Brunei - performing arts

Malay culture is a root of Brunei, so some performances and musical instruments are shared with Indonesia and Malaysia (ดลยา เทียนทอง, 2557:32). In general, Bruneian culture is largely involved with joyful dancing and music, but it is not clear whether these can be deemed as part of Bruneian culture. Some argue that music, songs and dancing are only a subset of culture base while some view that Brunei culture mostly disagrees with Islamic doctrines such as dancing, musical instruments, ceremonies, beliefs, traditions, etc. (ดลมนรรจ์ บากา และ ชัยวัฒน์ มีสันฐาน , 2557:79). However, it is undeniable that performances and musical instruments represent the culture shared by the whole nation.

The most popular folk performance in Brunei is Adai-Adai, a folk dancing featuring Malay songs originated from the fishermen in the past when they were helping each other trawling fishing nets. Now it is the dancing featuring Malay songs and reciting Malay-styled verses. The main musical instruments are drum and violin (ดลยา เทียนทอง, 2557:32). The performers joining in the Adai-Adai are both male and female wearing fisherman costumes. The male performers wear folk costumes while the female performers wear Baju Kurong costumes, a long-sleeve shirt and sarong, covering their heads with folk shawls (The Daily Brunei Resources, 2014).

Aduk-Aduk is also popular. It is a dancing featuring Kedayan’s folk songs to celebrate their holidays or the end of harvest. Performers hold coconut shells and the main instrument is drum (ดลยา เทียนทอง, 2557:32).

Most the musical instruments like Gulintang come from Malay people. Such musical instruments made from metal resembling a gong characteristic feature 5 pieces of musical instruments: Gulintang, Canang, Tawak-Tawak, Gong and Gandang Labik. Those are usually played in ceremonies especially Bruneian wedding ceremonies (Musical instruments of Gulingtangan, 2014). Gambus is a guitar-like musical instrument but shorter, and has 12 strings played with a pick. Gendangis a two-faced drum played for entertainment. Some musical instruments are inspired by Chinese instruments. Tawak-Tawak is a brass gong engraved with a dragon or sea creature on the front. Its edges are thinker than a Thai and Myanmar gong engraved with a crocodile of fish (ดลยา เทียนทอง, 2557:32).

These folk performances and musical instruments are often seen in many occasions. It is worth noting that Bruneian performances and musical instruments are similar to Indonesian and Malaysian especially the Gulintang that shares a vivid characteristic of Southeast Asian region. The rhythm might be different, but the identity is almost the same.



    ดลมนรรจ์ บากา และ ชัยวัฒน์ มีสันฐาน . (2557). ประวัติศาสตร์บรูไน. กรุงเทพมหานคร: มูลนิธิโครงการตำราสังคมศาสตร์และมนุษยศาสตร์.

    ดลยา เทียนทอง. (2557). บรูไน. กรุงเทพมหานคร: นานมีบุ๊คส์พับลิเคชั่นส์.

    Musical instruments of Gulingtangan. (19 February 2014). เรียกใช้เมื่อ 17 June 2016 จาก Brunei's Traditional Musical Intrusment:

    The Daily Brunei Resources. (17 December 2014). Brunei Traditional Dance: Adai-Adai. เรียกใช้เมื่อ 15 June 2016 จาก The Daily Brunei Resources: