Monday, March 20, 2017

A culture migration - Kompang Tiga/Jawa in Malaysia

Malay Wedding - Kompang.
Opening ceremony - Kompang.
Event - Kompang.
A culture migration.

Kompang is a framed hand-drum. It has been a part of Malay culture since the 13th century, spread by the Arab merchants through the island of Java in Indonesia. This is ascertain in areas such as Tanjung Karang, Sabak Bernam, Kuala Selangor, Kelang, Banting and Sepang where large population dominating the areas are of strong Javanese descendants. This migration happens as the Javanese faced economic difficulties back in home countries. With this, they brought in their custom and culture of which as assimilate into the local culture and this includes Kompang Jawa, Wayang Kulit Jawa as well as Kuda Kepang Jawa. There are also findings stating that the kompang came from Muslim Indian traders to Tanah Melayu during the height of Melaka sultanate era.

Kompang originated from Persia, and is commonly used to liven up an occasion. One can easily expect to see it being performed for majlis berkhatan (circumcision), khatam Quran, zikir and berzanji. In fact, if one were to visit some kampongs during Maulid Nabi (birthday of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W) or Awal Muharram, there would be a procession by the villagers accompanied by kids singing praises for the Prophet Muhammad via the selawat with the kompang.

Kompang Jawa, also known as Kompang Tiga to some, is played by the local Javanese in Kuala Selangor. There are a few kompang troupes from the respective states that are active and prominent, and some of these ensembles are the Kompang Tujuh or/and Kompang Ribu. These kompang troupes are generally from Johor, Selangor and Perak. Their names denote the size (and the sound) of the ensemble or troupe themselves - Kompang Ribu (Thousands Kompang) refers to the numerous players creating a huge sound, where else Kompang Tiga (Three Kompang) and Kompang Tujuh (Seven Kompang) means there are three and seven players respectively in each troupe. A full scale ensemble in Kompang Ribu consist of the hadrah, rebana, dabus, rodat and kompang. A common troupe that are seen during weddings, consisting only the kompang.

This single-side frame hand-drum - Kompang Tiga or Kompang Jawa - is popular in Kuala Selangor. Originating from the days of Wali Sembilan (Nine Saints) Jawa Tengah who used the musical performance to attract people to the teachings of Islam, it is often played by the sekolah pondok pupils and later expanded all over Selangor. The Kompang Jawa is different from other kompang as its songs and compositions are based on the Kitab Berzanji. It is usually performed during weddings, baby showers, Quran recitals, majlis berkhatans and others.

Why is it called Kompang Tiga?
Kompang Tiga is known as Rebana Ketimpring in Indonesia. It is named such as it is played in 3 sets/players and the kompang comes with 3 tamborine bells. And each musician plays a different note; when combined forms a beautiful symphony. Each player/note has its own name, namely Telon, Banggen and Babon. When these notes come together it forms a harmonious melody. At times, a Kapatan and Penyalalu player/note are added as a filler to round up the melody.

In its country of originin, Rebana Ketimpring is split into 2 types - the Rebana Ngarak and the Rebana Maulid. The Rebana Ngarak is used for weddings processions from the groom's to the bride’s house. It is also said that the younger generation plays Rebana Ketimpring when practicing pantun (a clasical Malay poetic form) and silat (a traditional Malay martial art). The Rebana Maulid functions as an accompaniment when singing praises to our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W (selawat). It has become customary in Betawi now to play and perform these singings in other months aside from Rabiul Awwal. It is also performed at baby showers, majlis aqiqah, berkhatan, akad nikah, weddings and others.

As it is becoming less popular nowadays, one can only see active and enthusiastic participations among the youths in suburban and kampong (rural) areas.

It is a dream of mine to see the kompang make a majestic and festive return to our festivities, its rhythms and beats livening up our lives as we enjoy respite from the real world.

1 comment:

Risalah Husna said...

Kompang Tiga same with Marawis or Rebana in Indonesia. I really like to hear the sound of that.

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