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Is Maluku still musicological 'terra incognita'? An overview of the music-cultures of the province of Maluku.


The province of Maluku, otherwise known as the Moluccas,(1) is divided into three main regions: the predominantly Muslim north, the mainly Christian central area, and the predominantly Christian southeast.(2) The central region contains the "mother island" (nusa ina) of Seram which Maluku people believe to be the original source of Maluku culture. In some relatively isolated parts of this large island the original inhabitants such as the Nuaulu and the Huaulu ethnic groups (known in colonial times as the Alifuru people) still practise their ancestral rituals including music and dance.

What do we know about the music-cultures: the micromusics(3), subcultures and intercultures(4) of Maluku? What are the lacunae that still need to be addressed? What are the major directions of change at present? How frequently are the different styles in each area performed today?

This paper can only begin to answer these questions. Despite the fact that some data on rituals in parts of the province of Maluku have been published in recent years, very little detailed field research has been carried out to date on the music and its contexts in this large province. Recent research into the rituals has made available valuable data on the ritual music and dance, their socio-cosmic meanings, and the social-morphological aspects of the performing arts.(5) The present article describes the music-cultures in Ternate and Tidore in northern Maluku; Ambon, the Uliase islands, Seram, Buru and Banda islands in central Maluku; and the Kai archipelago, the Aru islands, Tanimbar and the Luang or Babar archipelago in southeast Maluku. Due to a lack of data, this article omits reference to such island groups as Leti and Watubela in the south and Bacan and the Sulu archipelago in the north.(6) Clearly a great deal of fieldwork and primary research into the musical styles, repertoires, objects and social context of the thousand islands in Maluku remains to be carried out if this province is to become musicological terra cognita.

This paper is based on short periods of fieldwork by the author in the three main regions of the province; accounts by early travellers, missionaries and colonial func-tionaries; and some recent studies by anthropologists and ethnomusicologists. It also refers to historical research carried out by Abdurachman, Chauvall and Andaya(7) who based their work on documentation in colonial archives as well as modern sources. Andaya deals most comprehensively with the period of contact between the Malukans, the Portuguese (from 1512) and the Dutch (from 1605) who, with the British and Spanish, vied with each other in the sixteenth century for possession of the lucrative Spice Islands of north and central Maluku.

The earliest source referring to the music-cultures of north and central Maluku was a set of volumes about the Indonesian archipelago by the Dutch clergyman Valentijn.(8) Thereafter the most useful sources include descriptions of the indigenous and European-influenced music and dance in Protestant Ambon by the English writer Wallace.(9) A study in Dutch about some Malay songs and dances in Ambon and the Uliase archipelago (i.e. the islands of Haruku, Saparua and Nusalaut) was published by Joest.(10) An encyclopedia entry on music and musical instruments of Maluku was published by Snelleman in 1918,(11) and a preliminary study of music and dance in the Kai archipelago by the Dutch ethnomusicologist Kunst appeared in 1945.(12) In 1984 a useful introductory book on music and dance in central and southeast Maluku and among Maluku emigrants in Holland, containing transcriptions and texts of children's songs and games, was published.(13) More recently, ethnomusicological studies of parts of the Muslim north, i.e., historical and new music and dance on the twin islands of Ternate and Tidore, have appeared.(14) Susan McKinnon's 1991 ethnography of the Tanimbar islands contains information and photography about the dances.(15) The Museum Siwalima in Ambon contains valuable collections of musical instruments from many parts of the province. Maluku's office of the Department of Education and Culture and the Maluku Studies Centre at Ambon's University of Pattimura have collated some data on the performing arts, but it is incomplete and largely unpublished.

Malukan Music as a Whole

The province of Maluku contains many diverse micromusics, each based on a unique, creative synthesis of local traditions and outside influences. Many musical forms are linked to religious practices, including the church missionary practices of the Christians, the Middle East-influenced musical expressions of the Muslims, and the music associated with animist religious beliefs, i.e. those based on veneration of the ancestors and the spirits of nature. Most of Maluku's population is Protestant, but there is also a substantial number of Catholics, especially in Kai and Tanimbar. There are small Muslim pockets throughout the central and southeast areas of the province, such as in pans of Dullah Island in the Kai archipelago. Inhabitants of some mixed villages divide into Catholics and Muslims, or Protestants and Catholics, or Protestants and Muslims. However, the mainstream performing arts are based primarily on indigenous beliefs that pre-date the arrival of Islam in the fifteenth century and Christianity in the sixteenth.

Ceremonies comprising daytime male martial dances and night-time round dances performed by women (e.g., lego-lego) or men and women (e.g., badendang, "dance song") are common throughout central and southeast Maluku. The round dances are marked by different styles of musical accompaniment and costumes in different areas. Processional music and dance on boats, which were referred to by Valentijn in the 1720s, are still performed -- though rarely, in the central and southern parts of the province. Bronze gongchimes called totobuang (from the Malay: tabuh "to beat") and drum ensembles are found all over Maluku; and court ensembles of bronze instruments are still found in the palace-cultures of Ternate and Tidore. Indigenous flutes, multiple reed instruments, jew's harps, and bowed and plucked string instruments, as well as instruments of European and Middle Eastern origin, are also widely distributed.

The drum is the dominant musical instrument. The ubiquitous term for the single-headed varieties of drums found in many shapes and sizes all over Maluku is tifa or tipa, with various other local names such as tihato and tihal also being used in central Maluku, and tibal (Fordate) and titir (Aru) in the southeast. In 1724 Valentijn referred to two kinds of tifa: (i) single-headed hand or stick-beaten drums which hung from a house or mosque and were mostly used for signalling, and (ii) small hand-drums which were played with bronze gongs to accompany dancing and singing. The short hand-drums, which are held under the player's left arm and beaten with his right hand, occur in various sizes and shapes. In Ambon, Uliase, Seram, Buru and elsewhere in central Maluku, the small hand-beaten varieties (of about 30-40 cm in diameter) have cylindrical wooden bodies to which a single piece of skin is attached by rattan lacing, usually in a vertical parallel pattern, which is linked into a rattan hoop stretched around the circumference. Small rattan-laced drums in the Kai archipelago occur in both an elongated and a squat variety. Some are conical in shape, with their wooden bodies flaring out at the base for stability when placed in a standing position. The rattan hoops and lacing occur in various patterns and sometimes cover both the upper and lower parts of the body.

In Aru, tifa are often cylindrical in shape with broad double flares at the base; and their skin heads are attached by rattan lacing tautened with wooden wedges. In Tanim-bar, the skins of the small conical hand-drums, called tibal or tifa (which may measure between 30-45 cm in height and 15-20 cm in diameter), are attached to the body by a rattan hoop and lacing, while large cylindrical three-legged drums (mbambal) in upright position are beaten with sticks by a standing player. Tifa and other drums are usually played with a pair of bronze suspended gongs and, in some areas, also with a set of gongchimes (totobuang) to accompany dancing and singing. In addition, there are split drums such as the walikane (which measure 1 to 1.5 m. in length and have a ca. 50 cm. slit) in west Seram and the letlot in the Kai archipelago. Various two-headed drums are also found. In Muslim communities, frame drums (rebana, rabana) are often added to or replace the tifa, or substituted with small two-headed drums (marwas) or Middle Eastern origin, in which case a wooden, short-necked lute (gambus) and/or a vocal part are sometimes added.

The music-cultures of Maluku and neighbouring Sulawesi share many common elements. For example, the music-culture of the Minahassa people of North Sulawesi is closely related to that of northern Maluku, especially the former spice sultanates of Ternate and Tidore and other islands in the Halmahera and Bacan group. In the Tanimbar and Babar archipelagos in southeast Maluku, round dances with choral singing of the type found in Southeast Sulawesi and central Ambon are common, as well as war dances similar to those of North Sulawesi. Ambon and Seram in Central Maluku also share martial dances and other cultural attributes with North Sulawesi, partly as a result of inter-island trade. Musical links also exist between the island of Butung off Sulawesi's southeast coast and those orang Butung who migrated to Banda Island from the late nineteenth century to the present. Likewise, there are similarities between the music-cultures of the Aru archipelago and the coastal Fakfak area of Irian Jaya.

