend the tradition to the next generation, he also directed Cudamani’s children group, leading them to the first place in the Gong Kebyar Festival for Children in Bali in May 2000, as well as first place in the National Traditional Music Festival for Children in Jakarta in September of the same year. In 2007, Dewa Alit founded his own gamelan group, Gamelan Salukat, performing on a new set of instruments of Alit’s own tuning and design.
Dewa Ketut Alit is generally acknowledged as the leading composer of his generation in Bali. His 2000 “Geregel” (2000) was influential both in Bali and abroad, and was the subject of a 50 page analysis in the “Perspectives on New Music”. He is regularly invited to teach and compose for gamelan outside Bali, with ongoing residencies at the University of British Columbia, MIT, and Helena College in Perth, Australia.
As a collaborator, Dewa Alit has worked with musicians and dancers from around the world, serving as composer, music director, and performer. These collaborations have included his own works for Balinese and western instruments, as well as compositions for dance companies in Japan and China. He served as gamelan master for Evan Ziporyn’s “A House in Bali” for its premiere at the Bali Arts Festival in Summer 2009 and performances in Berkeley, CA, Boston, and New York City in Fall 2010. An avid lover of jazz, he has also participated in jam sessions with musicians in Denpasar, Tokyo, Boston, and Vancouver.
Click here to hear one of Alit’s compositions: Geregel
Geregel (audio) – 2000 – Original composition by Dewa Ketut Alit, Performed by Gamelan Cudamani, Pengosekan Village, Bali.