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Okt '06

Bona Ni Ogung (The Tree of Life)

Jeffar Lumban Gaol Ensemble
Gaol, the leader of this ensemble, is a Toba-Batak, the largest of six ethnic groups inhabiting the area of northern Sumatra dominated by Lake Toba. Gaol lived for a time in Jakarta and studied composition there, but during a journey back to his village, he had a musical conversion experience which prompted him to seek out traditional musicians and establish an ensemble that would both preserve and explore the music of his culture.

Liner notes allude to Gaol’s musical “experiments,” but it is clear that he wants to revitalize and extend tradition, rather than simply recording it.

Although most Westerners associate Indonesian music with the gong-based gamelan orchestra, gongs play a relatively minor role in Toba-Batak music, and in the Gaol ensemble their role is reduced even further to the extent that the sound of the single gong is sometimes almost subliminal. Much more prominent in Gaol’s ensemble are the taganing, a set of seven tuned drums suspended on a horizontal pole. The ensemble uses three (!) sets of these drums, and their collective sound, as they are played in precise, interlocking patterns, is perhaps the single most impressive thing about the recording. Indeed, the sections for unaccompanied drums can sound distinctly African in their intensity and complexity.

Also present in the ensemble are the sounds of the buzzing sarune oboes, the seruling (bamboo) flutes and stringed, lute-like instruments called hasapi.

Two broad forms of music exist in the Toba-Batak culture, and both are represented on this CD. The first is the sacred gondang music, which traditionally has accompanied religious and ceremonial functions. It’s most often relentless and quite hypnotic, with the drums thundering and shrill, nasal oboes following cyclical patterns in unison. The combination of percussion and reeds, and the frenzied pace of some of the pieces, creates some uncanny parallels with Moroccan trance music. The function of gondang music evolved significantly in late 19th and 20th centuries, after the Toba-Batak’s more-or-less wholesale conversion to Christianity, but there is no question that this music once had a function similar to the Moroccan music, i.e., of inducing ritual trance states in the participants.

The gondang uning-uningan style is a lighter, secular version the ceremonial music, with a much stronger melodic content. It developed partly as a response to the suppression of the sacred music by Western missionaries (which they no doubt found quite alien and formidable), and while drums are still prominent, the oboes are generally replaced or supplemented with chirping bamboo flutes and the strumming of the two-stringed hasapi.

Like the sacred gondang music, the uning-uningan also has cross-cultural resonance. Gaol sometimes encourages this hybridization (one of his pieces is titled “Variation on a Western Melody”), but even on the more traditional pieces, the effect is startling in similarity to a very good South American folk ensemble.

Sacred, ceremonial or secular, the music on this CD is highly enjoyable, and it offers yet another perspective on an area of the world that is astoundingly rich in musical expression.

Sumber : Bill Tilland, BBC

Ada 2 tanggapan untuk artikel “Bona Ni Ogung (The Tree of Life)”

  1. Tanggapan Franky Fransiskus Silaban:

    Dear ALL, Silaban Brotherhood…
    Very Exceeded Expectation for music of BATAK.

    Franky Fransiskus Silaban

  2. Tanggapan thober juntak:

    horas! cukup memenuhi kebutuhanku akan info bona pasogit. klo boleh usul buat halaman yang pake bahasa indonesia juga lah lae.. aku perlu banyak info seputar gondang, sebab aku boleh dibilang sekarang kerja sebagai pargocci.. terutama istilah istilah di dalam taganing itu sendiri. entah ini tanggapan atau usul, hamu ma na mangantusi…. mauliate… salute!!!!!!

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