North Maluku, With Special Reference to Ternate and Tidore

Apart from the descriptions which Valentijn recorded in Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indien, the following account of music in north Maluku, especially the subcultures of Ternate and Tidore, is based on two publications by the author and her recorded material and personal experiences in the field. The other main surviving subcultures about which some data has been gathered are those of the Galela, Tobelo, Togotil, Tobaru, Lingau, Kadai Marge, Bajak Laut and other subcultures of Halmahera island.

The musical intercultures of north Maluku have been shaped by several factors. One early influence came from Chinese and Arab traders from the seventh century or earlier. The area had acquired great wealth from the spice trade, especially in the native cloves, and had also developed a rich repertoire of music, dance and ritual.

From the mid-fifteenth century the people's animist religious beliefs, which had coloured their cultural identity, gave some ground with the acceptance of Islam from north Java. The two Sultans (whose forebears were known as raja [M]) (heads of adat [M] or traditional customs) were in constant conflict with each other and with the neighbouring Sultans of Jailolo and Baean as well as with the Portuguese, Spanish, English and Dutch. The Europeans, who from the arrival of the Portuguese in the early sixteenth century had their eyes focused mostly on the spice trade, brought Christianity to the island of Halmahera and some other parts of North Maluku and left lasting influences on local cultural expressions.

In view of the continual warring over the spice trade with and between the European powers and between the Sultans themselves, it is not surprising that the main male dances in the courts were martial in character. Many of the performing art forms were transformed into syncretic cultural expressions, influenced by art forms of Java, the Middle East and Europe. Javanese court links also influence the music and dance. According to the present Sultan of Ternate, the kulintang (bronze gongs) set in the palace museum today was a gift from one of the wall sanga (the nine Muslim Javanese hold men) to the twentieth Sultan of Ternate, Zainan Abidin Shah.(16) Javanese are known to have held official offices in the Tidore court in the seventeenth century.(17)

Over the centuries, specific artistic repertoires and practices developed in each of the four courts. Though based mainly on village arts and rituals of pre-Muslim origins such as ronggeng (social dancing) and salai jin (healing rituals) as well as adapted Muslim forms such as dabus, samroh and salewat (devotional singing and/or ritual), these artistic expressions were adapted continually to meet the political and artistic requirements of the courts by gifted artists living in villages selected by the Sultan. When guests visited the palaces in Ternate or Tidore, for example, they were received by the respective sultan with his entourage and martial dancers and musicians performing in the front pavilion. On state occasions and holy days and at celebrations, hundreds of the sultan's subjects came to the palace to perform music and dance. Travelling ronggeng were performed at court, and the sultan himself sometimes danced with female professional dancers. These practices have been revived in Ternate since the coronation of the present Sultan of Ternate in 1987. As a result the court cultures of Ternate and, to a lesser extent, Tidore are somewhat known. Little is known to date, however, about the distinctive identity of the Bacan and Jalolo courts.

The pre-Muslim, adapted Muslim, and syncretic Portuguese-Malay music and dance forms which are still practised in villages and palaces of many coastal areas of Indonesia, such as the many islands of Riau, coastal Sumatra and coastal north Maluku, are clearly part of the greater Malay culture. One of the most popular forms of greater Malay art which developed over the centuries in the villages of Ternate and Tidore was ronggeng. A special court form of the ronggeng dance -- tari lala or tari yon (mixing dance) -- was also developed for certain kedaton (royal residence) ceremonies. In both the courts and the villages, its musical accompaniment was a synthesis of Middle Eastern and local Malay characteristics. Typically, a melodic introduction on filutu (bamboo duct flute) was followed by an entry on a pair of tifa. This was followed by a female vocalist who sang a version of thefilutu melody to an improvised pantun (quatrain verse), after which a male singer from the audience would improvise a response. This exchange of pantun would continue indefinitely. Arabic-influenced Malay dancing in Ternate and Tidore such as samroh, dana-dana, or japin, resembled dances found in Riau and other Malay coastal areas of Indonesia. These repertoires are still performed in some villages and towns, at the Ternate palace, at private celebrations, and in Ternate's and Tidore's government buildings on official government occasions.

Musical accompaniment for ronggeng social dancing features syncretic Portuguese-Malay melodies played on the filutu, which are doubled by the vocalist and punctuated in cycles on the drums and gong. The filutu player plays a short introduction (maku nonako, meaning "getting to know each other"), followed by entries on the drums, gong and voice. The lead and follower drums play in unison, or the follower drum interlocks (siduniru) with the lead drum. At the end of a piece the flute player usually trails off with a short melodic postlude. Sometimes a gambus, two pairs of marwas (small two-headed drums) and a male and/or female singer substitute for the filutu ensemble. An ensemble comprising electric guitars, rebana and Western drum kit often replace the wind or string ensemble at weddings and other celebrations today.

Before a pre-Muslim healing ritual called salai jin begins, incense is burnt in front of the gong, and offerings are prepared. The participants then join in the singing and dancing to the accompaniment of rababu, tifa, rebana and saragi (gong). When the shaman enters into a state of trance, he is able, it is believed, to contact the ancestral spirits. Following a melodic introduction on the rebabu, the drummers play loud, mainly high-pitched rhythms and the shaman begins to sing, using a very restricted range (for example, sometimes three neighbouring half-tone pitch levels are used).

There are two categories of martial dances and music in the Ternate palace. The most refined and serious martial dances, performed by one or two men of the highest military rank (the kapita), are called hasa or soya-soya. The less serious, male protocol dances are called cakalele (where caka means "spirit who can cause harm" or "inner power" and melele means "jump here and there"). These martial dances are traditionally performed in the palace pavilion (pendopo [J]) in front of the Sultan, either before or after battle, by a consort of ten soldiers who wear yellow and red costumes and carry swords. Standing in front of his men, the leader gives commands and calls out war cries. All the group dances feature vigorous hopping (muhega) and jumping movements. Some of the male and female dances performed at court over the centuries have recently been re-choreographed by government-organized troupes in Ternate and Tidore, and this is one of the major movements for artistic change at present.(18)

Other village entertainment brought into the courts on special occasions included the telling of legends and ancestral histories by gifted story-tellers. Their performances were marked by axioms (dahlil) and improvised verse in pantun form. The now rare bamboo idiochord tube zither tifa tui ("bamboo drum") was also played to accompany singing or dancing. Several of the palace female dances were performed by the ladies-in-waiting of the Sultan's wife, the Sultana. One court dance which they performed was the lego-lego, accompanied by a female tampiang (small frame-drum) player and female vocalist who sang advice to and even criticism of the Sultan. Such female dances may be centuries old. In 1724 Valentijn mentioned that four or more twelve-year-old girls danced and sang to the accompaniment of e rabana, which he described as a "round, not very thick drum", played with a small gong.(19)

At most celebrations today, as in past centuries, Muslim music and dance are dominant. At a wedding, the groom's procession moves from the home of his parent to that of his wife's parents, preceded by small girls bearing plates of flowers. Dancers performing the art of self defence follow, accompanied by rebana players who sing the Muslim confession of faith. On arrival the groom joins a room full of men playing rebana and singing hadrat nabi (songs of praise for the Prophet) after which the imam performs the marriage rites. At weddings and other celebrations, a Sufi form of worship, dabus (from dabbus [Ar]) is performed by a group of cross-legged men who sing the names and praises of Allah and the various prophets. Two imam syek (religious leaders) lead the unison singing and group frame drum playing, while a third presides. His role is to care for the main performers (ngufa-ngufa) whose religious joy inspires them to perform spectacular acts of self-mutilation, such as stabbin themselves with metal awls (dabbus [Ar]) without feeling any pain. On mentioning the name of the prophet Muhammed the singing and drumming reaches a very high degree of excitement. The small frame drums (tampiang) produce fast, loud high-pitched sounds over the lower-pitched cyclic rhythms played on the large frame-drums (aluan).

