KELANTAN - EAST COAST REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA

RICH CULTURE & HERITAGE

 
 

For the people of Kelantan, culture is held clear. Time-honoured practices and age-old customs still hold sway, and the cultural tapestry is made up of captivating traditional pastimes, colourful performances and exquisite crafts. A trip to Kelantan will be incomplete without taking time to enjoy the many cultural performances, passionately and skillfully presented by the locals.

 
 

GELANGGANG SENI / CULTURAL CENTRE

Jalan Mahmud, Kota Bharu

 

Locally known as Gelanggang Seni, the Cultural Centre is a veritable showcase of the state?s rich cultural heritage. Watch an enthralling range of folk arts and traditional performances, such as wayang kulit or shadow puppetry, silat or the Malay martial arts, gasing or top-spinning, wau or giant kite-flying and rebana ubi, the giant drum. Gelanggang Seni is only open from February to September. The performance schedule can be found at major hotels, and the Kelantan State Tourist Information Centre.

 

Performances are held four times a week :

Sundays and Mondays ; 3:30pm - 5:30pm

Wednesdays and Saturdays ; 3.30pm - 5.30pm & 9.00pm - 11.00pm

 

Admission is free.

Tel: 09-748 5534 / 3543

 
 
 

KAMPUNG KRAFTANGAN / HANDICRAFT VILLAGE

Kota Bharu

 

Set within a beautiful village setting, the complex houses a Craft Museum known as Balai Getam Guri, craft shops, tourism offices and a restaurant nearby. Performances and demonstrations are held from time to time at the courtyard. Visitors can buy unique souvenirs and handicrafts at the shops or take in the lovely views of its immaculately landscaped garden. Drop by at the tourism Malaysia Office situated here for more information on the state?s attractions. Opening hours: 8.30am - 4.45pm daily (except Fridays).

 

Admission to the Handicraft Village is free.

Tel: 09-744 3949

Visitors will have to pay an admission fee to enter the Craft Museum

 
 
 

ENTHRALLING PASTIMES

& PERFORMANCES

 

WAYANG KULIT

 

This is a shadow play theatre, performed by casting animated puppet shadows on a white cloth screen. The puppet characters and stories are usually adapted from ancient epics. The master storyteller, or tok dalang, conducts the whole show from behind the screen by reciting the tale with appropriate sounds and movements. Hearing the storyteller change his voice to suit the different characters is one of the highlights of the show. The figures, made of cow or buffalo hide, can be ordered and purchased as souvenirs.

 
 
 

DIKIR BARAT

 

Unique to Kelantan, dikir barat is a lively group performance sung in an unmistakable local dialect. The lead singer or tukang karut belts out the lyrics while the group members repeat the chorus lines with rhythmic clapping and hand movements. The upbeat tempo and enthusiasm of the performers make it an engaging and highly entertaining show. Dikir barat is sometimes accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as gong, rebana (drum) and serunai (flute).

 
 
 

GASING / TOP-SPINNING

 

This traditional game requires physical dexterity, precision and strength. Casing or the Malay top is made of metal or timber weighing as much as 5.5kg. It can sometimes be as big as a dinner plate. The top is launched into a spin by swiftly unfurling a rope wrapped around the body. Following this, it is scooped off the ground using a wooden bat and transferred onto a low post with a metal receptacle. In competitions, skilful spinners launch the gasing to spin for hours to outlast their opponents.

 
 
 

SILAT

 

A fascinating Malay martial art, silat features elaborate movements, precision timing and highly skilled manoeuvres. Originally used for self-defense, silat is today recognised as an international sport. It is often performed at weddings and ceremonial occasions.

 
 
 

REBANA UBI

 

The beating of giant drums known as rebana ubi is a special feature at Kelantanese festivals. Vibrantly decorated, each drum can weigh up to 100kg. In the past, rebana ubi was used as a mode of communication, to make royal announcements, wedding proclamations or danger warnings. The great gusto of the drummers and the reverberating sound produced make it an awe-inspiring performance.

 
 
 

KERTOK

 

A traditional xylophone, the kertok is fashioned from a large coconut shell. Its top is sliced off and a piece of wooden bar is fastened across to form a sounding board, Each part of the board produces a different tune. Decorated with strings of flowers, the brightly coloured kertok is a major feature in cultural performances and festive occasions in Kelantan. Most performances take place at Gelanggang Seni. To enquire about other venues, con tact Tourism Malaysia Kelantan Office or the Kelantan State Tourist In formation Centre.

 
 
 
 
RICH CULTURE & HERITAGE
KELANTAN - EAST COAST REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA