"Reje Musuket Sipet,Imem Muperlu Sunet,Petue Musidik Sasat,Rayat Genap Mupakat"


Didong The Traditional Art of Gayo

Didong The Traditional Art of Gayo

Didong The Traditional Art of Gayo

Communities in Aceh Tengah Gayo live in the mountains or plateaus. They still preserve the artistic culture of one nation is Didong. Didong is a traditional art that is very popular and desired by Gayo society. The artist was called with the title-ceh ceh Didong. There are several names Didong famous players, including Lakiki CEH, CEH To’et, Daman CEH, CEH Ibrahim Kadir, Lakiki Ujang CEH, CEH Ucak, Seven CEH, CEH Session Temas Idris, and CEH Abd Rauf.

Didong a performance art done by the men in groups (usually numbering 15 people), with free expression, as he sat cross-legged or standing, stamping his feet. They recite verses Gayo language with melodious voice, while manabuh drum, pillow or saucepan and clapped as varied, so that the sound and motion create a beautiful and interesting.
B. Privileges
Traditional performing arts that became the pride of Gayo society is able to survive today in the midst of technological developments and the influence of westernization. People do not get enough of watching ceh-ceh Didong berdidong in almost every night the week. Was done to show the whole night (from evening until dawn).

Poems are recited by the power of fusion art configuration of motion, literature and sound like “voodoo” the audience to “drift” and continue to listen to the social and religious reflection Read the rest of this entry »


august 29 2009

ETHNONYMS: Gayo, Gajo, urang Gayó, Gayonese


Identification. The Gayo live predominantly in the central highlands of Aceh Province in Sumatra, Indonesia, and are Sunni Muslims. Gayo refer to themselves as “Urang Gayo,” meaning “Gayo people,” primarily on grounds of command of basa Gayo, the Gayo language.

Gayonese Groom with neck and head jewelry./6470

Gayonese Bridegroom and bride with neck and head jewelry./6470

Location. The Gayo homeland lies across the Bukit Barisan Range in Aceh Province, between 40 and 5° N and 96° and 980 E. The range divides the homeland into four plateaus, each with a river system along which Gayo have settled. The largest concentration of settlement is the town of Takengen (Takengon) by Lake Lat tawar. The area gradually declines in elevation from about 1,500 meters in the north to  about 500 meters in the south. Northeast trade winds bring heavy rains in a four-month period between October and  March; the southeast trades can bring a lighter rainfall between April and September.

Demography. The 1980 population of the district of Central Aceh was 163,339, of which about 140,000 were Gayo speakers. In the 1980s about 45,000 Gayo resided in other districts in the Aceh highlands and about 25,000 lived elsewhere in Indonesia, giving a total population of about 210,000 Gayo.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Gayo language belongs to the Western Indonesian Branch of the Austronesian Family and lexically is most closely related to the Batak Subfamily. The presence of Mon-Khmer loanwords suggests early coastal contacts with some Mon-Khmer-language-speaking societies.  The earliest known writing in Gayo used the Jawi script (Arabic letters) but since the 1950s most Gayo have used standard Indonesian orthography. By the 1980s most Gayo had at least minimal competence in the Indonesian language.

History and Cultural Relations

Substantial written references to the Gayo only begin in the late nineteenth century. It is likely, however, that the Gayo homeland belonged to the Islamic kingdom of Aceh in the seventeenth century and that Islamization of the area had begun by that time. At the outbreak of the Aceh-Dutch war
in 1873, Gayo possessed a strong sense of ethnic distinctiveness but recognized a nominal Acehnese suzerainty. Some Gayo continued to resist the Dutch after the invasion of the highlands in 1904. During Dutch occupation (1904-1942) Gayo developed a thriving cash-crop economy in vegetables and coffee, attained a relatively high level of basic education,
and participated in the movements of Islamic modernism and Indonesian nationalism. Gayo fought to maintain Read the rest of this entry »


Malim Dewa

M.J. Melalatoa
Translated by Krishna

The Pesangan river winded through the forest like a giant snake. The closer you got to its source the clearer blue its water and thicker the forest around it. Malim Dewa was walking up towards the top of the river. He walked alone, accompanied only by a beautiful dream. In his hand was a lock of hair as large as a duck’s egg. He had been twisting and curling it around his fingers as he walked and he had been walking for days. His heart had been captured by the vision of a woman’s beautiful face, the one whose lock of hair he held in his palm. The beautiful dream made him walk on with spirit despite physical tiredness. The long way he had traversed had been full of problems. He had to crawl through thorny woods, walk over fallen trees that were slippery with moss grown all over them, cross a gaping gorge On the other hand, the song of wild birds brought joy to his soul, the soft breeze whistling though the trees made his journey pleasant. Somewhere from the edge of his imagination, a beautiful face smiled out at him. He was exhausted, he sat down for a rest. His mind was too tired to think of which way he should go. He’d take the road to the right, he thought, they say the way to the right brings success. He got up and started walking again. His mind travelled back to those twinkling eyes. Oh …, I’m getting closer to her, closer to the maiden who has no match on this earth. But his feet were tired. So he sat down again in the shade of a tree. He watched the dancing ripples on the river. From the bag that lay beside him, he took out a flute. He began to play a soft romantic tune on it. Its sweet high notes rose over the trees and pierced the sky. His spirits rose with the music. If only she could hear this music of my soul. Oh …, I hope she can hear it, I hope she can! But perhaps it’s still too vague and distant a music for her ears. I must get closer to her, close enough that she may be drawn to my music. Malim Dewa rose. He hung his bag across his shoulder and started walking. He seemed more lively and more sure of himself. He walked through the day and slept under thé trees at night. One morning when it was still very early, he heard a cock crow.

To start with, he thought that this was only to announce the dawn. He rose, rubbing his eyes. He listened attentively, with his head cocked to one side. His heart jumped in joy. He was close to village, he thought. The cock crowing on and on from the midst of solitude seemed to Malim Dewa to be singing a welcome song for him. It woke him up completely. He was still swinging between excitement and distress, while the dawn approached from behind the eastern-hills.

Malim Dewa walked slowly, watching the dawn as it spread out on the leaves of trees. He felt the forest was getting thinner. The early morning grey and pink began to brighten, spreading light all over the earth. Birds were noisily setting out in sear»»’ of food. Malim Dewa enjoyed the life and beauty around him. He was eager to find the village from which cocks had been calling out. He looked around, but could see nothing. The south was walled by hills. In the east distant grey hills lined the horizon. It was à cold day. The breeze bit into the bones. Malim Dewa was walking slowly, stiff in the joints, when suddenly he heard the sound of laughter. He listened intently. Some people were laughing—women! Although they were still quite far away, Malim Dewa now moved with the careful passion of a cat chasing a mouse. His heart beat fast, his breath was slow like that of a very frightened man. It was as if he was afraid that those women would hear him breathing. Hiding himself behind the bushes, Malim Dewa observed a beautiful panorama. The river widened there and the water was calm. In the middle of it stood a rock. It was like a huge dough-nut sticking out of the water. Malim Dewa sat spellbound, looking at seven naked figures of pure gold. They were bathing and playing around like children.

Malim Dewa sat ready in his heading place

Malim Dewa sat ready in his heading place

One of them squirted water on another’s face. Another pulled the legs of the girl who was lying on the rock, thus dragging her into the water and she screamed as she slipped in. One girl sat on the rock washing her hair. The tips of her long tresses were swept by the river. Watching the water playing among those long locks, Malim Dewa remembered the Read the rest of this entry »


When Renggali’s Fragrance is not as Good as Seulanga
Hairul Anwar

“EXCUSE me gentlemen, I have been making you wait. I just arrived from Bener Meriah. I had a little bit business,” Iwan Gayo said. He welcomed his guests friendly.

Five men have been waiting for him about an hour. Iwan had invited them to his house at Paya Tumpi, Takengon, Aceh Tengah district. Iwan also asked me to meet them on 7 February 2008.

Iwan clarified why does he invites them, lengthy. His tone is up and down, as well as a preacher in church or mosque. Sometimes he stand up and then back to his chair.

“The demand for ALA extension became our parent motivation, including my father, Abubakar Bintang, head of Indonesia National Party (PNI). Since 1945, they have been struggling for it. However, it never occurred as Aceh was in war, ranging from Dutch to Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (Free Aceh Movement),” Iwan said.

Those five men were listening quietly. They did not interrupt him.

“As head of village, please do tell your population. Tell them that Acehnese people in the hinterland where located in five districts were demanding to establish new province. Therefore, we could take good care of the people. If there come any support, let us together go to Jakarta. We will give our support to the commission II in house of representative (DPR) to signing the law of government of ALA,” he continued.

Iwan showed them sample of a piece of letter from a village headman. It is a form of conformity the head of village to fly to Jakarta. He will also conform to follow sort of constraints, such as not to bring any kind of blades, keep him under control, and … the most important is, ready to sleep in house of representative building as a way to fight the demand.

“I’m joining you. I’m ready,” a guest said.

“Yeah … I agree,” said the man next to him.

“I suggest all of village headman to gather before we go to Jakarta. Some of them have not known yet about our struggle of ALA province establishment. We have to brief them first,” the other village headman interrupted.

Going to Jakarta is not as simple as they thought. Besides its distance, the cost from Aceh to Jakarta is quite expensive.

“We would take some contribution from them, at least five thousand rupiah,” Iwan said.

The supporters of the ALA province establishment had planed they will go to Jakarta on April 2008. It means there are two months remain to take the contribution. Then, Iwan give them donation form.

“Number of contribution should note down as well as the identity,” Iwan continued.

Iwan Gayo is member of Read the rest of this entry »



Tawar Sedenge

Tawar Sedenge

Engon ko so tanoh Gayo
Si megah mu reta dele
Rum batang uyem si ijo kupi bako e

Pengen ko tuk ni korek so
Uwet mi ko tanoh Gayo
Seselen pumu ni baju netah dirimu

Nti daten bur kelieten
Mongot pude deru
Oya le rahmat ni Tuhen ken ko bewenmu

Uwetmi ko tanoh Gayo
Semayak bajangku Read the rest of this entry »


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