Gamelan Sekar Jaya

A Balinese vacation in your backyard

PREVIEW A Balinese gamelan ensemble is a world within a world, where the very notion of time is freed from the banality of the steadily ticking clock and sent sailing on a twisting river of interlocking rhythms. The many facets of traditional percussion music from Indonesia can be hard to grasp all at once — dainty metal hammers flash as golden-robed performers, seated on the floor, sway back and forth to a hauntingly tuned scale. Suddenly, the tempo quickens, urged on by agitated drum beats, and a dancer shifts from slow graceful movements to frenetic gestures and theatrical facial expressions. Sinuous flute and metal clangs blend into a pulsing, shimmering wall of sound.

It is the Bay Area's great fortune that Gamelan Sekar Jaya, devoted to presenting authentic performances of energetic, elaborate, and sonically enchanting Balinese gamelan music, calls El Cerrito home. For this concert, they'll dust off three distinct sets of pitched metal gongs and marimbalike instruments from Bali, with guest bandleaders Dewa Putu Berata and Gadung Kasturi direct from one of the island's most celebrated gamelan troupes. There's a feast to be had here for gamelan enthusiasts, notably the appearance of Oakland's adventuresome Balinese fusioneers, Gamelan X. And for the uninitiated, it's high time to take that long-awaited vacation to Bali, right in your own backyard.

GAMELAN SEKAR JAYA With Gamelan X, Dewa Putu Berata, and Gadung Kasturi. Sat/5, 8 p.m., $10–$18. Julia Morgan Center, 2640 College, Berk. (925) 798-1000,

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