Saturday, 8 December 2012

Kelate Chipmunk

The Malay culture is a rich and romantic one which has interwoven into its fabric, threads of Thai, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, Arabic and even Western cultures due to Malaysia's position along the ancient sea routes of trade.

A personal favorite of mine is an art form called "Dikir Barat" which is widely practice in the state of Kelantan. It is widely believed to have been introduced to Kelantan from adjacent southern Thailand. "Dikir" means a prayer or a ritual while "Barat" means west. Indeed Dikir Barat is a style of singing which is accompanied by an almost ritualistic chanting and southern Thailand lies to the west of Kelantan.

I even joined a club to learn how to sing Dikir Barat when I was in school but alas, that was many years ago and I am no longer able to remember enough to sing it. However, I thought you might like to hear how this art form sounds like.

I have chosen a song called "Anak Tupai" which means, "Young chipmunk". The song is about a young chipmunk with a bushy tail and empty stomach wandering about in search of food and enjoys the fruits from people's orchards. The villager set a trap for it and eventually poison it.  

The song used to satirize human behavior by linking it with the chipmunk which the natural habitat of animals sufficiently reliable in jump while sitting on a tree. It will jump from branch to branch and would just fall to the ground once in a while. Is suitable for the symbolic nature of human behavior, which can sometimes be cocky and arrogant.

It also has similarities with human behavior is often done evil and eventually they will not got away on their actions. This is due, their actions will be inhaled by people in the end even though they try to hide it.

Enjoy the video versions of the song. I should also mention that this is not in the formal Malay language but the colloquial dialect of the Kelantan state.

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