I needed special music for my students to walk into the classroom. It was important that they feel energized, but also walk in calmly. My goal was to set the mood with moderate tempo music.
This CD is my absolute favorite.
The style of music is called Degung from the Western Javanese island of Sunda. It includes instruments tuned to the pelog modal scale: saron-metalophone, gambang-xylophone, various drums, gongs and the suling-flute.
The music is created with layer over layer of interconnecting parts. The ensemble playing is hypnotizing and sharp. This recording is also available in the Mp3 format. Listen to samples through the link below.
My personal story: I had the fortune of visiting the island of Bali in the 1990’s. While visiting a city called Ubud, we chanced into a music shop. I asked the cashier for steady, moderate background music. He showed me a cassette of this and I bought it. When I got back to the States I used it for class and eventually made cassette dubs because it was wearing out.
I eventually lost the original cassette but kept my copies as a valued classroom tool. I even used it for sleep music for my young daughter. The only identifying detail I remembered about the CD was that it was called ‘Degung’.
The copied music degraded further and further because I would listen to it almost everyday for years. Reluctantly I thought, let me look and see if I can find a similar CD that has Degung music. I pulled up CD samples online and played them. Some sounded okay but I kept searching. Finally I tried one particular CD. I clicked the first song and magically I heard MY Degung cassette music I had bought over ten years prior.
This is the music.