Vaughan Hatch established the gamelan side of Mekar Bhuana in 2000 and Putu Evie added the dance side in 2004
While studying classical gamelan in Bali on a Dharmasiswa scholarship in Bali between 1997 and 1999, Vaughan became aware of how negatively mass tourism was affecting traditional performing art forms. Few classical gamelan ensembles had been recorded and many gamelan were either no longer played or had been melted down. In the year 2000, Vaughan chanced upon purchasing and restoring a disused antique Semara Pagulingan gamelan and came up with the concept of Mekar Bhuana, with the aim of doumenting, reconstructing and repatriating endangered classical gamelan and its extensive repertoire. Since he arrived in Bali, he has been researching Semara Pagulingan and other rare ensembles in Bali.
In 2002 he met Putu Evie Suyadnyani a talented Legong dancer and singer who is now his wife, who also shared the vision. Together they combined the music and dance aspects, professionalizing Mekar Bhuana in 2004. As well as running the centre and Mekar Bhuana Sourcing, they enjoy playing Selonding, Anklung and Gender Wayang together with their family group at ceremonies around Bali.
Watch a video about co-founder, Putu Evie Suyadnyani:
and hear Vaughan talk about Balinese gamelan in this mini documentary: