Gamelan: A Perspective in Singapore

I’m intending to do a Documentary about Gamelan, a Javanese Ensemble Music that consists a variety of metal instruments and its role in Singapore. The film will follow the life of a professional Gamelan player who has played in the ensemble for 8 years.
Some of the struggles that can be used are things like her motivation and how she started playing, the taboos behind the music  (Gamelan is pre-Islam, often featured in Hindu and Buddhist Kingdoms before Islam takes over Indonesia as the majority religion. Also, when you go into trance in music, it is considered Haram, etc. ).
Also, it is interesting how youths are starting to get into the music in Singapore and there’s this power struggle between the youths and the veterans. The youths yearn for creative freedom and playing spiritually whereas the vets care about glorifying the community through commissioned performances by the government to fulfill certain “multicultural criteria”. I don’t think people tend to associate this artform with millennials and youths.
Why you should care: You don’t hear about that many things about this type of music thriving in Singapore. I feel that Singapore is a city that’s constantly reinventing itself and I feel that shining light on this one could show off that aspect. One of my friends who’s Singaporean Chinese really dived deep into the music and culture than most people have and I find that it could be interesting to get his perspective (he plays in 3 ensembles).
Access: The friend that I’ve mentioned earlier on has given me the name and contact of the professional Gamelan player who has played for 8 years. So access is not an issue given that there are these contacts.
My perspective: My knowledge of this art form is superficial at most. I’m hoping that as an outsider, I can create an interesting film which educates me and educates whoever that’s watching it as well.

My Thoughts on 52 Percent by Rafal Skalski


Immediately when the film started, I realised that the temperature of the film is cold and it has a very sterile quality. I felt that emotionally, the film was draining due to the dehumanizing of these promising little girls into these live stocks who have to conform to this set of standards in order to become enrolled in this Ballet academy.

On top of those things mentioned by the prof about structuring, threats, drama, reinforcing the drama with little details here and there, one thing that really stuck out for me was the title which used type as image which reminded me, as a design student that a good introduction sequence and title really sets the tone for the film.

At one point , it got to the part where this panel of judges was grading and talking amongst themselves and the sound design became high reverb and it became extremely hollow which in my opinion really worked well for that part.

Will update this with more thoughts if possible…