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Nogo Abang Gamelan Ensemble

Gamelan tour video

Nogo Abang means red dragon in Javanese and links the dragons traditionally carved on gamelan instruments with the Welsh dragon.

Gamelan are the bronze percussion ensembles of Java and Bali, consisting of an array of gongs and other metallophones mounted on intricately carved wooden frames and painted with vivid colours.

Prior to the 2020 Corona virus pandemic, Naga Abang was a well-established and much loved feature of musical life at Cardiff University. Its high point was a 3-week field trip to Surakarta, Indonesia in 2018. There the group studied at the Indonesian Institute of Arts and undertook a programme of performances at schools, palaces and theatres to experience the gamelan in the wider context of Indonesian society.

Naga Abang was relaunched in January 2023 with the arrival of a splendid, newly commissioned set of instruments from the city of Surakarta in Indonesia.

Members of Naga Abang learn and perform classical Javanese repertoire alongside a range of popular Javanese genres that are played on gamelan instruments. As well as the bronze percussion instruments which make up the core of the Gamelan there is also a key role for vocalists in more advanced repertoire. Pieces are taught through a combination of learning by ear, memorisation, and notation to build a wide repertoire.

The Naga Abang - Javanese Ensemble is only open to Cardiff University School of Music students. For more information get in touch with Elin Jones at

Ensemble Leader: Pete Smith