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Moondog for Gamelan

+ Steve Lawson & Corey Mwamba


The output of eccentric street musician Moondog is reimagined as gamelan by renowned Javanese composer Iwan Gunawan and Moondog’s friend Stefan Lakatos.

Featuring instruments built especially for the occasion, this performance takes gamelan out of its traditional context, taking on the experimental compositions of Moondog. Almost Minimalist in its construction, the influential outsider musician’s melodies resonate amid the controlled chaos of gamelan. Leading the ensemble is Gunawan, a contemporary gamelan composer known for combining tradition with the use of electronics, and Lakatos, an old friend of Moondog who performs using a homemade percussion instrument given to him by the composer. 

Few musicians are the source of as much intrigue as Moondog. A blind man from Kansas transplanted to NYC, he dressed as a Viking and chose to live on the streets. His compositions reflect his experiences of hearing his way through the city – motifs borrowed from Jazz, Classical and Native American music unwind over the constant beating of a tom-tom drum, like the thumping of a subway train. Support tonight comes from Steve Lawson & Corey Mwamba.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Kazum and Europalia


a photo of moondog

Listen: Moondog for Gamelan

We speak to Moondog’s old friend Stefan Lakatos and contemporary Javanese composer Iwan Gunawan about their upcoming project, which sees them transform the Viking of Sixth Avenue’s unique music into Gamelan compositions.

 a huge crowd of young people listening to a dj play music somewhere in east london

Listen: Contemporary Music on Spotify

Follow our regularly updated Contemporary Music playlist for a sample of the music you'll hear across our programme. Shuffle recommended. 

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LSO St Luke's