KUALA TERENGGANU: Once, it was a form of entertainment reserved for royalty in the palaces of Riau-Lingga, Pahang and Terengganu. For a while, it suffered a slump during the Japanese Occupation.
Today, however, gamelan is seeing a revival in both the music and dance form, and is now being popularised by Warisan Sari – a Terengganu traditional gamelan dance centre in Kampung Tok Jembal, Kuala Nerus.
The man behind Warisan Sari, Tun Ahmad Faisal Tun Abd Razak, said the venue provides space for the public to enjoy the gamelan art form which was once exclusive to royalty and nobles.
“Our focus is to draw the interest of the younger generation, especially schoolchildren who are less exposed to gamelan.
“We also want to hone talents in the arts and preserve a heritage of the Malays,” he said.
At Warisan Sari, the gamelan dance is held every Saturday to entertain fans and the public get to enjoy the traditional art form in a calm and relaxed environment.
Late last year, Warisan Sari started Kumpulan Gamelan Seri Gelam Ratna Kusuma, a dance troupe comprising 20 pupils of SK Tanjung Gelam, Kuala Nerus.
The young dancers appear in traditional Malay, Javanese and Balinese costumes as they sway to the mesmerising music of gamelan.
Their fans include about 30 English teaching assistants from the United States based in Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu.
Alexandra Hunt, 23, who teaches at SMK Jerantut, Pahang, said she loves gamelan.
“It is beautiful and what I like most is seeing everyone in costume and dancing.
“I have never heard of gamelan before, but I think I now want to learn more about it,” Hunt, who is from Indiana, said. — Bernama