Zapin Dancing and Gambus Music in the Viceroy’s Court at Penyengat

Martiara, Rina (2019) Zapin Dancing and Gambus Music in the Viceroy’s Court at Penyengat. In: Performing the Arts of Indonesia: Malay Identity and Politics in the Music, Dance and Thaetre of the Riau Islands. NIAS Press, Denmark. ISBN 978-87-7694-259-5

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The tripartite structure of zapin Penyengat,together with its low-pitched gambus sounds contra sting with loud marwas drumming, lend it a Middle Eastern character, while its vocal and ensemble style and secular lyrics give it a Malay feel. Some Penyengat-style dance motifs resemble those of zapin Arab, but they are performed in a more relaxed Malay style. Moreover, mixed-gender and all female dance performances are perfectly acceptable. Zap in Penyengat is a fine example of the kacukan tendency - the historical propensity of the Malay people to combine facets of their culture with those of another people with whom they have been in long-term contact, in a process of creative transform ation or transculturation. The different Arab and Malay styles of zapin and gam bus ensemble performance evolved separately over the centuries in communiti es of Arab and Malay descent respectively. By 1883 or earlier, a form of zapin Arab had developed in communitie s of Arab descent in Batavia, and by 1887 or earlier a style of zapi n Melay u had evolved outside of Arab com­ munities in the Serdang palace on the east coast of Sumatra. Regional styles of zapin Mel ayu had also developed outside Arab communities, e.g. in and around Siak, Asahan, Deli and Palembang on east-coastal Sumatra; at Sambas, Mempawah, Pontianak etc. in west Kalimantan; in north Maluku; and elsewhere. However, z apin was not introduced on Penyengat until a few years after the sultanate of Riau-Lingga met its demise and colonial power was fully established .Although gambu s music was popular on Penyengat in the nineteenth century, the Wahhabi-influenced literary and religious leaders did not tolerate serenading on the lute, which they thought led to 'loose living'. Yet gambu s skills were passed on to the next generation of the royal family of Penyengat were historically associated) introduced zapin dancing on Penyengat in 1919-1920, local musicians quickly learnt how to accompany the dancing on the gambus, biola and drums. At first, zapin Penyengat was performed only by males, who took relatively long steps, in the zapin lembut (soft) style of Penyengat, and focused on nine basic steps or motifs that were partly different from those in Siak. In the golden years of zapin Penyengat, the 1930s, the style was more vigorous and the steps became shorter, with dancers holding their hands in closed position when facing the front. They also lifted their feet higher off the ground as they stepped forwards, backwards or sideways, and swayed their right arm along with the movements of the body while holding their left arm at waist level. All men and boys were expected to learn zapin and join performances at family celebrations and other social events. Female dancer-teachers of royal descent and artists from tuan said communities appear in the list ofleading zapin Penyeng at proponents compiled in the 1930s. When the colonial Netherlands East Indies regime met its demise in the warring, poverty-stricken 1940s, there was a decline in the fortune_ of zapin, but from the 1950s the tradition began to be revived. Under the New Order military regents it declined again, but was revitalised bv male, female and mixed performing groups under civilian regents, from the mid-1980s . Meanwhile the <lance's rhythmic movement s (ragam zapin) began to be standardised. The dance was taught widely in juni o:­ and senior high schools and performing art studios, using materials provided mainly by female and male royal descendants of the forme:­ palaces in Siak and Penyengat. After the province achieved autonomy in 2004, zapin activity in­ creased, and from 2012 the dance was taught in most junior and senio; high schools and art studios. New dances based on traditional zap 1 • were developed, and mass zap in dances were choreographed for schoo and studio groups to perform on great occasions. Increasing numbe of performing groups performed in annual festivals and competition• and when cultural delegations were asked to perform at public or priva­ events or festivals, a zap in performance was considered mandatory. Th:: great majority of high school children now learn to perform the dance thus assuring it of a significant future as one of the most potent cultur"­ identity symbols of the Riau Archipelago.

Item Type: Book Section
Martiara, Rinanidn0036609
Uncontrolled Keywords: Seni pertunjukan, seni tari
Subjects: Tari > Pengkajian Tari
Divisions: Fakultas Seni Pertunjukan > Jurusan Tari > Seni Tari (Pengkajian)
Depositing User: agus tiawan AT
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2021 07:20
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2021 07:20

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