Campus Life
8th May 2018

Reflections on Year 2 Dikir Barat Enrichment Programme

The Year 2s recently learnt how to perform the “Dikir Barat” traditional Malay performance art, as part of DHS’s Conversational Malay programme. Here’s what Jesline Yu Ziting from 18Y2J had to say about her experience:

“On 25th April 2018, my class had a “Dikir Barat” session in the dance studio during our Conversational Malay class.

Firstly, we learnt that Dikir Barat is a form of Malay performing arts. It is a rather new form of performance which was believed to originate from southern Thailand. Despite the fact that it was only founded in the 1980s, it is overwhelmingly popular in Singapore. It involves the Awak-Awak, which makes up the most number of people in the performance. They clap and repeat after the Tok Juara, the lead singer. The Tok Karut, who narrates a story in the form of a song and the percussion ensemble who plays the instruments.

Also, we learnt about the different kinds of percussion instruments, such as the Rebana Ibu and Rebana Awak. Our instructor, Ms Shikin played the Rebana Ibu while my classmates and I learned how to clap as Awak-Awak. We sat on the floor cross-legged and synchronized our claps before moving on to the shouts. While clapping, we had to shout “Hey, hak (x4) heik” and “Eh eh eh eh ah (x2)”. Ms Shikin made sure that we were loud enough to show our enthusiasm just like how it should be in an actual Dikir Barat performance. Thankfully, my classmates were very cooperative and energetic as we did our Tepuk Panjang (clapping and shouting).

Then, we moved on to the singing session. We learnt a malay song by the name of “Wau Bulan”. Ms Shikin acted as the Tok Juara and sang the song in a melodious voice. Then, the Awak-Awak, which my classmates and I played the role of, repeated after her and added some dance movements using our hands and bodies.

After learning these elements of Dikir Barat, we finally did a small performance for our Conversational Malay teacher, using all that we had learnt in the past one hour. We started with the Tepuk Panjang, the song “Wau Bulan” and ended with yet another Tepuk Panjang.

As we exited the dance studio after that fruitful one-hour session of Dikir Barat, I felt a sense of accomplishment having learnt so much about this interesting form of Malay cultural arts.”

Here is the video of Jesline’s classmates performing the Dikir Barat with their teacher!

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