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Indonesian Troupe Brings Unbroken Tradition To Pakistan

Indonesian Troupe Brings Unbroken Tradition To Pakistan


A fascinating show of traditional Indonesian Music was held at the National Art Gallery Islamabad on June 23, 2012 highlighting glorious historical socio-cultural bonds between Indonesia and Pakistan.

The musical show was a yet another successful collaboration of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and the Pakistan National Council of the Arts and was organized to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Indonesia and Pakistan. The event was attended by the government dignitaries, diplomatic community and representatives from the cross section of the civil society.

The musical show featured performance of an Indonesian troupe from the Tanah Karo district of North Sumatra Province of Indonesia which is home to the centuries old enchanting customs and traditions deeply intertwined with religious beliefs and rituals.

One of special characteristics of the Tanah Karo’s culture is the “Perkolong-kolong”. The “Perkolong-kolong” is the specialized musicians and dancers considered essential part of thanksgiving ceremonies, social gatherings and other festivities.

The Perkolong-kolong is the centuries old unbroken musical tradition and sensation of Tanah Karo that continues to fascinate music lovers. This group of Perkolong-kolong was established about 11 years ago. The group has five members and they are Arnis Ginting the music arranger and keyboardist, Dengki Sembiring the Saruni and Balobat Flute Player, Endy Sitepu was on the “Gendang Indong” a set of mini drums played with small sticks producing beautiful knocking sounds, Agustina Sembiring the female singer and dancer and Mulianta Karo-Karo the male singer and dancer.

An interesting fact about the Saruni the focal musical instrument that featured the show was its age as it was made about 113 years back in 1899 by the grand grand father of Dengki Sembiring who masterly played mystical tunes to enthrall the audience. For 28 generations Dengki Sembiring’s family has remained associated with the profession of making and playing Sarunis and their love and passion for it still as young as ever.

Beside the Saruni and the Gendang Indong and other traditional instruments indispensable for the melodic brilliance of Karo music is the Gong with echoing bang or gong sound that were all set to entertain the ears of the audience.

Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia H.E. Mr. Ishak Latuconsina addressing the audience at the show said that event was organized to celebrate the 65 years of Indonesia-Pakistan Bilateral Relations. He deeply admired audience enthusiastic response, interest and participation, which he said, has always remained a moving force behind Embassy’s continuous efforts to foster the cultural ties between Indonesia and Pakistan.

The Envoy said that Indonesian culture which includes traditional ceremonies, dances, dresses, cuisines, language, handicrafts and wealth of cultural heritage is the pride of our nation, which attract the visitors and tourists from all around the world.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia also talked about the strong momentum of growth in Indonesia-Pakistan relations during the recent years and said that the pragmatic cooperation in various fields, including economic and trade collaboration, investment, education, tourism, culture exchanges, has brought about substantial fruits in the recent years and strengthened the understanding and friendship between our two countries and peoples.

The performance started with the instrumental of “Piso Surit” and the presentation of the Uwisgara (Long headscarf) by the dancers on behalf of the Embassy to honor the guest of honor. The gesture of presentation symbolizes warm welcome and deep respect to the guests and expresses strong desire to strengthen relations and friendship.
The instrumental Piso Surit brings sounds of the birds tweeting at the time of sun rise and sun set. That particular bird is found in the Tanah Karo and its tweeting is signified as a warm welcome to a new and fresh day and a farewell to the day gone by.
The presentation of the Uwisgara was followed by another interesting ritual of casting rice by the dancers. The symbolic gesture is carried out to pray God Almighty for His compassion, favors and blessings.

The tune of the instrumental is somber and gloomy as it also symbolizes the feeling of a person who is lonely and longing to see his or her loved ones.

The captivating sweet melodious song “Lau Bulham” was the next performance while other songs included, Terang Bulan, Mbiring Manggis, Jeeway Jeeway Pakistan and “Dari Sabang Sampai Merauke” that enthralled the audience and drew bring rounds of applause from them. The show also featured Pakistani performances of thrilling Dhammal and evolution medley dance of Taxila Odyssey by Pakistani artist that charged the air with excitements.
Audience praising the initiative of the Indonesian Embassy and PNCA called for more such programs as they bring people of different regions closer and provide an opportunity to learn about their culture and society.

Courtesy by: The Embassy of Indonesia in Islamabad

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