Other Muslim art forms performed at religious and life crisis ceremonies are salewat (songs to request Allah to bless the Prophet), and girls' devotional dances called samroh, tari dana, or japin [M], in which a mainly descending Arabic-style melody is repeated many times with gainbus, tifa and rebana accompaniment, while ronggeng-like dance movements are performed. Under the present Sultan of Ternate the badansa (a group martial dance of post-Portuguese origin) has been revived. It is performed at the foot of the front stairs of the palace as the Sultan descends to receive his guests. The dance is accompanied by an ensemble which combines local and European instruments, where the tifa and rebana belong to the former category and the violin (biola), triangle (besi tiga hoek) and cymbals (dabi-dabi) belong to the latter. Additional instruments are used for some dances. Melodies played on the biola feature European characteristics such as dotted rhythms and near-diatonic tuning, though melodies are often restricted to five tones (for example: g f e d c), while the cyclic rhythms played on the tifa and frame drums are indigenous in style. European-derived dance movements such as hopping, marking time, and removing and replacing hats on the dancers' heads are combined with movements derived from the local ronggeng dance style.

Bronze ensembles called kulintang or kolintang in the Ternate palace and jalanpong in the former Tidore palace are played only during the Sultan's processions to the palace mosque on the occasion of the Idul'fitri and Idul'adha festivals. The kulintang contains a set of eight horizontal gongs called momo (which am collectively called kulintang or remoi sahi-sahi, where remoi means "one voice" or "melody" and sahi-sahi means "many voices"), a vertical gong (saragi), a double-headed drum (baka-baka), a set of four tifa podo (short drums), a triangle (besi tiga hoek), and a pair of locally made cymbals (dabi-dabi or cik). The sound of the whole ensemble is referred to by the onomatopoeic expression cikamomo bum, where cik refers to the sound of the cymbals, momo to the horizontal gongs, and bum to the vertical gong. The tifa podo is either held horizontally on the player's left knee or rests on the floor, although during processions it is held vertically under the player's left arm. The player beats the drum with both hands. Four musicians play a pair of momo each. The interlocking sound texture includes "dotted rhythms" of European origin played on the triangle, and local-style cyclical patterns played on the vertical gong, horizontal gongs and drums.

Kulintang ensembles have existed in north Maluku for centuries. Valentijn referred to a set of gongs of different pitches, or "copper bowls" played with two hammers or sticks, in Ternate.(20) These he called totobuang (which is the term used today, as we have noted, for a set of small gongs in central Maluku, but not north Maluku). He mentioned that totobuang were played with gongs and a big drum on the cora-cora, i.e., the "very long and very wide" boats used by the kings of Ternate and Tidore.(21) He also mentioned "a big tifa or drum".(22)

Perhaps the most spectacular royal ceremony still maintained in Ternate today is the kololokie.(23) As tradition demands, in this extended ceremony the Sultan encircles the island sitting on his throne in his flagship (prahu juanga), which contains a small stage for dance performances, accompanied by a fleet of smaller boats called tifa oti (boats carrying tifa drums). Under the previous Sultan the kololokie was normally held every year after the Lebaran feast at the end of the fasting month, but it is now held whenever the Ternate volcano threatens to erupt as it is said to have done in the early eighteenth century, and more recently in 1984 and 1987. On the boat the Sultan's chosen musicians play two or three tifa and a gong to accompany a dance by a male dancer and a group of ladies-in-waiting.

Central Maluku

(a) Ambon and the Uliase Archipelago

Snippets of the history of the music-cultures of Central Maluku are known to us mainly through works by Valentijn, Wallace, Snellemann, Tauern, Cooley, Gieben et al.,

Valeri, and Andaya.(24) The following account of music and related arts in Ambon and the Uliase archipelago is based on the colonial literature and recent secondary sources supplemented by recent field data, part of which was supplied by Bp. Nus Tamaela, his son Mr Chris Tamaela, and their colleagues.(25) Besides the music and dance of the so called original peoples of Seram, there are important syncretic forms belonging to the Dutch-Malukan and the Middle Eastern-Malukan intercultures.

For over three centuries Protestantism has long been the dominant religion in Ambon and the Uliase archipelago. Some of the performing arts there are still influenced by European models, including church music and local versions of dances and dance music that were popular in Holland in the nineteenth century. Bamboo flute orchestras comprising scores of side-blown flutes of different sizes, optional drums and a clarinet as well as wind orchestras containing locally-made clarinets, trumpets, trombones etc. are played in near-diatonic tuning in church. However, some of the pre-Christian musical instruments and practices still remain; for example, a village above the town of Ambon called Soya Diatas is still noted for making good quality tifa to sell to musicians and tourists, and the local Department of Education and Culture officials are actively promoting the performance of modernised versions of what is still known of the Alifuru music and dance.

As has been noted, some central Malukan people were converted to Islam from the fifteenth century. After the Portuguese had assumed power in 1512, however, the non-Muslim population of central Maluku was converted to Catholicism and began to practise Portuguese Catholic church music. In Ambon and other heavily Dutch-influenced areas, most of the people were then converted to Protestantism. As Wallace mentioned, the indigenous music and dancing in mid-nineteenth century Protestant Ambonese feasts and processions was still mixed with music of the formerly dominant Catholic church.(26) Thus the Catholic music remained influential long after the Dutch took over the area and its spice trade from 1605.

In general, the colonial literature depicts the people of Maluku as having been keen to perform music and dance at any opportunity -- for celebrations, life-crisis ceremonies and at work, for example, when rowing boats and producing the staple sago.(27) One autochthonous dance in Ambon was the bambu gila ("magic bamboo dance"), in which a group of male dancers bounced long bamboo poles up and down to tifa accompaniment. After a while the dancers entered a state of trance and the poles seemed to bounce of their own accord. A performance of this dance in the Muslim area of Hitu (a town on the north coast of the island of Ambon) was described by van Hoevell in 1875 and it was recorded by the author in the same place in 1991.

Meanwhile a special genre of European-influenced Ambonese music and dance was developing in the Dutch military camps. Despite the fact that by 1864 the Dutch dove monopoly in Maluku had come to an end, Dutch cultural influence remained strong. From about 1900, many Ambonese and other Maluku men had served in KNIL (Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger) military camps which the Dutch had established all over the Dutch East Indies. As a result a special military life style and culture was developed in the barracks, including a particular form of Maluku-Malay dialect and European-influenced dance forms called by the generic name of katreji. These dances are still performed in some villages in Ambon today.

By the early twentieth century then, these European-influenced dances had become popular in most Christian villages in Ambon, coastal Seram and the Uliase archipelago. They were accompanied either by a small orchestra comprising a viol or vihola (bowed string instrument) or an accordion, a tambur (frame drum) and a gring-gring (triangle), or a large orchestra consisting of pairs of the above-mentioned instruments plus gongs, flutes (bangsi [duct flutes] or suling [side-blown flutes]) and clarinets, played by male musicians only. The katreji dances included the polonaise, wals manis (a slow waltz), the katreji itself (a quadrille), the polka, the mazurka, the polka-mazurka, the hakatincis (from the Dutch: hakkateentjes) and other locally-named dances such as the cakaiba and the longa. Based on dances that were popular in ballrooms in Holland from the mid-nineteenth century, these Malukan dances eventually almost replaced the indigenous dances of central Maluku on the island of Ambon and in the Uliase archipelago.(28)

Dutch control of Ambon came to an end after World War II. However the Dutch attempted to regain control of the former Dutch East Indies between 1945-49, using Malukan KNIL servicemen to fight against the Indonesian republicans. After the Dutch had been defeated in 1949, some Malukan families fled to Holland, while others remained due to an amnesty granted them by the Republic of Indonesia. In 1950, those Malukans who had remained sympathetic to the Dutch set up the Republic of South Maluku, which was then suppressed by the government of the Republic of Indonesia under President Soekarno. The amnesty period then came to an end and large numbers of soldiers and their families had to flee to Holland. In Holland they and their descendents continue to practise the European-influenced Maluku dances and music, as do some members of the older generation and some of the young people living in central Maluku to this day.(29)

The island of Ambon is much more economically developed and cosmopolitan than the large, neighbouring islands of Seram and Buru. As communications are only just beginning to be developed, remnants of the pre-Muslim, pre-Christian culture of the original inhabitants of the area -- the Nuaulu, Huaulu and other ethnic groups formerly known as the orang Alifuru -- still remain;(30) and they are being revived and revised for modern concert audiences.(31) In some areas, musicians still play double-row gongchimes (totobuang) comprising nine or twelve small near-diatonic bronze gongs on a wooden underframe as well as portable near-diatonic xylophones (tatabuhan kayu),(32) usually with tifa, rebana and gong. Formerly bronze ensembles were owned only by members of royal families and their descendants, who valued them greatly as heirlooms.(33) Today they are owned mainly by groups of musicians and government departments and used for performances on official occasions and for tourists; for example, they are played almost daily by resident musicians at the State Museum Siwa-lima in Ambon. In 1724 Valentijn reported that them were totobuang that consisted of five or six small gongs in a frame and were beaten with a pair of sticks.

The main traditional dance of the so-called Alifuru people in central Maluku are the mixed-sex round dance performed by night, and the martial cakalele danced by men by day. Traditionally, the cakalele is danced by men holding shields and swords before they leave on a hunt or for battle,(34) and it is accompanied by drums (tifa) and a gong. Valentijn reported that tifa were used both as musical instruments and signalling agents. Formerly they were suspended at the door of a house or in a mosque and musicians used to beat out specific rhythms on them, such as tifa orang mati ("rhythm to announce a death") and tifa marinyo ("rhythm to call people together"). Suspended bronze gongs (ahuu) of various pitches were beaten with a soft hammer. These instruments were greatly valued as bridewealth and were seen as the expression of status and power. A blown bamboo wind instrument comprising a narrow tube inserted within a wider tube called gumbang is also known in Saparua.

The traditional cakalele dance ceremony is still performed in some Ambonese villages (e.g., in the mountainous Salahutu district) on formal occasions, such as the occasion of appointing a raja (chieftain). A modified version is also performed on occasions set up for visiting tourists. The dancers' bodies are rubbed black with charcoal, as is still the custom in the ceremonies of the Ambonese as well as the Nuaulu and Huaulu people. As has been mentioned, these peoples are seen as embodying the original culture of Maluku, and live mostly in the forests of Maluku's mother island, Seram.(35) The structure of the dance formations parallel the structure of the village military units (pasukan hongi, or hongi) which used to take part in petty wars and still become involved in disputes in central Seram. The following description of a cakalele dance ceremony as performed today in Waai is based on the work of Lainsamputty(36), parts of which the author confirmed as being the practice also on Seram, on the basis of an interview in July 1993 with Bp. Nus Tamaela, an eider of Soahuku village in southern central Seram.

In Waai village, Ambon, the ceremonial proceedings are as follows. Two days before a ceremony begins, the military leader (kapitan) and the spiritual leader (mongare mentar) leave the village on a journey into the forests to collect the symbolic "clothes" of the cakalele dancers, including the charcoal, which is gathered from a burnt sago tree trunk (gabu-gabu), and other ceremonial offerings. A conch shell (siput, tauri) is blown by the head of traditional customs (amun apu) to let the ancestral spirits know of their departure. The spiritual leader prays to God and to the two original ancestral spirits (Teta Bapa Nene Moyang) to request permission to dance, and then cuts the gabu-gabu into three pieces, after seeking the permission of the kapitan and reciting incantations to bless the water. At dusk they return home to the village, carrying the holy water in two bamboo containers (balu sero). Their arrival is marked by the sounding of a conch shell and the performance of a cakalele dance by the elders (malesi). Finally, they prepare the ceremonial objects in the yard outside the village's ceremonial house (baileu), and go to inform the chieftain at his home that their preparatory mission has been completed. They then collect water from a pond in the old village (negeri lama), i.e., Eri Nani.

That night, the nine cakalele dancers sleep in the kapitan's home ready to awake at 3 am for the "putting on of clothes" ceremony. The dancers circle around the three pieces of gabu-gabu, which are ceremonially burnt into charcoal and are then extinguished by sprinkling them with the holy water collected earlier. The kapitan and spiritual leader then use the charcoal to draw a cross on their foreheads, chests, and backs, whereupon each dancer rubs another with the charcoal till his whole body is black. The dancers then go home to put on full ceremonial dress, including the distinctive red cloth headdress; long red loincloth, or shorts; shields (salawaku) and daggers (parang); and they collect their large and small tifa (drums). At dawn they assemble at the kapitan's home where the ceremonial table (meja adat) has been laden up with their breakfast. This consists of dried sago, dried fish, boiled bananas and a sweet hot ginger drink (teh halia). A dagger is placed on both ends of the table. After beating seven strokes on the large drums, the participants sit on the floor and consume their breakfast without plates or cutlery, as is the custom, at a major village alliance (panas pela) ceremony. They chew a betel nut preparation and beat the small tifa to signal the completion of this part of the ritual. They then engage in solo and choral response singing of traditional verses in old ceremonial language), accompanied by the drums; this music is called kapata. Finally, they proceed to the homes of the raja negeri and raja longi to report that they are ready to start their day of cakalele dancing and they collect the sacred communal daggers from the home of the adat head, who is now dressed in full ceremonial attire ready to receive their expressions of homage.

Three strokes on the large drums call the village and guests together, whereupon the performance begins in the baileu yard. After the musicians play the small tifa, the kapitan and aman apu perform the vigorous movements of the cakalele dance. The aman apu holds the community spear and defends it when the kapitan attempts to take hold of it, but eventually he loses it to the kapitan. The mongare mentar and malesi tengah make their entrance and also try to gain possession of the spear. Whoever manages to get hold of it is allowed to hold it as he dances. Eventually the kapitan circles around the whole military group (anak-anak hongi) and stands respectfully before the mongare mentar as a sign of the completion of this segment. Now all the dancers are free to dance in the baileu yard to celebrate whatever they have chosen to celebrate, for example, the completion of a new bathroom. Finally, they report to the raja negeri and raja hongi that the dancing is over. The kapitan and mongare mentar lead them all to a bank of the river Waai into which they throw all the unused charcoal, and they bathe together in the river.

Frequently included in celebrations at festivals, life crisis ceremonies and cooperative work gatherings were dance parties lasting two or three days, with the dancing interspersed with solo and group response singing of pantun (two-couplet Malay quatrains).(37) Pantun singing is often referred to as kapata tunak ("indigenous poem-songs")(38) or badendang. It features the slow singing of poetic text and responses, some of which contain erotic allusions. The songs are performed in a work context such as the rowing of boats, as well as at performances of mixed-sex round dances at night-time celebrations, in which case they may be accompanied by tifa and gong. Some elderly musicians in inland Ambon can still sing the songs, but large-scale ceremonial occasions formerly marked by such major singing activity are now rare.

Other vocal music in Christian areas of Maluku includes psalm (mazmur) and hymn (tahlil or nyanyian rohani) singing in churches and by gravesides to the accompaniment of bamboo flute orchestras and other double-tube bamboo wind instruments called gumbang. In 1724 Valentijn referred to the practice of funeral singing.(39) Van Hoevell described the hymn singing in 1875.

The European sacred and secular music that was adopted in central Maluku from the seventeenth century was eventually transformed in Maluku into a large repertoire of indigenous Maluku folk songs. Many of the songs are decades or centuries old, but they are performed in various popular music styles in modern Indonesia by people of all ethnic groups. Harmonised Ambonese folksongs called lagu Ambon or lagu Maluku such as Buka Pintu ("Open the Door"), Ayu Mama ("Oh mother") and Hela-hela rotane ("Hand the rattan!") are very well-known throughout Indonesia. They are accompanied by a local kroncong (small guitar) or Hawaiian-style band. In the past few decades, the early twentieth century Ambonese guitar-like instrument called kroncong has been supplemented or replaced by guitars, mandolins, ukeleles, banjos and a violin or flute and tifa.

