Art Culture, General


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 Continue reading “Didong”



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 Continue reading “GAYO”

Folk Tales

Malem Dewa

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 Continue reading “Malem Dewa”

Art Culture

Governor Horse Race

Visit Aceh year 2008,Governor will take part in the horse race

The annual celebrations for Indonesia’s 63nd independence anniversary and Visit Aceh Year 2008 in the Regency Aceh Tengah, will be held by the sport activity and the art exhibition.

Gayonese youths ride their horse during traditional horse race (Pacu kude) in Takengon, Central Aceh August 26, 2007. The event is part of the annual celebrations for Indonesia's 62nd independence anniversary.  REUTERS/Tarmizy Harva (
Gayonese youths ride their horse during traditional horse race (Pacu kude) in Takengon, Central Aceh August 26, 2007. The event is part of the annual celebrations for Indonesia's 62nd independence anniversary. REUTERS/Tarmizy Harva (
Two jockeys Childrens  encouraged his horse in the traditional race that took place in the Blang Bebangka Village, Pegasing District, Middle Aceh. Serambi/Hari Teguh Patria
Two jockeys Childrens ride their horse in the traditional race that took place in the Blang Bebangka Village, Pegasing District, Middle Aceh. Serambi/Hari Teguh Patria

Header Official affiliation, tourism and culture Middle aceh (Aceh Tengah), Drs Zulkifli Rahmat, on Tuesday (5/8), said, the race activity and the performance will colour Visit Aceh year 2008 and commemorated the 63 Indonesia BIRTHDAY. The race consisted of 14 branch sorts of sport, football, volleyball, athletics, basketball, takraw, wall Climbing, motor racing etc.

From the aspect of the culture, said Zulkifli, the traditional Gayo horse race that joined by four regencies, that is Aceh Tengah, Bener Meriah, Gayo Lues, and Bireun, will become the interesting show. “The horse racing during this year would in followed by the horse of Nad Governor, by the name of Cakradonya horse,” he said.

Continue reading “Governor Horse Race”


Pantan Terong

Heard words Terong (eggplants), you were definitely visible to delicious vegetables was eaten when having lunch. Don’t suspected, during to the Terong Hill, You will find many eggplants (terong). That only the name of a hill that was in the height 1.350 metre above sea level. From the hill, we were served by scenery that really captured. Takengon city, the capital Aceh tengah regency, and the Lut Tawar lake, apparently enchanted from on top of the hill.

Lut Tawar Lake From Pantan Terong Aceh Tengah 12 July
Lut Tawar Lake From Pantan Terong Aceh Tengah 12 July

The hill that also was known by the name of Khafi peak was enough to be known to be local by the environmentalist’s circle. Apart from, because beauty of the amazing Nature scenery, also because of the still natural forest was received behind. This place was also known as the aim of the tour agro and where being highest in the region a round of the Takengon city. At this time, this place was managed by the Service of Aceh Tengah tourism  with building facilities of two consisted of the main building, the house half of the permanent had two storeys, and one supporting building, along with the complete prayer room with sanitation.

The Terong hill Continue reading “Pantan Terong”

Art Culture, Social

GaYo Language

GaYo Language

Gayo language (bahasa Gayo) It was the language that said by the Gayo ethnic group in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, that was focussed in the Regency aceh Tengah (Central Aceh), Bener Meriah, Gayo Lues and the subdistrict serbejadi in the aceh Timur (East aceh) regency.
The three areas were the core territory of the Gayo ethnic group.This language including the Sunda-Sulawesi language group from the Austronesia language.
The Gayo language was one of the available languages in the Indonesian Archipelago.The existence of this language equally old him with the existence of the Gayo people “urang gayo” That himself in Indonesia.We could not separate the Gayo language from his speaker vice versa.
While the person Gayo was the original ethnic group that lived in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam.They had the language, the customs and traditions personally that distinguished their identity from other ethnic groups available in Indonesia.The area of their residence was personally mentioned with tanoh Gayo (Gayo land), to be precise was in the middle of the province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, Sumatra, Indonesia.

Available languages in the Indonesian Archipelago entered the Austronesia group (Merrit Ruhlen in the Attraction of the Language Indonesian Archipelago approach 21 century: 27).Whereas the Gayo Language including in the group of the language of Melayo-Polynesia like that was named by Domenyk Eades in his book of A Grammar of Gayo: A Language of Aceh, Sumatra:

“Gayo belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family of languages. Malayo-Polynesian languages are spoken in Taiwan, the Philippines, mainland South-East Asia, western Indonesia…”(Eades 2005:4)

This language (the Gayo language) was part of the language of Melayo-Polynesia, and dikelompokan in the Austronesia part like that it was mentioned Merrit Ruhlen above.
Specially, was still not known when and periodesasi the development of this language (Gayo).
That was certain, this language had been since this ethnic group occupied this area.
The person Gayo has personally occupied Aceh (Perlak and Pase, the east coast and some north Acehinese coasts) since before masehi (Ibrahim, 2002:1). Continue reading “GaYo Language”