Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ngajat — traditional dance of the Ibans

KUCHING: The ‘ngajat’ dance originated from the Iban community and has been passed down from generation to generation. No one knows when the dance was composed or spread throughout Sarawak, according to Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV).

History says the ngajat was performed around the 16th century.

Iban ngajat tabuh (dance song) is best played using the ‘engkeromong’ – a musical instrument.

The Kayan and Kenyah (another Dayak ethnic groups) play their version of the ngajat dance song using the ‘sape’ as a musical instrument.

The largest indigenous tribe in Sarawak, the Ibans used to be known as Sea Dayaks. They are scattered throughout the state from Lundu to as far as Limbang.

There are also Ibans in Indonesia and other parts of the globe due to work and business commitment as well as further studies.

There are some in Brunei Darussalam and Sabah. In Sabah they are mostly workers in timber and logging camps.

The number of Ibans who live in Kalimantan, Indonesian is believed to be big though no one is sure of the number.

Historically, most of them resided in longhouses which could last for 15 to 20 years. The longhouse has a ‘ruai’ (long corridor) used as a meeting place. It is very common to see, even now, longhouses built near rivers.

The Iban community has rich traditional culture and arts.

Ngajat has gained prominence as it is performed in the country and internationally.

There are several types of ngajat or ‘ajat’ among them ajat bebunuh, ajat hero, master ajat, ajat ngalu temuai, muar ajat regret and ajat trogon.

After the dance gained popularity, performances were not confined to the ruai but held in open spaces or halls for public viewing.

During a ngajat performance, a group of musicians would play musical instruments including the enkeromong’, ‘bendai’ also known as ‘canang’, ‘gong’ or ‘tawak’ and ‘dumbak’ or ‘ketebong’.

In the past, the ngajat was part of a ritual to appease supernatural beings during Gawai celebrations.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Ngajat — traditional dance of the Ibans


Anonymous said...

What is ajat muar ajat regret, ajat trogon and ajat hero?

Anonymous said...

WHat is "ajat hero, master ajat, muar ajat regret and ajat trogon"?