The ancestral music and dances are quite well-preserved in central Seram which is still relatively untouched by the outside world. As in Ambon and many other parts of Maluku, ritual music and dance in Seram divides into the male martial dances performed all day and the mixed sex round dances performed all night, accompanied by tifa. The original inhabitants of the large island of Seram, collectively called the orang Alifuru in colonial times, are divided into two social and kinship groups. They are the Patasiwa, who formerly lived in the western inland area, and the Patalima, who lived in the eastern inland area. They are further divided by their belief system into the hitam (black) and putih (white) groups(40). Their beliefs in the spirits of nature and the ancestors contrast with those of the coastal Christian people of Seram, whose culture is strongly influenced by that of Christian Ambon. Coastal Seram Christians play flute orchestras like those in Ambon.(41) Muslim villagers in Seram perform Muslim devotional singing, mostly hadrat accompanied by frame drums.

There are many sizes of hand-beaten drums, normally called tipa in Seram, which are used to accompany both day and night dancing. In central and southern Seram they are mostly large drums (about 60 cm in diameter), whereas in the north they are quite small (only about 30 cm in diameter).(42)

The main ritual of the Huaulu people of northern Seram is the kahua feast. Such feasts are still held several times a year in some inland villages. Their most important element is the night round dance, in which men and unmarried women participate. The men hold hands and stamp and dance in an outer circle in clockwise motion, while the women also hold hands, dance and stamp in a circle in clockwise motion. A lead singer and refrain chorus sing texts in the ancient local language, accompanied by hypnotic, repetitious drumming on the tifa drums. In past times, the kahua was intimately connected with headhunting. In fact, it was held every time a head, or several heads, were captured. Some local police in Masohi in inland Seram report that they still sometimes come across evidence of head hunting and the associated feasts, but these reports are officially denied. Today, then, the feasts are usually held to celebrate any major event which enhances social or self esteem, or confirms its vitality, such as the initiation of boys, the installation of an elder, or the rebuilding of a community house. The night kahua dance has its counterpart in the cakalele-style diurnal war dance called usali. These day and night dances alternate throughout the kahua feast.

The usali dance commences when the elders ritually take down the drums which hang from the crossbeams of the community house and place them with the gongs on the veranda. While some of the men play usali music, the others dance frenetically in front of the community house. They dance all day until sunset. When the darkness is complete, the singers and drummers sit in the centre of the veranda. Then the kahua dance begins. It must never be interrupted until well after dawn. When daylight has arrived, the slow night beat suddenly turns into the frenzied one of the day; and the men, mustering all of the energy left to them, rush out and break into a spirited war dance. After this they rest until the afternoon, when they dance the usali again and, after sunset, they dance the kahua until dawn. They continue for at least five days, and more often for ten. Then the feast may slacken. But for several months (and sometimes, as in 1987-88, for more than one year) dances will now and then be held for a few nights in a row. While the dancing is not continuous, the innumerable taboos which mark the ritual period are. It is taboo to perform any other ritual that involves the use of drums, although curing rituals may be performed in an incomplete form, that is, without drumming and dancing. At the completion of the feast, the participants spend between one to five nights in sewa, a kind of competitive singing which is required at funerals to send away the shadows of the dead.(43)

In western Seram, the Patisiwa Hitam dance the so-called maro round dance at night. They gather in a religious house at midnight where they dance and stamp slowly in a circular or a spiral formation to specific tifa rhythms and perform songs (rorone) in parts, mainly in fifths and thirds.(44) When they stamp, the bamboo floor of the baileu bounces and the sound resonates. By day the men perform the martial cakalele dances out of doors wearing full battle dress and holding a sword and a small shield. A solo singer, a choir, a gong player and a conch shell (tahuri) and/or bamboo horn (tahuri) player accompany the dance. Formerly, cakalele dances were a part of the headhunting rituals. Today the dance style is still vigorous, but less warlike than in the past as it has been modified for the requirements of a ceremony to welcome important guests. The people also sing ritual choral sewa songs with archaic texts which are suitable for all feasts(45) and love and rowing songs.(46) Shamans sing special songs for the soso healing ritual.

Today, tourists sometimes pay up to A$200 for an all-night kahua performance, replete with food, cigarettes, and offerings. They are led by Nuaulu elders and their relatives, who occupy houses provided for them by the government in a settlement near Masohi.

(c) Buru

Unlike the many transmigrants who live on Buru, the original orang Alifuru mainly live in inland areas, with a few living along part of the coastal areas of the island. As in Seram, only the men play the small conical tifa (of which the largest is about 39 cm long), and both men and women sing and dance the night round dance lego in circular formations at ceremonies. Valentijn described lego as being a round dance accompanied by slow "assoy" (asoi) responsorial songs(47). The head of a group of families (a soa), begins the dance, after which the guests and others present join in, with the male dancers each carrying a shield and a sword. The daytime cakalele dance is also known on Buru, accompanied by a large tifa and a gong. Musicians also play interlocking patterns on a metre-long bamboo zither named totobuang kawat. It consists of five bamboo strings raised on two bridges with a bamboo tongue which resonates over an opening in the tube. Homemade, three-stringed, bowed string instruments called viol are also common. Formerly, ensembles comprising a gong and set of totobuang (five gong chimes) were exchanged as part of a bride price.

(d) Banda Archipelago

The present-day Bandanese are intercultures of mixed descent; they include people claiming European, Chinese, Arabic, Maluku and Sulawesi ancestry. The Bandanese language differs from Indonesian in only a handful of words. Thus the Bandanese are a group based not on descent but on Bandanese birth and use of a language barely different from the national language.

The main town in the Banda islands group is the former Dutch colonial capital Bandanaira, situated on the tiny island of Naira. The population is divided into two groups: Bandanese (orang Banda) and Butongese (orang Butong). The latter came to Banda at the end of the nineteenth century from the Butung islands to the southeast of Sulawesi, new migrants arriving sporadically until the present. (This was confirmed by the 76-year-old Sultan of Butung, Haji Drs. H. La Ode Manarfa, during the author's visit to the Kraton Wolioi in Baubau, Kabupaten Buton or Butung in June 1993.) Butungese speak their own language as well as Indonesian and Bandanese. It is said on Banda that the original Bandanese were not eliminated but were integrated into the present orang Banda.(48)

As in neighbouring islands, the chief traditional ceremony consists of dancing called cakalele. Though performed for centuries, the meaning of the cakalele had been lost. Recently, however, a document was recovered which shows that this dancing represents, through secret symbolism, the names of the slaughtered original-Bandanese nobles.(49) The dominant musical styles today, however, are Maluku folksongs and international popular songs.

Southeast Maluku

(a) Kai Archipelago

The inhabitants of the Kai archipelago in southeast Maluku are Malays who believe that they, or at least the noble class, probably originally migrated from the islands to the west,(50) perhaps via the north. This is in contrast to the populace of the Aru archipelago just east of Kai who are predominantly Melanesian.(51) Not only the Kai islands but also Aru and Tanimbar have "social orders".(52) In northern Kai, the "first social order" comprises the "original inhabitants".(53) The three-level social order system in Kai (called melriniri, an acronym based on the names of the three social orders) is believed by the local people to have been influenced by contact with Bali; indeed, much of the Christian and Muslim population adheres to Hindu-like beliefs and practises ancestor veneration. Because they are believed to possess superior knowledge of seafaring and weaponry, newcomers are traditionally looked up to by the indigenous Kai people as being superior. The nobility (second) in Kai are believed to have migrated there from Seram.(54)

Today, the Kai performing arts appear to be better maintained in Kai's Catholic communities than in the Protestant or Muslim ones.(55) The Catholic services incorporate suling bambu (bamboo flute) ensembles and traditional songs. The indigenous religion, which is based on worship of the ancestors and various nature spirits, includes veneration of ancient bronze kettle-gongs (nekara) as ancestral objects. Remnants of a Dongson drum called Tiva Mas ("golden drum") are the object of ancestral veneration ceremony in Faan village, Kai Kecil, led by its tuan tanah (keeper)(56). Ivory, gongs and old Portuguese coins are used as forms of bridewealth in the area.

A typical musical ensemble in Kai today comprises two gongs (medium and small size) called dada; tiva laai and tifa kot (large and small tifa);(57) and a bamboo flute (sawarngil). Another instrument which is almost obsolete is the musur tao ("bowed string instrument"), which has a half-coconut shell body and a horsehair bow. Some conch shells called tuwuir were formerly used to call people together and for other signalling purposes. Instrumental music, called mumur-mamir ("the loud sound of a tifa ensemble") is used to accompany all dance forms, such as the guest-welcoming sasoi or beben ("dance"). There are fifty-two known types of dance in Kai, of which the fan (beben kibas) and umbrella (beben baing) dances are normally preferred at weddings(58). Formerly, the beben ular (snake dance) ceremony was the means by which a new chieftain was installed. Male martial dances called sasoi damar (torch dance), sasoi panah (arrows) or sasoi katar (shield dance) may be merged with the softer Malay/Portuguese-influenced female dancing to symbolise the termination of warfare in victory and peace.

Unaccompanied refrain singing with allusory poetic texts is the basis of song (sekar) in Kai. Magical songs are sung to aid in the collection of honey, to bring safety at sea, and for orphaned children to mourn. Ngel-ngel are traditional songs sung all night long at weddings and other ceremonies in free metre with a highly melismatic style. Their texts offer advice on male/female love or family relations, or relate historical tales or genealogies. When -- ominously -- whales are washed ashore, special magic songs are sung for a whole night for protection of the community. An identical song-ceremony is held once a year to cleanse a village and its villagers of misdeeds.(59)

Unaccompanied songs are sung with refrains at ceremonies to request rain in times of drought, to pray for safety at sea before departing on a voyage, or when ownership of ancestral land is formally subdivided. Special genres of songs are known on Kai: one is to give advice to young men going abroad, known as snehet-snehet; a second genre as mentioned above is for weddings and other celebrations, known as ngel-ngel and tananit; a third is to praise and welcome important guests, called wawaar, a fourth is for funerals, called maruruin; and a fifth consists of epic songs called baut-baut, for processions on a ceremonial boat to tifa accompaniment(60).

In past centuries, local chieftains' long boats carrying performing musicians and dancers were common in Kai just as they were in North and Central Maluku. In Kai the long boats carried ensembles called tiva tipa balang or kora-kora (Valentijn referred to them as cora-cora) along with the local Raja and elders (pemangku adat) to pick up important guests from other places. The tifa ensemble accompanied dances performed on a platform in the front part of the boat while the raja sat in the middle on another platform. The artists performed celebratory sasoi ngel-ngel dances or, in time of war, sasoi fuun (war dances). Weapons stored on the boat would be used in battle if an enemy were to be encountered at sea. After battle, a victory celebration would be held, led by the Raja and elders(61).

In Kai, Muslim music is typified by devotional singing (zamrah or hadrat) accompanied by violin, gambus and guitar. Martial dances are accompanied by one gambus and five to six mewas or marwas (small two-headed hand-played drums). Tari sawat, the main Muslim-based social dance for young people(62), and sasoi are special dances to honour the raja. Tiwa nam is a ronggeng-like Malay fan-dance performed by adolescent girls.

(b) Abu Islands

East of the Kai archipelago lies the Aru island network. Due to the lack of communications in the Aru islands in the past, virtually every village has developed its own repertoire of songs (didi), including many kinds of rowing songs sung on boats when at sea (marerei, bela and jer lavlavi). The main instruments are the drum (tifa or titir), the gong (daldala), the jews harp (berimbak) and the conch shell (tapur). Gongs are used as bridewealth and occur in various sizes under the following names: daldala sermin, jawa, talakoka, sigila, sigkodar, jawa tapuran, sepelpel, bumbong and wangur gural.(63) At feasts the Aru people perform the traditional dalair dances accompanied by singing and drum.(64)

(c) Tanimbar

The population of the Tanimbar archipelago is predominantly Catholic and Protestant, with strong undertones of ancestral veneration. Like their neighbours in the Babar and Kal Islands, their beliefs incorporate the ceremonial use of intricately carved wooden statues of the ancestors and elaborate ceremonies comprising music and dance.(65) Migration myths describe the ancestors arriving from Sumatra and Java by way of Flores and Timor, and continuing on to Seram, but none describe migration to Tanimbar from central Maluku. According to the indigenous religion, after death Tanimbar souls go to Selu Island (west of Tanimbar); thus, the ceremony to prepare the soul of a deceased person for the journey is called tnabar rbadar mangwate ("ceremony for the soul's journey"). Some villages, such as Aruidas village, still use a large stone in the shape of a boat as the elders' meeting place. In Aruidas, an ancient bronze nekara kettle-gong lies in a place of honour. In both places the people place offerings to honour the ancestors. Ancestral customs, music and dance have been combined with Christian practices in many instances. For example, model boats are sometimes placed in churches and used as altars (e.g., in Olilit Lama village) and traditional lullaby melodies are sung to texts about Baby Jesus.

In the kecamatan of southern Tanimbar, where we recorded several kinds of music and dance, there are two suku [I] (subcultures): (i) the Suku Yaru, who speak the classical language called Fordata, which is also the name of an island off Tanimbar's north coast; and (ii) the Suku Timur Lau, who speak four other local languages, i.e., Timurlau, Selaru, Selwasa and Makatian. However, the two subcultures possess some cultural unity through their common usage of two sets of pela customs called daun and lolat, i.e., the giving and receiving of bridewealth (vat velin or "the value of the woman" in Fordata language) and complementary gifts from wife-givers to wife-takers (baiyau).(66) At weddings the male side is called daun and the female, lolat. The songs and dances of each group are also similar to each other.

Ceremonies with music and dance (tnabar) were formerly frequently held for births, requests for bridewealth (tnabar lilike), funerals, new houses, to request rain(67), for successful fishing, and to celebrate clearing the forest to create a new garden (the latter ceremony is called tnabar pemiri kebun). When rice was planted the occasion was marked by the holding of a tnabar fanewa (planting ceremony). When rice ripens in the field, a "rice-ripening" ceremony called tnabar fusuk fase is held with dance depictions of winnowing, rice stamping and other work components. In areas of southern Tanimbar visited by the author, the church forbids pre-Christian ceremonies but encourages Christianized versions of them performed in the church. For example, in the past two decades whole villages have celebrated harvests by bringing dances, songs and ritual objects into church and performing adapted versions of them, with the local priest presiding and giving the blessings.

Today there are choreographed performances of ceremonies that lack the former religious meanings. Tnabar ilas or tnabar panas pela is a ceremony (or now a choreographed dance) in which the headmen of two villages drink one another's heated blood to indicate that they are friends and cannot go to war. Some ceremonies are performed only by women and others by men. Mixed dances symbolise the cooperation of the villagers working together in the fields. The war dance (tnabar mpuk-ulu: lit. "happy head dance") refers to the warrior's display of an enemy's head. As part of the angkosi dance, men and women sing and dance in standing position while responding to pantun verses from each other as a way of teasing and getting to know one another. In the lilike dance, on the other hand, they dance and sing while seated. Competitive pantun singing is also an important feature of the New Year celebration.

The key ritual dance, the tnabar ila'a, reflects the place of the boat in ancestral migration myths. This "great stomp" dance is performed before a village renews its brotherhood alliance with another village.(68) Men and women stand in a huge, open, boat-shaped circle in line of precedence of the arrival of each family founder in a village (though normally only the first and last dance are precisely determined in this way). Drummers stand near the bow and to one side within the circle and play the "front drums" (tival ulu) and back drums (tival muri), as well as a large three-legged drum (nfeffik babal). The lead singer (kual) stands at the back of the circle of dancers.

The four drummers who stand toward the bow are thought to compose the "sail" (laar) of the boat and, just as the sail must fill with wind before the boat can set out, so too the drums must sound before the dance can begin. The dance formation of some villages includes four women who "dance like noble frigate birds" (rsomar wean taran mela) in the middle of the boat, toward the front end. They dance with their arms outstretched like the great wings of frigate birds, hovering in place as if they were riding the same winds as the boat itself. Finally, the community nobles alone are allowed to sit in the center of the dance formation and, as captains, direct the village boat on its steady course.(69)

Male musicians accompany many ceremonies by playing on a large three-legged drum called empa-empal(70), while women seem to be the exclusive players of tifa drums (usually called tibal). Gongs (titir) are also played. Formerly, the ceremonial life of the Tanimbar people was very rich and intense, based on veneration of the ancestors. They would begin their day with dancing, gardening or hunting until the afternoon, then dance again. Today, however, this sort of lifestyle is obsolete in Tanimbar. In the first half of this century, the church fathers forbad the ceremonies, the use of ancestral statues (which they termed "idols"), and the ceremonial dance and music. As a result the performance practice of most of the repertoire is known now to very few artists. However, as in many parts of Maluku, the round dance is still widely practised. In it, a large group of women and girls sing and dance badendang (e.g., the melody of the popular song "Amelin") in a circle together. Badendang are even performed in churches today, though with Christian texts. Church services incorporate elements of the songs and tnabar with Christian content, with the participants wearing traditional costume including bird-of-paradise feather headdresses. The latter are imported from Irian Jaya. These are worn together with ivory anklets and bracelets and other inherited objects during ceremonial dancing because it is believed that the ancestors wore them.

As in many other parts of Maluku, traditional performing arts in present-day Tanimbar are often adapted to suit the protocol and political ends of New Order Indonesia. Today new dance choreographies based on the traditional dances include the weaving dance angkosi petitais, the long criss-cross bamboo-pole bouncing dance formerly performed to request rain (tutuk alu), and the dance to contact the ancestors to improve the fish catch (silabat angkus ansoli)(71).

(d) Babar Archipelago -- Marsela and Luang Island

In the very arid Babar Islands (Kecamatan Pulau-pulau Babar) west of Tanimbar in southeast Maluku, there is a striking similarity between the central theme of the fertility ritual and the main theme of the myths of creation, centring on the so-called sacred marriage of heaven and earth. This applies both in the patrilineal, patrilocal social structure of the eastern islands such as Marsela, and in the matrilineal, matrilocal order in the western islands such as Luang. Fertility rituals played an important part in the village communities. Despite the influence of Christianity, indigenous beliefs and practices are still apparent in the month-long New Year celebration on Marsela island, where the ritual purpose has been to implore the ancestors and the deity to bring rain for fertility and prosperity. During the New Year fertility ritual on Marsela, which lasts nearly a month, the lulya ("sacred") dances are performed. They include a men's anti-clockwise round dance, accompanied by a very long song with fixed lyrics describing the warriors' return from battle, a women's anticlockwise round dance accompanied by a song comprised of improvised lyrics which refer to fishing, and a mixed-sex dance in a single row, accompanied by a song imploring rain.(72)


As the sketchy and unevenly distributed data about the music of the regions of Maluku indicate, we are still in the early stages of musicological research in Maluku. Although detailed anthropological research in a few areas has recently been carried out and published (especially on northern Seram and the Kai, Marsela and Luang islands), only passing reference, as we have noted, has been made to the musical components of the rituals described. Our own more detailed fieldwork on aspects of the musical cultures of but two of north Maluku's hundreds of inhabited islands -- Ternate and Tidore, as well as Ambon and Seram in Central Maluku, and south Tanimbar, Kai Besar and Kai Kecil in Southeast Maluku, is preliminary and recent. The extant historical sources over the past four centuries give us only a glimpse into the musical expressions of Maluku's past; and the data they offer are not sufficient or reliable enough for us to document musical change except in its broad outlines. The Christian Pedagogical Study Centre is to be congratulated for publishing the booklet by Gieben, Heijnen and Sapuletej on some of the music, dance, games and children's songs of central and southeast Maluku, but this contribution serves mainly to whet the appetite for a more thorough investigation into the many subcultures and intercultures of Maluku and the history of the relationships between them.

The main directions of change throughout the province at present result from efforts by the New Order government, via the "functional groups" (Golkar), to adapt the traditional performing arts for protocol and political purposes. Wherever possible, government officials enlist the help of local leaders, for example the Sultan of Ternate or church functionaries, to promote their artistic endeavours. They also employ the services of the most talented musicians and dancers who comply with their artistic directions, though little money actually passes hands. All groups of artists are required to register their names and details in the local Department of Education and Culture Office. In this way the government tries to keep control of any potential political activity of artists who are known to have criticized authority in the past. Individual artistic expression is not highly valued, but then this never has been the main aim; the tradition of group artistic activity is maintained. Contributors of new artistic ideas and techniques are not specially singled out for praise. The spokespeople of groups are normally their business leaders of administrators. Artistic prominence is usually absorbed into the regional glory of a particular Bupati's or Dharma Wanita's (Government Officials Wives Association) group of artists.

It is also these groups that are the main directors of style change in music and dance performances. Since the late 1960s, officials of the Department of Education and Culture and the Dharma Wanita have selected certain kinds of traditional items of music and dance and created new ones (kreasi baru) which they feel are attractive and interesting for national and international audiences. Provincial pride in the national scene is a strong motivator in this respect. The government bodies have also offered patronage and training to selected artists and groups who are constantly called upon to perform for election campaigns, official receptions of important guests, national celebrations, and the media. Some of the more technically difficult items, such as the hasa martial dances in Ternate, are being lost as their elderly performers die without having succeeded in attracting young pupils or patronage to carry them on. In the more isolated areas of Maluku, such as in inland Tanimbar and the Aru Islands, the traditional music and dance continue to be practised in their agricultural and life-crisis ceremonial contexts of ancestor and nature veneration, while in some villages (e.g., Wowanda in southern Tanimbar) segments of these ceremonial dances have been choreographed and their music arranged for long, staged ceremonial shows for audiences. In strongly Christianized areas such as Ambon and the Uliases, the main form of social music making takes place in the churches. Yet even the church flute and brass ensembles which were so strong in Ambon until the mid-twentieth century are now found only in a few churches, as in the village of Waai. Church music in southern Tanimbar today is a successful synthesis of local pre-Christian music styles and European church hymns, and these creative developments are encouraged by an enlightened church leadership and policy. In Muslim areas such as Dullah in Kai, the pan-Malay forms of Middle East-influenced music and dance, are still strong, but they are strongest in the Muslim north, especially Ternate. Artists still regularly rehearse and perform sacred and secular music at weddings, other celebrations and for government occasions.

This paper has aimed to expose the need for the intense study and properly archived documentation of the musical cultures of the large province of Maluku in all its diversity. If we can serve to interest others making a concerted effort to collect the data and encourage them to take the study further, this publication will have been worthwhile, and the region will then no longer be musicological terra incognita.

M. and H. Kartomi witnessed and recorded some of the traditional music and dance performed in Ternate, Tidore, Ambon, Kai Archipelago and Tanimbar in December 1989-January 1990 and in Seram and Ambon in July 1993, under the auspices of officers of the Department of Education and Culture, to whom we owe a large debt of gratitude. We are most grateful to the Governor of Maluku and the Head of International Relations of the Department of Education and Culture in Jakarta, as well as to the Heads of the Department of Education and Culture offices in Ambon, Ternate, the Kai Archipelago and Tanimbar for their assistance during our visit in late 1989 and early 1990.

We are indebted to many functionaries and artists in North Maluku, including Joumuce (Yang Mulia) Mudafar Syah, the forty-eighth Sultan of Ternate; Lieutenant-Colonel Sutikno, Bupati of North Halmahera; Mrs Sutikno and the Dharma Wanita Music and Dance Troupe; Drs Nizam Gani and Bp. Syamsuddin Muhammad of the government tourism office in Ternate; Mr Tukang, Bupati of Central Halmahera; artists in the Radio Republic Indonesia office in Ternate; a group of court musicians living in Dufa-Dufa village not far from the palace, especially Bp. Majid Budran, Bp. Dalima Gafi, Bp. Mochtar Majid, Bp. Ron Hamisi, Bp. Isak Man and Bp. Tahir Man; Mr Abdul Togubu of the Tidore museum, other heads of the Branch Museums in Ternate and Tidore; and many musicians and dancers in the villages of Ternate and Tidore Islands. In Jakarta, we benefited from long discussions with the eldest child of the forty-seventh Sultan of Ternate, Jou ma fira (Ibu) Syahrinsad Syah, who has vivid childhood memories of the Ternate palace until she left it in 1945.

For data gathered and recordings made on Ambon we are grateful to church musicians and elders in the village of Waai, Kecamatan Salahutu; the musicians and elders of Hitu village on Ambond's northeast coast; the troupe of artists led by Bp. Jon Tamaela in Ambon's Department of Education and Culture; musicians employed at the Museum Siwalima in Amdon; musicians, instrument makers, elders, and young katreji dancers of the village of Soya Diatas in the hills just above the town of Ambon; and the university student troupe of Seram-style musicians and dancers led by composer, musician and choreographer Bp. Chris Tamaela at the University of Pattimura.

We would also like to thank Raja Dullah (Bp. Nohor Rennat of Kampung Dullah, Kai Besar), Bp. Gregorius Raharawin and Bp. Oni Labetubun of the Department of Education and Culture in Tual, Ibu Yuliana Refo of Letwuan village, Kai Kecil, and musician Bp. Awat of Mangun village, Kai Besar; Bp. Rahandra, Bupati (regional head) of the Kai Archipelago; Bp. Eusebius of Wowonda village, Tanimbar, the elders of Sifnana and Lauruan villages, the Camat (local head) of South Tanimbar, and the heads of the Museum Negeri Siwalima in Ambon; and heads, elders and female and male artists of many villages, especially Mangun Debut Langgun and Faan in the Kai archipelago, but also many others in other areas who helped to organize performances. During fieldtrips in 1989-90 and 1993, we were fortunate enough to have long discussions with elders such as Mr Nus Tamaela, and Raja Soahuku, and elders of Soahuku as well as Raja Filip Halaku and elders of Amahai, southern Seram. The anthropologist Dr Mus Huliselam, Director of the Maluku Study Centre of Pattimura University, was very helpful. I also wish to thank Bp. Chris Tamaela, son of Bp. Nus Tamaela of Soahuku, who directs the newly-created, Alifuru-based music and dance troupe of student performers of the University of Pattimura in Ambon.

I am grateful to the Australian Research Committee for assistance on fieldtrips throughout Maluku in 1989-90 and 1993. H. Kartomi and D. Salisbury were of great assistance to me in photographing, video-taping and recording performances in the field, and Chris Basile and Robin Ryan were my reliable research assistants for this project.

1 Unless otherwise stated all foreign terms are given in local Maluku spelling (M = Malay, Ar = Arabic, D = Dutch, I = Indonesian, J = Javanese). Moluccas is the English name for the province but it is frequently substituted for now by the modern Indonesian name of Maluku.

2 The third main division of Maluku actually covers all of the southern area of the province, but it is called "the southeast" to distinguish it clearly from the former Republic of South Maluku.

3 Micromusics are defined as "small musical units within big music-cultures". See Mark Slobin, "Micro-musics of the West: a Comparative Approach", Ethnomusicology 36, no. 1 (1991): 1.

4 Subcultures are defined as more or less self-contained groups of people distinguished by class or ethni-city (Slobin, ibid., p. 2). In north Maluku, they include the two Muslim court subcultures of Ternate and Tidore, and the Christian subcultures of the Tobaru and Togotil peoples in Halmahera. Intercultures are self-contained groups which have interacted with other cultures or between groups who live within an inter-culture (ibid., pp. 2-20). In Maluku they include the Kai interculture or cultural unit, with its dominant immigrant group and its indigenous group. Another example is Ambon and coastal Seram, which experienced contact between the Dutch "superculture" (ibid., pp. 13-16) on the one hand and the indigenous "Alifuru" culture on the other.

5 See the bibliography in Cecile Barraud, "A Turtle Turned on the Sand in the Kei Islands; Society's Shares and Values", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 146, no. 1 (1990): 121-23; also Toos van Dijk and Nico de Jonge, "After Sunshine Comes Rain; a Comparative Analysis of Fertility Rituals in Marsela and Luang, South-East Moluccas", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 146, no. 1 (1990): 3-20, on Marsela and Luang (Babar) islands; Cecile Barraud, "Wife-givers as ancestors and ultimate values in the Kei islands", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 147, no. 2 (1991): 193-225, on rituals and art of the Kai islands; and Valerio Valeri, "Autonomy and Heteronomy in the Kahua Ritual; a Short Meditation on Huaulu Society", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 146, no. 1 (1990): 56-73, on Kuaulu rituals and art in the northern part of Seram island. Also see J.W. Ajawaila, "Marriage Rituals of the Galela People", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 146, no. 1 (1990): 93-102, about the Galela people in Halmahera; and J.D.M. Platenkamp, "The Severance of the Origin?; a Ritual of the Tobelo of North Halmahera", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 146, no. 1 (1990): 74-92, about the Tobela people of Halmahera.

6 Sections below on the Uliase islands, Buru, Banda, Aru and Babar are based entirely on secondary sources.

7 See, for example, Paramita Abdurachman, in "Moluccan Responses to the First Intrusions of the West", ed. H. Soebadio and C.A. du Marchie Servaas, Dynamics of Indonesian History (New York, Oxford: North Holland Co., 1978), pp. 161-68; Richard Chauvell, Nationalists, Soldiers and Separatists. The Ambonese Islands from Colonialism to Revolt, 1890-1950 (Leiden: KILTV Press, 1990); and Leonard Y. Andaya, The World of Maluku: Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period (Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 1993).

8 Francois Valentijn, "Beschrijvinge van Amboine" (Description of Ambon), in Francois Valentijn, Oud en Nieuw Oost Indien [Old and New East Indies] (Dordrecht-Amsterdam: J. van Braam, 1724-26), II. Valentijn was a Calvinist domine who served two terms under the VOC (Dutch army), mainly in Ambon in 1686-94 and 1705-1713. His description of aspects of North Maluku were based on secondary sources and personal communications. Valentijn devoted the first three volumes of his five-volume work Oud en Nieuw Oost Indien mainly to eastern Indonesia; and he included descriptions of the customs, art objects and history of Maluku. See Andaya, The World of Maluku, p. 20.

9 A.R. Wallace, The Malay Archipelago (London: Macmillan, 1869).

10 W. Joest, "Malayische Lieder und Tanze aus Ambon und den Uliase (Molukken)", International archives for ethnography V (1892): 1-3, 4.

11 See J.F. Snelleman, "Musiek en Muziekinstrumenten in Niederlandsch Oost- Indie", Encyclopedie van Nederlandsch-Indie (1918): 24-26.

12 See Jaap Kunst, "Een en ander over de muziek en den dans op de Kei-eilanden", Mededeling 64 des Koninklijke Vereeninging Indisch Instituut (Amsterdam, 1945).

13 See Claartje Gieben, Renee Heijnen and Anneke Sapuletej, Muziek en Dans Spelletjes en Kinderliedjes van de Molukken (Hoevelaken: Christelijk Pedagogisch Studiecentrum, 1984). Also see Gert Boonstra, "Beperapa Tjerita, Permainan dan Lagu dari Maluku", RPCZ pg Oom (Hoevelaken, 1982).

14 Margaret J. Kartomi, "Appropriation of Music and Dance in Contemporary Ternate and Tidore", Studies in Music 26 (1992): 85-95; and Margaret J. Kartomi, "Revival of Feudal Music, Dance and Ritual in the Former 'Spice Islands' of Ternate and Tidore", Culture and Society in New Order Indonesia, ed. Virginia Hooker (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 184-211.

15 S. McKinnon, From a Shattered Sum Hierarchy, Gender and Alliance in the Tanimbar Islands (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991).

16 Kartomi, "Revival of Feudal Music, Dance and Ritual", p. 198.
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Author:Kartomi, Margaret J.
Publication:Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Date:Mar 1, 1994
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