Welcome to the Rhythm of the Indonesian Archipelago!
In today’s edition, we will invite you to visit Banten namely Pandeglang. Actually, this region is not far from Jakarta. The province was part of West Java province but it has been expanded since 2000 based on the law No. 23/2000. Its central government is in Serang. The region has traditions which are still preserved by people and supported by Banten Tourism Office. One of the traditions which is still preserved by Pandeglang people is Rampak Bedug.
Almost in all mosques, Bedug is found and used by local people as media to remind obligatory prayers’ time. The word of “Rampak” means “Serempak” or in English means ‘Simultaneous’. So, “Rampak Bedug” is bedug art by using Waditra, namely “many” bedugs and beaten simultaneously and it produces beautiful typical rhythm. Rampak Bedug only exists in Banten as characteristic of Banten’s culture. Rampak Bedug” is development of bedug art or Ngadulag. Ngabedug can be played by someone professional. The Head of Tourism Agency of Banten on 2016 DR. Moh. Ali Fadilah explain history of Banten kingdom.
“…Long before the establishment of Banten Sultanate, there was Sundanese kingdom which was not different from its tradition, and language with West Java. When the sultanate entered to Banten region, there was cultural assimilation between Javanese and Sundanese cultures. Thus, Banten has many sources which can be found from local tradition. It can be seen from its art, and its north beach. Take, for example, many arts are in Islamic nuance; South Banten has more traditions related to religious rituals, especially to commemorate or just express gratitude to the God on its abundant harvest.” He said.
Rampak Bedug was performed for the first time in 1950s. At that time, in Pandeglang district, competition was held among hamlets. Then, in 1960-1970, Haji Ilen created creative dance in Rampak Bedug which has developed today. Then, Rampak Bedug is again developed by Burhata, Juju, and Rahmat. Therefore, Haji Ilen and his friends are the figures of Rampak Bedug art. From those artists, Rampak Bedug art spread to other regions. Until the end of 2002, there were many Rampak Bedug groups. For the first time, Rampak Bedug was to welcome the holy month of Ramadhan and Idul Fitri. Its performance is like Ngabedug or Ngadulag. Meanwhile, Banten Culturist, Rohaendi give brief information about how the tradition begins.
“…At the beginning, to compete bedug was to show masculinity of a hamlet where young men or residents of the hamlet had power. More bedugs which are owned showed that the hamlet had a man who was stronger. When Idul Fitri or when Ramadan came, there was a tradition where residents conducted bedug nganjor. Nganjor was to move. Certainly, its bedug was not as big as bedug which was beaten when there was a competition. Because the then nganjor was mobile and its bedug was smaller to carry around alleyway. Those people who carried it shouted one another and then, they met in one place to play together.” He said.
Bedug itself is one of percussion instruments. Interestingly, the typical bedug of Banten is not made from wood like other bedugs in Indonesia. Bedug from Banten is made from coconut trunk which is perforated on the middle. Then, one side is covered by using cow leather and tied with disc earring made from guava tree. Rampak Bedug is genial art and can attract the audiences, so that Rampak Bedug is worth selling, similar with other commercial musical arts. Although the originators and players are based on religious motivation, Rampak Bedug artists and creators view it as a valuable work of art.
“…According to the people in Pandeglang, Bedug is a tradition which becomes power and symbol of masculinity. Then, it develops as other traditions and it follows the changing times, which originally came from music only. When there is requirement for performance, technical elements of the performance are combined with the art. There are choreography, fashion arrangement, stage arrangement and many others. Now, people call it as Rampak Bedug. Actually, it is not only music but also dance, fine art, theater in it .” Rohaendi continue.
Religious, economic and creative values make Banten people be able to preserve Rampak Bedug. The functions of the values make Rampak Bedug survive from the influence of foreign culture which is loved by young generation. Rampak Bedug is not only an art for Banten people but also a tradition.
“…A tradition will survive if people need it. It is impossible, if people want to preserve it without surviving it. And Karang Tanjung, belonging to Kembang Tanjung studio proves that they do not only talk but also do it. What the elder did with various creations and packages still survives and this is loved by young people.” He added.
Creative art will develop rapidly. Rampak Bedug is getting richer and richer with creativity without eliminating values which have been determined in the art. Diversity and togetherness exist clearly in Rampak Bedug.