A couple of weeks ago, I experienced a new milestone, or sorts, but let me give you a little background.
As an undergraduate at The Colorado College, I completed a degree in English with a minor in ethnomusicology. I spent part of studies in Bali, Indonesia studying Balinese gamelan. After completing my degree in 1993, I spent several years playing in a Balinese gamelan — an ankglung — in Denver, with a group called Tunas Mekar.
For a number of reasons, both simple and complex, I quit this group in 1996 when I left for Boston to pursue a degree in photography at the Massachusetts College of Art. My time in Bali was incredibly formative, perhaps one of the most profound periods of my life. My study of gamelan was an essential part of my early education in the arts. When I left Tunas Mekar and went to study photography, I abandoned gamelan all together.
This fall, I started again. I started playing with a Javanese gamelan at Cornell University. For the first time in twelve years, just about two weeks ago I was part of a gamelan performance again. It’s hard to explain what this means to me, but suffice it to say it was a powerful experience. It’s quite moving to know that this music is still apart of me, and that I can rediscover this cause and interest of mine that once seemed lost. Old passions can be new again.