Musicians from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia; with Jody Diamond, voice
This CD is both a tribute to the profound musical influences that Javanese gamelan traditions have had on Jody Diamond (b 1953) as a musician as well as an exploration of their impact on her compositional creativity. What she has done is not so much to create a hybrid tradition, but rather to do the work of translation. The aim of the translator is not to be original, but to make transparent to an outsider what was formerly opaque. The translator approaches his/her job with humility, and must be steeped in the original language. The translator reveres the original, it gives her joy and moves her to the point of wanting to share her joy with others.
Some non-Indonesian composers of gamelan music have been accused of the musical equivalent of colonialism, appropriating a musical style from elsewhere into their own particular style. Diamond, on the contrary, and on this recording in particular, has allowed her native musical tradition to be appropriated by Javanese music. Although the first performances were in the United States, these recordings were made in Java, with Javanese musicians playing all the parts (except for Diamond herself, who is the female singer).
Her "American" pieces are elaborated upon with gusto by Javanese musicians, in Javanese idioms. What does it mean when a translation is returned to its homeland and then elaborated upon in the idiom of the original? This is globalism gone wild in joyful, enthusiastically realized performances of Diamond's pieces by Javanese musicians.