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York St John's Students join the SambaSunda Quintet


York St John's students with SambaSunda. Photography by Andy Devine

York St John's students with SambaSunda. Photography by Andy Devine

York St John's students with SambaSunda. Photography by Andy Devine

York St John's students with SambaSunda. Photography by Andy Devine
Musicians from the Indonesian SambaSunda Quintet  extending their stay in York to work with a group of BA Hon first year music students from York St John University on Monday 20 February.

The group, who performed at the NCEM on Sunday 19 February at 7.30pm, returned the following day to run a practical workshop to give the students a greater understanding of a different musical style.

SambaSunda brings together a dazzling array of instruments including kacapi (a boat-shaped zither), violin, suling (a bamboo flute) and kendang drums, to create a new kind of Gamelan orchestra. They are known for fusing urban rhythms with the ancient instruments and tones of the Indonesian music. The group on this tour has stripped down to a quintet, revealing the beauty of their instruments and the intricacies of their playing.

Chris Bartram, Senior Lecturer in Music, York St John Univeristy, said that York St John University students had a wonderful time at the workshops. He explained: "As well as being given an explanation of the essentials of the music and instruments, they were able to try out the instruments and music for themselves, and also to have a go at the Sundanese dancing!  I was impressed with how the musicians worked with the students, and it was obvious when I talked to the students afterwards how much they had enjoyed the sessions, and how much they had learned about the Sundanese culture and the music. As a practical, experiential workshop, this was simply invaluable as part of my students' development and education."

This workshop was aimed at first year students studying music take part in a module entitled 'drumming'. The module is an exploration of rhythm and percussion, from its roots at the beginning of human consciousness, via the music of various world musical traditions, through to the development of percussion music in Western classical, contemporary and popular music traditions.

This module supports the development of practical musicianship and understanding of performance, through the medium of percussion and allows students to develop their awareness of rhythm and pulse, skills in working with drums and other percussion instruments and increase their knowledge of a wide range of percussion styles and genres. Opportunities to take part in workshops of this nature are invaluable to the students.