Programme West Sumatra Evening

Saluang Dendang
Pencak Silat
Nan Jombang

The saluang is the traditional bamboo flute of the Minangkabau people of Sumatra. Measuring 75 centimetres, it is relatively long and played at an angle. The flutist blows air from the corner of the mouth in a circular way: inhaling through the nose at the same time as exhaling from the mouth, enabling him to play for hours without any breathing pause. Although the saluang is now appearing more and more in Indonesian pop, it traditionally accompanies dendang, classical Minangkabau singing. In harmony or at counterpoint with the flutist, a singer humorously recites local folktales about love and nature.

Pencak silat is an umbrella term for a class of related Indonesian martial arts. In neighbouring countries the term usually refers to professional competitive silat. It is a full-body fighting form incorporating strikes, grappling and throwing in addition to weaponry. Every part of the body is used and subject to attack. Pencak silat was practiced not only for physical defense but also for psychological ends.

WHISPERING OF EXILE – Nan Jombang Dance Company
Revered Indonesian choreographer Ery Mefri brings his acclaimed company Nan Jombang to Belgium for the first time with an intoxicating work that incorporates coiled bodies, exacting feats of balance and spellbinding control—punctuated by bursts of chanting, clapping and body percussion. Rooted in the spiritual and martial arts traditions of West Sumatra’s Minangkabau ethnic minority, the company—consisting entirely of members of the Mefri family—incorporates elements of modern Western movement, while touching on current issues faced by Minang society. The resulting dance drama, Rantau Berbisik (Whispering of Exile), resonantly enacts a time-honored rite of passage: the bittersweet journeys of young men who must leave their native villages to seek fortune out in the wider world.