Kelantan Silat

Kelantan Silat
Silat is generally called ‘the Malay art of self defense’, but isn’t unique to the peninsula.

A Kelantan silat performance is accompanied by a small ensemble of long drums, Indian oboes and gongs, which generate a loose set of cross rhythms.

Two Malay men in baggy dark costumes, topped by a draped head cloth, face each other in the sandpit where this dance-exercise is usually held, though for weddings and other entertainment it can be performed on a mat indoors.

The initial passes are dignified, almost slow but as the music intensifiers, the flowing movements change.

The combatants grip each other other and the first to throw his opponent to the ground is the winner.

The music rises to a crescendo as the silat intensifiers, the serunai screeching atonally while the drums and gongs quicken their loose rhythm.

In a very different of assemble, six to twelve men play pentatonically tuned wooden xylophones.

The rhythmic melody they hammer out in unison is fast and jolly and all the players end each piece at precisely the same time, raising their beater overhead as they do so.
Kelantan Silat
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