Healthy Living- Dikir Barat


Date: 02nd September 2018 (Saturday)

Number of hours: 4 hours

Time: 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Category : Healthy Living


Dikir barat is typically performed by groups of ten to fifteen members and they will usually sit cross-legged on the platform, sometimes surrounded by the audience. With a flexible format that incorporates singing, poetry, movement and music, dikir barat is a form of entertainment that cuts across various segments of society.  This group of performers is called ‘awok-awok’. Alongside with the awok-awok, we have two lead singers, Tok Juara (Leader) and Tukang Karut (Song Initiator) also called as ‘frontmen’ as a whole. Of course Dikir Barat or any other performing arts would not be complete without any percussionist. Our percussionist is called ‘Paluan’. The Traditional instruments consists of “Ibu Rebana, Anak Rebana, Maracas, Gong, Canang”.


I started joining Dikir Barat when I was in secondary two. My sister was the one who persuaded me to join at first and the first time that I went for the orientation in secondary school was not that fun and I felt like I went for the sake of committing to a CCA. We started off with some icebreaking activities to get to know and bond with each other. After that, the seniors and instructors teach us on the basic things like the proper way of sitting when performing and also on how to clap properly. The seniors did a little performance for us to watch and learn. That was when I felt like my heart and soul belongs to Dikir Barat. The music played by the percussionists, the singing by both of the frontmen, the claps from the ‘awok-awok’, movements and everything just blend in well together. Watching the seniors perform really calms my mind and hype up my energy level.

Up till now, I am still currently in a dikir barat group but in ITE College West. This dikir barat group is called ‘Sri Ratu Wilmana’. We train twice a week, on every Tuesday and Thursday, consecutively. But on examination period, we will usually pause or have a break for a moment to prepare for our examinations. We will usually continue after the examination period is over. We hold our training sessions at school, in a room with a mirror for us to practice or train. During our competition period, the percussionists will train in a different room so that both ‘awok-awok’ and percussionists can focus more on their own tasks. On that peak period, we will have extra training sessions too.


Last week, on 02nd  September 2018 (Saturday), we prepared and trained hard for our upcoming competition which is on 15th September 2018 (Saturday). As the Tok Juara, I do my part and listened to the audio that was being sent by my instructor to memorize when I am at home so that it will smoothen the flow of our training as we do not have much time to waste. When I reach, I will usually sit in front of all the ‘awok-awok’, gather their attention and lead them to do this practise that we will usually do before we start our training session which is to project more of their voice from the stomach, which is called “Pecah Suara” which also means “Breaking of the Voice”. After doing so, i will hand the task over to one of the ‘awok-awok’ to lead the rest as i have other things to do too, like memorizing not only the lyrics of the song but to also know the melody along the way and add some vibratos in it. As for the “Tukang Karut”, their tasks are almost the same as the “Tok juara”, just that it has more requirements and also have more things to memorize and learn. Usually, my partner (Tukang Karut) will go to a corner of our training room and rehearse or memorize the songs that were given to her, together with an instructor that will guide her on her singing techniques. On the Paluan (Percussionists) side, my instructor plan beats for each of the percussionists to play and it usually took more than an hour for them to master certain beats and techniques of how to play it on the instruments they were given. It took months for everyone to master but took weeks if all of us cooperate.

Challenges I faced:

the challenges i faced were the people in my team. It is hard for me to lead them sometimes as they were talking among themselves. I had to remind them that one person should speaks at a time, over and over again. This leads us to having difficulties to proceed to meet the objectives of the training.

Lessons i have learnt:

I learnt the importance of respecting one another, especially when someone is talking. There can be an important message that the person wants to pass on. If we missed out the message, there may be misunderstanding between one another and also, i think it is not a pleasant thing to have the person to repeat the message all over again.


Above, is a picture of my team and I, after a competition called “Piala Suara Serumpun” .