Balinese performing arts troupe Çudamani will bring music, dance and tradition to W&M

Çudamani is a 21-member music and dance ensemble from Bali that will travel and perform in Williamsburg on September 23. (WYDaily/Courtesy Oscar Smith)

WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary (W&M) will host an internationally acclaimed music and dance ensemble from Bali as part of the College’s Asian Centennial.

Balinese performing arts troupe Çudamani comes to Williamsburg as part of their mid-Atlantic September international tour.

“Çudamani: Gamelan Music and Dance of Bali” will share music, dance and storytelling from Indonesia.

The 21-member ensemble hails from the village of Pengosekan and is known for weaving Balinese dance, music and tradition.

Anne Rasmussen is Professor of Music/Ethnomusicology and Program Director of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES).

As director of the W&M Middle Eastern Music Ensemble for 25 years, her job is to bringing worlds of music to its students and community, welcoming many guest artists to perform in Williamsburg.

“It’s a modern, up-to-date band,” Rasmussen said. “It’s a very virtuosic and visually dazzling genre of music and dance to watch.”

Rasmussen said this event is especially special because she has a connection with Judy Mitoma, producer and tour manager for Çudamani, and professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angelas (UCLA).

Rasmussen and Francis Tanglao-Aguas, professor of drama and Asian American and Pacific Islander studies at W&M, worked with Mitoma when they were students at UCLA.

The arts organization Çudamani also organizes a music and dance retreat in Bali where W&M students have studied abroad.

Rasmussen said Çudamani’s music brings something very unique.

“It’s immediately likeable, it’s fun, it’s dynamic, it’s interesting to watch,” she said. “And you realize there are so many parts of the world that have so many rich artistic and cultural traditions and they are all waiting for our discovery and experience.

Çudamani will be on campus Thursday, September 23 at 9:30 a.m. in Rasmussen’s Worlds of Music class and will give open workshops and presentations from noon to 3 p.m. at Ewell Recital Hall, cultivating in a free public performance at the Williamsburg Regional Library. Theatre, 515 Scotland St., Thursday evenings 7:30-9:30 p.m.

“It’s a very virtuosic and visually dazzling genre of music and dance to watch.” (WYDaily/Courtesy Oscar Smith)

WRL Theater also waived fees for the theater.

Rasmussen said that among the themes of Çudamani’s visit are the effects of the pandemic on traditional arts.

Since we’ve been so separated from the world, the pandemic has really leveled the playing field in some ways in that we’ve all been affected,” she said. “The pandemic has been something we’ve all felt, and we haven’t come out of it yet, and so it’s nice to be able to commune with someone on the other side of the world.

Çudamani’s visit is also part of the College’s series of events celebrating Asia’s centenary, which includes various film screenings and lectures.

Rasmussen said the group will also visit and get to know Colonial Williamsburg on Friday, September 24.

“If it piques people’s curiosity to learn more about music and musicians around the world, and about Indonesia, and if the musicians and dancers are having a good time, then I’ll feel like a mission accomplished,” he said. said Rasmussen.

For more information on Çudamani’s visit to Williamsburg on September 23, go here.

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