TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Despite the nation`s rich history of traditional arts and music, much of the archipelago`s ethnic music has been forgotten. Now, youths are striving to revive and preserve their regions` traditional music.
Talago Buni in Padang, West Sumatra, for example, performs ‘world music’ using traditional musical instruments from their region of Minangkabau. Likewise, Osamuethnic, a music group from Central Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, makes use of traditional Sumbanese instruments in their covers of contemporary numbers. The group has also rearranged traditional songs and is now popularizing them through YouTube.
In celebration of National Music Day on March 9, Tempo English reports.
Music from the Earth and Sea
Talago Buni is reinventing Minangkabau music. Some people are dubbing the group’s compositions as ‘Sufi Music from Minang’.
IN December 2017, crowds gathered on the bank of the Batang Arau River in Padang, West Sumatra, to listen to the soothing sounds of what seemed like the puput serunai, a traditional wind instrument. Except the music was actually coming from bamboo flutes called the saluang pauah.
That night, a group of musicians were performing on a street stage under the Siti Nurbaya Bridge, as part of the Padang Indian Ocean Music Festival.
The traditional flute performance was presented by Talago Buni, with its seven members sitting cross-legged. Four male instrumentalists formed a line in front, while the vocalists, two women and one man, sat behind them. All seven were dressed in white, though the women also wore traditional headdress. At the festival’s opening, the group performed a 20-minute reportoire of coastal tunes.
The saluang pauah were purchased from Padang, to create ‘music from the ocean’ in keeping with the festival’s theme. "The saluang pauah has the ability to enter into the harmonic system, in sync with other instruments and vocals," said Edy Utama, Talago Buni’s art director.
To Edy, the saluang pauah is an ensemble tradition that grew along Minangkabau’s coastal area, in the city of Padang. What makes the instrument interesting is that it can render intervals that run in harmony with vocals sung in the local dialect.
At the Padang Indian Ocean Music Festival, the group opened with a lyrical number that held a touch of melancholy and mysticism.