Our Gambang set is one of the most recent additions at Mekar Bhuana. It is in the Bebandem, Karangasem style and is the most complete type in Bali with six caruk and four gangsa gambang. The keys on the gangsa gambang are also based on the ancient Bebandem set, only a little heavier at an average of 4.7 kg per key on the gangsa gede – these may be the heaviest keys in Bali at this weight! Instrumentation: gangsa gambang gede x 2, gangsa gambang cenik x 2, caruk pametit, caruk pengenter, caruk pemero, caruk kebot, caruk jeblag and caruk jar. There are only two ensembles in Bali that still use the largest bamboo-keyed instrument called caruk jar: one in East Bali and the other right here at Mekar Bhuana.
Compared with the instrumentation of Gambang ensembles outside of the Karangasem region, not only are there more instruments, but the keys are also bigger, giving it a fuller, more powerful sound – this may be because in East Bali Gambang are often used to accompany rituals at temple ceremonies and associatedances, such as Rejang and Pendet.
The almost extinct ‘Caruk Jar’
Gangsa Gambang Key compared with Gangsa Jongkok Angklung Key
A book of Gambang notation from Bebandem village in front of one of the pairs of gangsa Gambang
Watch a video of the set being played at the blessing on December 3rd 2023: