Vital Records is a recording label specializing in the music of Bali, Indonesia. Created in 1996 by Wayne Vitale, Vital Records is devoted to producing the highest quality digital recordings of Balinese gamelan ensembles, in genres ranging from centuries old to contemporary. Each recording project reflects the highest standards of process and product, a result of extended planning and discussion with the musicians. Recording locations are carefully chosen, considering not only significance for the ensemble but also acoustic properties, taking advantage of the sonic qualities of Balinese performance spaces such as temple courtyards and village pavilions.
The extensive documentation included with all Vital Records CDs is based on interviews with the musicians, field research, secondary sources, and decades of experience by Vital Records owner Wayne Vitale. The resulting booklets are informative and easy to read. Together with the recordings, they document one of the world’s most vibrant and rapidly evolving musical traditions.
Wayne Vitale is a composer, educator, and scholar who has long been inspired by the music of Bali, Indonesia. He has studied and collaborated with many of Bali’s greatest musicians, extensively documenting their work, and leading myriad projects bringing them together with diverse artists and audiences. His works for bronze gamelan, spanning a stylistic range from traditional to experimental/multimedia, have been performed by noted gamelan orchestras in Bali, and have directly impacted the evolution of Balinese kebyar music.
He is a founding member and past director (1992 – 2009) of Gamelan Sekar Jaya (gsj.org), an ensemble of sixty musicians and dancers with an unparalleled international reputation for its cross-cultural programs. Vital Records, his recording label, releases high-quality recordings of new and traditional Balinese music. He has also devoted himself to the metallic art of gamelan tuning and restoration, grinding and filing his way throughout the US and Europe to restore Balinese instruments.
He has taught at various West Coast universities, including Portland State University, San Francisco State University, Pomona College, Mills College, and the University of California Santa Cruz; and was Robert M. Trotter Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Oregon. His research and creative work has been supported by grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities, the East Bay Community Foundation, the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Multi Arts Production (MAP) Fund, Meet The Composer, the Creative Work Fund, and the Center for Cultural Innovation.