How does the enmeshment of a performance tradition within a broader matrix of societal concerns operate in an era of rapid change? What are the implications of this enmeshment for the viability of a tradition? This essay offers a few thoughts on these questions and on the subject of change in general, using the gong tradition of the Uma' Jalan subgroup of the Kenyan people of East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) as a case in point. As cogently stated in the introductory comments to Judith Becker's 1988 article, “Earth, Fire, Sakti, and the Javanese Gamelan”: “Outside of ritual, instruments nearly always have associations of class, of hierarchy, thus reinforcing the rankings of men and women within a society. Everywhere, musical instruments are embedded within the systems of thought that organize and give coherence to a particular world view” (Becker 1988: 385). Becker subsequently illustrated this phenomenon through an analysis of the making and the maker of the Javanese gamelan. The analysis I present here is in the same vein as Becker's in that it also concerns Indonesia, gongs, and the significance of sound instruments and instrumental expression beyond the performance event itself. However, in contrast to Becker's piece, I examine a gong tradition that has been cultivated by a different people in quite a different environment, and I use this tradition specifically to address the issue of musical change.