Shadow Visitors: A Minnesota Adventure

shadow visitors

Shadow Visitors: A Minnesota Adventure, a collaborative work by Sumunar with Green T Productions, was performed September 4, 5, and 6 at Como Dockside Pavilion, St. Paul. Combining shadow puppetry, live acting, Indonesian dance, and Javanese gamelan accompaniment, it is based on the traditional Indonesian wayang kulit (shadow puppet play) but quickly transitions into a fanciful Minnesota story, with interactions between the Indonesian characters and various noteworthy and/or notorious Minnesotans. The co-directors for the production were Joko Sutrisno (Sumunar) and Kathy Welch (Green T Productions). Green T members formed the cast of actors and puppeteers; Sumunar members served as musicians and dancers.

The intent of Shadow Visitors is to introduce audiences to the Indonesian tradition through a highly entertaining local event (approx. 75 min. in length). It was funded originally by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of the 2014 St. Paul Arts Challenge, with additional funding from the St. Paul Foundation (Asian Pacific Endowment), and other contributions. You are invited to enjoy a condensed version of this production (c. 21 minutes)—let us know what you think at

Gamelan and Dance Workshops: Saturday, July 25, 2015

Interested in Javanese dance or gamelan? Want to learn more?

Gamelan: 12-1 p.m.

continuing classExperience for yourself the excitement and fun of playing Javanese gamelan in this hands-on workshop. Even if you have never played a musical instrument before, by the end of the workshop, you will find yourself playing an ensemble piece with other participants.

Suitable for adults and children age 6 and older. No previous musical experience necessary.
Led by Joko Sutrisno, Sumunar Music Director

Dance: 1-2 p.m.

dance classLearn basic movements of Javanese dance in this participatory workshop. Even if you think you can’t dance, by the end of the workshop you will be able to execute some of the steps of this graceful dance form.

Suitable for adults and children age 6 and older. No previous dance experience necessary.
Led by Tri Sutrisno, Sumunar Dance Director

  • Location: Sumunar Studio in the Ashton Building, 1549 W. University Ave., St. Paul
  • Individual workshops: $10 per person. Take both for $15! All participants must be registered in advance.
  • For more information and to register, contact Sumunar at 651-246-2235 or

Sumunar Family Fun Program at Caponi Art Park in Eagan

Joko, Tri, and Nanda Sutrisno plus a group of gamelan musicians packed gamelan instruments into their cars and once again set off to provide a program–this time for an ample crowd of parents, grandparents, and young children gathered at beautiful Caponi Park on a gorgeous Minnesota summer day. Joko entertained with his puppetry demonstration, Tri taught a simple dance for everyone present to do, and Nanda Sutrisno performed a lovely solo dance for all to enjoy. Kids learned to identify gamelan instruments, count gong beats, and some even tried playing the instruments. Everyone went away happy, including the Sumunar presenters.
caponi jokocaponi tricaponi gamelan

Urban Expedition: Indonesia

On Sunday, March 8, 2015, Sumunar participated in Urban Expedition: Indonesia at the Landmark Center in Downtown St. Paul. This was a collaboration with the Minnesota Indonesia Society (MIS) and PERMIAS (Indonesian Student Association at the University of Minnesota). The program included performances by Sumunar musicians and dancers (both adults and youth groups) and by the collaborating organizations as well as a fashion show, a language lesson, food to purchase, photo presentation of Indonesian geography and contemporary life, and an opportunity for children to create craft items and send postcards.

The event was a great success, and the audience was very appreciative.
Here are some photos from the afternoon.

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Klenengan: Music for Contemplation


The Klenengan performance on January 25, 2015 presented an informal evening of longer, meditative pieces for Javanese gamelan at the Sumunar Studio: 204 Ashton Building, 1549 University Avenue, St. Paul. The audience was immersed in the warm, rich textures of the gamelan while  relaxing from the cold, busy world outside.

The Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble, directed by Joko Sutrisno, played traditional Javanese gendhing in an open and informal house concert. Everyone was welcome. They could come and go as they liked. Many brought a favorite pillow or book. They meditated, napped, knit, read, or just relaxed and envisioned the warm, tropical lands in which this music was invented.
Tea and snacks were served.

Here’s an excerpt from a previous Klenengan :

Happy Holidays!

Hotel Art

Best wishes from Sumunar to all our friends of gamelan music and Indonesian dance. We hope you have a happy and peaceful holiday season. Thanks for your support throughout the past year. Keep tuned ; we have a number of exciting performances and events coming up next year.

Java group

Prince Rama’s Journey a Rousing Success

prince rama 1

In early November, Summunar in collaboration with with Green T productions presented a new production of stories from the Ramayana featuring actors and dancers accompanied by traditional gamelan at the Heart of the Beast Theater at 1500 E. Lake St. in Minneapolis. Enthusiastic audiences enjoyed the presentation, which included physical theater, Indonesian dance, and traditional gamelan music accompaning the entire show.

prince rama 2

Synopsis: The evil Ravana kidnaps the virtuous Princess Sita, inciting an epic war between Ravana’s legion of demons and Prince Rama’s monkey army. In the end, honor and righteousness win out, Ravana is defeated, Rama and Sita are reunited, and peace is restored.

Here’s a short video of highlights:

And here’s a video of the entire 110-minute show:

Sumunar Wins Knight Foundation Grant


NEWS FLASH!! SUMUNAR is a winner of the Knight Foundation St. Paul Arts Challenge!! This grant, plus matching funds from other sources, will support a unique collaboration of Sumunar and Green T Productions in 2015. We will produce a “Minnesota Mini-Wayang,” based on the traditional Indonesian shadow puppet play but with an original Minnesota story, played out by puppets, live actors, dancers, and a gamelan accompaniment. It will be entertainment for all ages, with an emphasis on fun-for those presenting and for those watching. We’ll keep you informed as plans unfold after January 1.

2014 Annual Meeting

2014 meeting 1

Sumunar’s annual membership meeting and picnic was held in Falcon Heights, MN on Sunday afternoon, September 14, 2014. It was a beautiful afternoon, and everyone had a great time. A new Board of Directors was elected, including Daniel Furuta and Aaron Victorin-Vangerud, who represent a valuable new perspective from the performing gamelan group.

2014 meeting 2

The Friends of Sumunar award was presented to Vince Wharton and Anne von Bibra, who were among the charter members of the gamelan and dance ensembles, and who have supported Indonesian music and dance in Minnesota in many crucial ways including serving on the board of directors, hosting meetings in their home, providing financial support, and being leaders over the years.

2014 meeting 3

Laughing Waters

Laughing Waters is a collaboration between Green T Productions and Summunar that was commissioned for the Minneapolis Mosaic show in 2011. Finally, we have audio and video files that match for this performance. The introduction by the MC gives more information about the origons and meaning of the story.