Monash University
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Salawek Dulang

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posted on 2017-06-19, 06:12 authored by Kartomi, Margaret J., Kartomi, Hidris
Audio 5.2: Audio Example 2 in Chapter 5 of book: Margaret Kartomi, ‘Musical Journeys in Sumatra’, Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012. In the Minangkabau region of West Sumatra, “salawek dulang” is one of several sitting song-dance genres with an Islamic flavour and with reputed agricultural origins. It is performed by a pair of solo vocalists each of whom holds a round brass tray or “dulang” in his left hand and beats it as accompaniment to their singing. To a certain extent, the rhythms they produce resemble those played on frame drums in other sitting song-dances. The word “salawek” derives from the Arabic “salawat” which means blessings (on the Prophet Muhammad). The vocalists in our recorded example, Bp Madjo Bungsu (leader) and Bp Ho, characteristically alternate or overlap with each other as they perform their improvised or composed texts with the purpose of entertaining and instructing people in religious and moral teachings. Performances of “salawek dulang” may occur during feasts (“kenduri”) held to honour life cycle events (in this case a thanksgiving celebration for the birth of a baby), national or religious holidays, pilgrim journeys to or from Mecca, and government functions. In our performance, recorded in December 1985, the audible intakes of breath during the first half the excerpt enhance the emotional intensity of the singing. Note the change of rhythmic pattern and mood around two minutes into the excerpt. Such changes are a characteristic of the “salawek dulang” genre. Duration: 3 min. 50 sec. Copyright 1985. Margaret J. Kartomi.



Margaret J. Kartomi

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Indonesia – West Sumatra – Sijunjung – Sisawah

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