Monash University
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Lagu Pulau Pinang

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posted on 2017-06-23, 01:31 authored by Kartomi, Margaret J.
Audio 10.1: Audio Example 1 in Chapter 10 of book: Margaret Kartomi, ‘Musical Journeys in Sumatra’, Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012. “Kapri” is a genre of Portuguese-influenced Malay song and dance, performed along the northwest coast of North Sumatra. In this genre, a male or female solo singer of poetry in Malay quatrains (“pantun”) is accompanied by a violin (“biola”) and a pair of frame drums (“gandang”). One example of “Kapri” music is “Lagu Pulau Pinang” (Penang Island song) which often accompanies the umbrella dance in which a man holds an umbrella over a woman as a symbol of his protection of her as they dance together. In our excerpt, “Lagu Pulau Pinang” is sung by male singer Bp Badul Nifa and accompanied on violin (“biola”) by Bp Rizal who performs an independent melodic line with implied harmonic colour, while Bp Abdullah and Bp Beni provide a Malay-style rhythmic pattern and cyclic 16-beat structure on the frame drums. The lyrics refer to the departure of a husband who made a voyage to the British colonial offshore port of Penang in northwest Malaya and on his return nine months later was delighted to find that his wife had just given birth to his daughter. Duration: 2 min. 03 sec. Copyright 1972. Margaret J. Kartomi.



Margaret J. Kartomi

Geographic location

Indonesia – North Sumatra – Pasisir Barat – Tapanuli Tengah – Sibolga – Desa Aek Habil

Collection date


Collection Type

Sound Recording