Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Putatan, a cultural centre in the making

Betitik is the Bajaus’ way of making ceremonial music. Their instruments are brass gongs and barrel drums made from the skin of goats and buffaloes.

From them comes a trance-like music that is a cross between a dull drum thump and a ringing clash of cymbals quite similar to that of a xylophone. It is traditional music to celebrate marriages. But Betitik has become an annual musical festival, one that will take centre stage in Sabah’s Putatan district as a tourism event.

Deputy chief minister Yahya Hussin has claimed Betitik, in its third year, for Putatan. He says that it is its home and not Kota Belud, the heartland of the famed Bajau horsemen. Yahya promises a grander Betitik next year when the celebration will move closer to a tourist hotel and shopping mall.

The Bajaus (about 400,000) are Sabah’s second biggest indigenous people after the Kadazandusuns (560,000) in a 3.2m multi-ethnic population that includes other indigenous people, Malays, ethnic Chinese and Indians.

The festival is marked by a battle of the bands. Fifteen six-member bands took part in a three-day contest that led to the final on September 25.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Putatan, a cultural centre in the making

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