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Know Our Music Gendang Beleq

VOI KNOW OUR MUSIC 08-09-2015 

Lombok is well known among tourists because it has many interesting tourism objetcs as well as art and cultures. One of them is Gendang Beleq. It is a popular performance among the Sasak, the native people of West Nusa Tenggara Province. The name gendang beleq is a Sasak language term, which means "big drum or big gendang as the performance is about a group of musicians playing, dancing and marching with their traditional instruments, centered on two big drum (gendang) players. In the past, Gendang beleq was played to give spirit to soldiers who were going to war. It is because Gendang beleq can produce big and echo sound so that it can arouse the spirit of the soldiers. Today, Gendang Beleg is only played in traditional event such as nyongkolan, namely to accompany a bride accompanied by the people who walk around the village by wearing Lombok traditional clothes. Gendang beleq is also performed as entertainment such as in circumcision party, and begawe beleq (big party). 

Gendang beleq is played in groups. People say, according to the local people, in the past, gendang beleq had epe or guard which needed offerings before playing it. Gendang Beleq is also believed to be able to recover all diseases if played together with gong, flute and heirloom kris that has a mystical value. In a Gendang beleq performance, the drummers carry and play gendang and dance a dramatic and confrontational duet. The drummers play interlocking tune with their large drums.Aside from able to play their instruments, the players must have the agility and stamina to perform the dance and marching with their instrument. Gendang beleq can be performed during life-cycle ceremonies, such as celebration of birth, circumcision, wedding and funeral. It can also be performed in a ceremony to invoke rainfall or in celebrations for national holidays. In Sasak wedding, gendang beleq performance is part of the nyongkolan ceremony, where the family of the groom went in a parade to the bride's house to bring her to the location of the marriage ceremony.  

People who play gendang beleq usually establish cultural communities at village in Lombok with their own characteristic such as sapu’ (headband) and dodot (waistband). Gendang Beleg has different sizes, namely gendang nine (woman) and the smaller one called gendang mame (man). There is also gendang becik or kodeq (small gendang) as complement. The West Nusa Tenggara provincial government held "The Master of Gendang Beleq" competition where gendang beleq players compete to decide the best team. It is held in front of Governor office in Mataram, Lombok. Outside Lombok, the performance is popular among migrant Sasak in other islands of Indonesia, such as in the neighboring Sumbawa Island.

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