Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tok Abu Bakar , Wayang Kulit and Serunai....

Gendang Silat
I'm not sure whether it is because the 'Barokah' of this month, or just because I spend all my time in my apartment during the whole day that keep me writing. I was just checking to my Serunai. Serunai is a traditional flute used during the Pencak Silat performance, Wayang Kulit (Puppet shadow show), Main Puteri (Healing Dance Ritual), Mak Yong (Traditional Malay Theather) and others. There is a difference between the Serunai Silat and the Serunai Wayang, which the second one is shorter than the first. The songs are differents too.

My late grandfather, Tok Bakar, was a well known Wayang Kulit sculpturer in Pasir Puteh. Grown as like other villagers, by earning living from village works like planting the Tembakau (tobacco) and Padi (paddy), he also like every villagers practices three most common martial art in Pasir Puteh (and in Kelantan): Silat Tari (silat jatuh/ grappling and locks), Silat Tongkat (Silat with staff) and Tomoi (muay thai, Moslem version).

Wayang Kulit

Most of his "puppets" were gone, taken and sold by we-don't-know-who. My father however at that time was not interested to keep any of Tok Bakars' works, since he was the only one who had a higher education and became a school teacher. However, I am really happy, as one of my Guru of Silat Tari, Ayah Jak from Pasir Puteh still keeps them: Sri Rama, Sri Dewi, Hanuman Kera Putih, Samad,.....and the most special and mystical character of Pak Dogol. The puppet is so special so it is kept separately by double wrapping it with yellow clothes.

Main Puteri
My father told me that, my late Grandfather used a Kerbau Bala (White spotted buffalo)'s skin which was dead only struck by the lightning to craft a set of his favorite puppets. They were then played by the Dalang, while he played the Serunai during the shows.

The tradition ended in our family. But when I bought my Serunai, and a set of Gendang Ibu, Gendang Anak, Gong and Canang, my mother was yelling, saying "Oh no! Not another Tok Bakar here!". But my father was smiling. Holding the Gendang Ibu, he came to sit with us, my little brother Hafiz playing the Gong, Syafiq the Canang, and me the Gendang Anak, we were amazed to discover that out father knows playing Gendang!!!! He revealed that when he was teenager, he used to learn Silat Tongkat and knew playing Gendang. But he didn't talk anything about this before because no one in my family like Silat as much as I do, even though my brothers and sisters all learned Gayong.

Dikir Barat performance

I'm still learning Serunai. You need two things: Nafas (the breath) and Lagu (the songs). I trained first by blowing the air using a straw in a glass of water, and keep the bubbles come out, non stop. It is hard to train here in France where every time I play the neighbors will leave a complaint message in front of my door next in the morning, and in some case they hit their wall (neighbor at the side) and ceiling (neighbor downstairs) wishing that I understand their "Morse code" : Shut your ******* up!!!. No chance to be a Serunai master here in France. Must go back to train more at Kelantan. heehehehe.

Salam to Ayah Jak and his son, the talented young flute master, Shahril.

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