Traditional wayang kulit performances

Kanda Buwana has performed as solo puppeteer with gamelan ensembles in England, Scotland, Germany, the US, Canada, Malaysia and Indonesia. He is proficient in both the Solo-style and Cirebon-style traditions of wayang, and has also performed non-traditional plays with non-traditional musical accompaniment.

Among the venues where Kanda Buwana has performed traditional wayang kulit are: Kraton Kacirebonan (Cirebon, Indonesia), Sono Budoyo Museum (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), The British Library (London, UK), the British Museum (London, UK), Cambridge University’s Festival of Ideas (Cambridge, UK), Harvard University’s Arts First Festival (Cambridge, MA, USA), Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Astana Gunung Jati royal graveyard complex (Cirebon, Indonesia), Seventh National Wayang Festival at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Jakarta, Indonesia), Planet Gamelan Festival (Vermont, USA), Sriwedari Wayang Wong Theatre (Surakarta, Indonesia), Wening Galih Studio (Cirebon, West Java), Gong! The Gamelan Festival (Vancouver, Canada) and Puppet and Animation Festival (Glasgow, UK).

Kresna Denawa, with the Southbank Gamelan Players at the Royal Northern College of Music, 2009

Performances range between 45 minutes and 8 hours, and can be in English, Indonesian or Javanese – and sometimes a mix of the three, depending on audience needs and requirements. The typical length of a performance outside of Indonesia is three hours, without intermission.

Scene fron ‘Anoman, the Envoy’ performed with Gamelan Madu Sari at Gong! The Gamelan Festival (Vancouver, Canada, 2011)

Kanda Buwana has performed sacred ritual dramas and also created new plays based on traditional motifs and texts. The following lists wayang kulit plays enacted as solo puppeteer, along with years of their first performances:

Petruk Becomes King (1989), Tripama (1990), Kresna Gugah/The Awakening of Kresna (1990),  Alap-Alapan Sukeksi/Vying for Sukeksi  (1991), Wiratha Parwa (1991), Mapag Sri (1995), Sis (1995), Budhug Basu (1995), Arjuna Sasrabau (1995), Solomon: The Loss of the Ring (1996), Nuh (1997), Werdiningsih (1997), Bumiloka (1997), Watu Gunung (1997), Kresna Malang Dewa (1997), Nurcahya Langlang Buwana (1999), Kresna Denawa/The Conquest of Dwarawati (1999), Barikan (1999), Srikandi Dadi Lanang (1999), Ramayana (2002), Banguning Adam (2004), Palguna (2006), The Fall of Alengka (2008), Sinta Colong/The Abduction of Sinta (2008), The Birth of Rahwana (2008), Anoman the Envoy (2011), Lokananta: The Gamelan of the Gods (2012) and Arjuna’s Meditation (2015), The Birth of Kangsa (2015) and Kangsa’s Cockfight (2016).

While he performs most frequently in the UK with the Southbank Gamelan Players, Gamelan Naga Mas and Gamelan Puloganti, Kanda Buwana is prepared to perform with gamelan groups anywhere in the world.