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West Sumatra
Dance & Music

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Repertoire of Minangkabau Traditional Dance

Welcome Dance

It is a tradition in Minangkabau to welcome honorable guests or to open a traditional event by presenting "Sirih Leaves" in a special container called a "Carano". It symbolizes a request to allow the ceremony to take place and asks a blessing form the guest as the activities begin. It is performed in a special dance called " Tari Pasambahan" or "Welcome Dance".

Welcome Dance Gallery

Manggaro Dance

There is a unique way people in some villages chase away the birds so as to remove their weariness and boredom while in the rice fields. They make various movements and clik pieces of bamboo in their hands, while singing or shouting together. By the way they hope the birds will go away while the farmers are enjoying themselves.

Urak Simpuah Dance

There is a popular proverb in Minangkabau "Duduak bapamenan, tagak baparintang" which means that one should have something to do while sitting or standing. The movements of this dance show several activities done daily women at home. The basic movements are adopted form "Mulo pado" dance, which is a very old dance originating form Luhak Nan Tuo, the ancient name give to the area of Tanah datar regency, which is well known as the center of the old Minangkabau Kingdom.

Tingkah Adok Dance

Adok is kind of percussion instrument like tambourine though is bigger in size. It is commonly used to accompany Minangkabau folk song. In this dance the adok are rhythmically beaten by the dancers to accompany the dynamic movements of the dance.

Plate Dance on Broken Glass

This dance describes how farmers cultivate their wet rice-field or sawah beginning from digging the land, ploughing, planting , harvesting, taking the crop home, until pounding the rice. When the farmers get a successful crop, they will enjoy themselves in a cheerful festivity. Every body has the chance to demonstrate whatever special proficiency he or she has jumping and dancing on the glass fragments symbolically means that men who are honest have to bravely face all risks. Plates in Minangkabau symbolize property and the happiness of a home.

Plate Dance Gallery

Sewah Dance

The movements of this dance are based on the acts and movement of the traditional Minangkabau self-defence which is called "Pencak Silat". The dynamic music and movement of the dance reflects how optimistic and energetic the Minangkabau people are in facting the various challenges of life, especially when they are away from home. The used of Sewah or long knife is used in the dance.

Rambun Pamenan

Rambun Pamenan is an old tale which is popular among Minangkabau people. Rambun Pamenan was a brave and honest young man who had once to fight for a beautiful girl. The girl's ring was stolen by some naughty boys when she and her sisters were playing together. As she could not go back home without her ring, her sisters had left her alone, while the naughty boys still played around her and teased her. Eventually, Rambun Pamenan appears and fight the boys. He wins the fight and gives back the girl's ring.

Pencak Silat

Silat is the term for the arts of self-defence. The Silat of Minangkabau is very original, as all movements seen in nature, in accordance with the philosophy of Minangkabau " Alam Takambang jadi Guru " which means Nature is the Teacher. No movements are taken from other self-defence arts such as Kungfu, Karate,Taekwondo, and so on. Names are given to some movements of Minangkabau silat like " Kuciang Bagaluik " which means Cat Game and "Tangkok Harimau" or tiger catching etc.

Pencak Silat Gallery

More information about Pencak Silat can be found at the website of the International Silat Federation of America, under the leadership of Bapak Waleed.

About Pencak Silat


Indang Dance

Indang or Rebana is the local name for a small tambourine. The use of Indang in the traditional dance of West Sumatra shows that there is an influence of Islamic culture on the original Minangkabau's culture. Islam culture was brought to Minangkabau, West Sumatra by merchants from Arabia and Persia simultaneously with the coming of Islamic teaching to this country in the 14th century. All the dancer commonly become absorbed in their dynamic movements while beating the Indang so as give rhythm to the movements and the song. They sing together along with dance. All the words of the song are usually about the history of the prophet Muhammad or advice according to Islam teaching. Now a days the also give general advice.

Indang Dance Gallery

Umbrella Dance

Bendi is the local name for two wheel horse drawn cart which can take 3 to 4 passengers. This old fashioned vehicle is very popular for short distance transportation on villages as well as in towns. It is a custom for a newly married couple to visit their close relatives or to go to picnic places for the pleasure for e few days the wedding. The use Bendi as the Have to Pass small paths in villages. This dance descry ibes a newly married couple and their companions go to Sunga Tanang a scenic place for a honeymoon, locates on the slopes of mount Merapi near Bukittinggi. The umbrella is a symbol of the protection given by the bridegroom to his new bride.

Umbrella Dance Gallery

Selendang Dance

Selandang is kind of shawl. This dance is usually done by youngsters at a party or feast just for pleasure. Wearing a shawl, and Malay style dress does not mean that the dance is influenced by the Malay culture. It is an original Minangkabau dance for the Minangkabau tribe and it is said to originate from the Malay race. Also the music accompanying the dance resembles Malay music.

Ragam Andalas Dance

This is a combination of various dances from different parts of Sumatra which is also known as Andalas Island. It starts with a traditional dance from Aceh, and then goes to East Sumatra or Deli, Tapanuli, Riau, West Sumatra, Jambi, South Sumatra, and finally ends with dance from Lampung a province at the very tip of South Sumatra. The dance done by boys and girls in pairs is very energetic, and dynamic in nature.

Repertoire of Minangkabau Traditional Music

Musical Instrument Gallery

The Talempong

Is a set of metallophones made of bronze which play the melody line.

The Bansi

Is the Minangkabau traditional recorder. It's made from bamboo

The Sarunai

Is a tiny, yet loud, split reed bamboo instrument of only five tunes

The Saluang

Is a long bamboo instrument which is played by blowing across the top of the instrument and should be played in one long continuous breath. It also five tunes.

The Rabana

Is a one sided drum, and comes in various size

The Indang

Is a small instrument rather like a tambourine


Is the wooden drum

Pupuik Batang Padi

Is the HOBO of Minangkabau traditional music instrument with its reed is made by rice stalk

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