The traditional music and dance culture of the local “Orang Sungai” (River People) people are unique and diverse. Loud and resonant brass gongs are at the heart of the rich and melodic sounds with traditional wood and bamboo gongs a smaller niche with more natural timbre. Traditional music is still highly valued by the local people and is still played at local weddings and a welcome highlight at many local cultural events. Alongside local language, traditional music is at the heart of local identity and the art and tradition is passed down from generation to generation with much pride.website
Traditional melody and rhythms played by the Monompos Culture Group at KOPEL are unique to the Kinabatangan. In the long-distant past, performing artists have always played an important part of entertainment and take-on a special role for creating the right atmosphere for merriment or celebration. Local ceremonies and special events would simply not be the same without the accompanying gong music. The full flare has more than twenty people performing and involves a full set of dancers and backup crew.
Each of the local instrumental melodies have special names and has an associated dance that can accompany and embellish the performance. Local dancers perform unique and ornate steps, with hand and body movements that mimic both nature and legend. Elegant movements combine with the musical performance to tell a story from the past or tease with hidden meanings. Musical stories are not so obvious at first glance but these classic dances entrance their audiences with mystical flare. It is easy to see why local music and dance, is a highlight of local culture and community, as it reverberates afar and provides a necessary calling and signals that something special is due to happen.
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