Home ยป Raja Ampat Identity in the Suling Tambur Musical Instrument

Raja Ampat Identity in the Suling Tambur Musical Instrument

by Senaman
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Raja Ampat, an area in the southwestern part of Papua Province, is famous for its natural beauty, archipelago and beautiful coastline. But it turns out that there is another beauty that this region has for the art and culture of the people. The name of this art is Suling Tambur. This art, which takes the form of musical performance with handmade instruments from the local community in Raja Ampat, is an existing cultural construct aculturation. Papua already has its own instruments, such as the Tifa, which is played by beating like a drum, and the Fuu, which is played by blowing. Later, these two instruments were modified due to the influence of immigrants from Maluku, Southeast Sulawesi, as well as missionaries spreading Christianity. The Suling Tambur was born in a process of aculturation.

The meaning of playing the Suling Tambur is to pray and praise God. It can therefore be said that the Suling Tambur is played by the people of Raja Ampat as a form of worship. The cultural impact of the missionaries spreading Christianity was obvious. But everyone can enjoy the Suling Tambur because of its beauty.

The tools used in Suling Tambur are made with the natural resources of Raja Ampat. Starting with bamboo flutes, not everyone can make flutes because the level of difficulty in making them is quite high. If the steps are incorrect or omitted, the sound of the flute will not match the note being played. The drum itself was originally made of stingray and shark skin. However, nowadays barrels are made of deer and goat skin. The drum house is made of Raja Ampat wood.

The Suling Tambur is not only used in worship but also in various traditional ceremonies in Raja Ampat. From traditional wedding ceremonies to attending someone’s funeral. In this sacred event, prayers are offered with drums and flutes. This is done to ensure that the wedding goes off smoothly and that the bride and groom’s lives are blessed with an abundance of gifts and treasures to make the relationship last a lifetime. When used in traditional death ceremonies, the purpose of playing the Suling Tambur is for the soul of the deceased to find its best place, namely heaven.

The Regional Government of South West Papua Province is working with the Regional Government of Raja Ampat to preserve the Suling Tambur. The Suling Tambur Festival is held every five years with a Suling Tambur performance competition involving community groups throughout the South West Papua region. Even in 2022, the Suling Tambur Festival broke the record for the most participants recorded in the Indonesian Record Archives.

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