TRADITIONS & Communities

 Photo credit: Mahesan Selladurai

Photo credit: Mahesan Selladurai

Dikir Barat (KELANTAN)

Dikir Barat is a popular Kelantanese performance involving singing, spontaneous verse call and answer and chorus chanting. A dikir barat troupe is made up of a juara or jogho (leader), a tukang karut (improvised verse composer), and the awak-awak (chorus clappers).

A Dikir Barat usually begins with the lyrical melodies of the 'Tok Jogho' that conveys the importance of preserving this tradition through the generations. The 'Tukang Karut' then spontaneously elaborates on the Tok Jogho’s lyrics by improvised rhyming verses, echoed by the group of chorus clappers called the awak-awak. The awak-awak play a crucial role in holding the performance together, characterised by a unity of voices and precise synchronisation of complex rapid hand movements. This symbolises strength in communal harmony. In Kelantan, Dikir Barat is traditionally performed as dikir tewas, a duel between two troupes.

The most iconic Dikir Barat song is the Wau Bulan, composed by the late Seman Mama, better known as ‘Seman Wau Bulan’. The musical accompaniment for a Dikir Barat usually consists of gong, rebana dikir barat (dikir barat frame drum), gendang (double-headed Malay drum), maracas dan tambourine.

KUMPULAN Dikir BarAt
Arjuna Sukma

Kumpulan Dikir Barat Arjunasukma was founded by Mohd Sulhie Yusuf, fondly known as Abe Yie, with a mission to nurture a new generation of Dikir Barat talent. The troupe believes in maintaining the heritage of the Dikir Barat without discouraging creative innovations inspired by its traditional roots. Arjunasukma also strives to establish Dikir Barat as an international art form and encourages academic research on it.

 Photo credit: Mahesan Selladurai

Photo credit: Mahesan Selladurai