Gendering dance, gazing music: Dance movements, healing rituals and music making

Md Nor, M.A. and Hussin, H. (2011) Gendering dance, gazing music: Dance movements, healing rituals and music making. In: International Council for Traditional Music World Conference, 13-19 July 2011, Newfoundland, Canada. (Submitted)

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Within the community of the nomadic 'sea gypsies' of the Sulu Sea, the Sarna Bajau or Bajau Laut of Malaysia and the Sarna Dilaut of the Southern Philippines share commonalities in the way dancers are gendered through the choices of musical tunes while partaking in the ritual healing ceremony of magpaibahau or magduwata (offering of newly harvested rice) and magpa-igal (for ancestors' spirit) or in the offering ceremony of pagkanduli (offerings for sea-spirits). Ritual healing ceremonies are signified with dancing (mag-igal) and playing of specific tunes (titik) by the kulintang music, which is often referred to as tagunggu " consisting of a set of graduated pot gongs, agung (two big hanging gongs) or tawag (large hanging gong), and tambul (double-headed snare drum). The tunes (titik) played for ritual healing ceremonies are meant for the spirit bearer (jin), which is represented by male spirit bearer tjin lelia) or female spirit bearer tjin denda). The tunes (titik) may also signify the places where these events take place such as titik lellang for the magduwata ritual amongst Bajau Kubang in Semporna, East Malaysia or titik limbayan for the pagkanduli ritual of the Sarna Dilaut in Sitangkai, in the Southern Philippines. Similarly, these tunes are associated with the gender of the spirit-bearers, such as titik lellang for the male spirit bearer (jin lelia) and titik limbayan for female spirit-bearer tjin denda). In other words, musical tunes of the tagunggu' or kulintang ensemble played during the ritual healing ceremonies are identified with the gender of the spirit (Jin), which have entered into the spirit bearers bodies, hence a male spirit bearing body may either become a male spirit tjin lelia) or a female spirit tjin denda). As an extension to the markers of gendering bodies, dance or igal within the context of these rituals are also identified and named after the tunes, such as igal Ieliang and igal limbayan respectively, This paper aims to highlight the responses between the tagunggu'/kulintang musicians and the dancing spirit-bearers in these two locations; Semporna in East Malaysia and Sitangkai in the Sulu Archipelago in Southern Philippines as they reciprocate on the gazes of the dancing spirit-bearers in sustaining appropriate rhythmic pulses to the tunes of gendered musical styles.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: A General Works > AC Collections. Series. Collected works
Depositing User: Mr. Mohd Samsul Ismail
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 00:14
Last Modified: 11 May 2015 00:14

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