GAUNG Artist Talk with Bilawa Respati and Ariel Orah

Azhari from Soy&Zine talk with Bilawa Respati and Ariel Orah about their upcoming performance “GAUNG” in Ballhaus Naunynstraße.


Before the first note sounds, the room is already filled. Even the gods expect a special sound. We see an instrument and imagine its sound, we desire the first note, the beginning of the concert. We fill the room with our expectations. Expectations of what? The gamelan is at the centre of Bilawa Respati und Ariel Orah’s performance.

It is an instrument of power. The tradition is royal and religious. The Indonesian government uses the gamelan as a messenger on festive, national occasions. Numerous musicians in strict costumes create the powerful vibration of a hierarchical society and a national identity. Bilawa Respati and Ariel Orah have grown up with this tradition. They know about the powerful expectations of this spiritual, political and – from the other side – exoticizing style of play. But their own experiences call for a different play. Can sound sequences be found that elude the hegemonic setting? Can one use the complexity of the gamelan, which disperse the European categories of music, to have self-determined effects? Can the community-creating function of the instrument be utilized for a self-chosen gathering?

Bilawa Respati is trained in playing the gamelan. Ariel Orah’s focus is on electronic music. Their own experience of crossing borders and crossing cultural structures allow them to look for a new way of playing, a new approach to their instruments. They experiment with decolonial vibrations, sample the unheard of, produce self-created loops and work on a self-determined GAUNG.

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Ariel Orah

Ariel Orah

Ariel William Orah is a Berlin-based Indonesian artist who explores themes related to identity, memory, and scarcity. He fancies the durability of homo sapiens and the fragility of the machines. He is working with variety of media, ranging from sonic and other multi-sensory performances, physical and interactive installations, and moving and/or still images. He co-founded an empathy driven artist collective L-KW , Bandung-based progressive rock band “Vincent Vega”, and Indonesian gastronomy initiative SOYDIVISION.BERLIN. Selected works included commissioned installation for Tanz im August Festival Berlin (2016), film-music scoring for “Deeper High”- Germany (2018), CTM Festival Music Maker Hacklab 2020, solo album “Scarcity” (2017) and “WIM” (2018) under alias ravenative.