The Composition of a Dikir Barat Group

The basic elements of a Dikir Barat Group are the two frontmen, the Juara and the Tukang Karut. A Dikir Barat group can be of any size.

 

In Singapore, during competitions, the standard size of a group will be the two frontmen, fourteen awok-awoks and four percussion players.

 

The Juara is the singer of the group and he will usually open the performance of his or her group followed by the Tukang Karut. Unlike the Juara, the Tukang Karut will be interacting with the audience with his or her wit. The more engaging a Tukang Karut is the more effective he or she is as a performer. The Juara would be one with the melodious voice.

 

The awok-awoks are basically the chorus. They will sing and do dance moves, while sitting down in tune with the songs being sung by the two frontmen.

 

The percussion includes an ibu rebana, an anak rebana, a maracas, a trambouline, gong and canang. The ibu rebana, “ibu” meaning mother, is the main and most important percussion. The anak rebana, “anak” meaning child, supports the ibu rebana and is significantly smaller in size and has a higher pitch to it. Gong and canang set the tempo. Canang is a small traditional malay gong that is set on the floor. It is often played in unison with the gong by one player. Maracas and trambouline are usually used for extra effects to the music. Trambouline is usually played by one of the frontmen when the other is singing.

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