Special Traditional Songs To Be Played During King's Installation

Last update: 13/04/2017

By Mohd Fakri Awang Lah

TUMPAT, April 13 (Bernama) -- The traditional songs 'Raja Berangkat', 'Seri Istana' and 'Raja Bertabal' will be played by the Gendang Besar D'Raja Kelantan band in conjunction with the installation of Sultan Muhammad V as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on April 24 at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur.

The band's leader, Zaiduna Jauhar, 62, said the songs were specially dedicated to the Sultan of Kelantan, and only played on certain occasions.

"The song which is played most often is 'Raja Berangkat', that is upon the arrival and departure of any Sultan of Kelantan at Balairung Seri, Istana Kota Lama in Kota Bharu, each year, on the birthday of the Sultan.

"The only time the song was played outside the norm was when Seri Paduka (Sultan Muhammad V) left for Kuala Lumpur to ascend the throne as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Dec 13 last year, and it was played at the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Pengkalan Chepa in Kota Bharu," he said.

He said this when met by Bernama during the band's training session at Wakaf Tembesu, Berangan, here.

According to Zaiduna, the 'Seri Istana' song is played during the procession of the royal regalia, while 'Raja Bertabal' is played during the ascension of a Sultan to the throne.

"Both of these songs - Seri Istana and Raja Bertabal - are only played once in the lifetime of a Sultan when he is installed as the ruler of the state.

"However, all three of these songs will be played in conjunction with the inauguration of Sultan Muhammad V as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur on April 24," he said.

Zaiduna said the three songs, especially Raja Bertabal, could not be played at will among the public without the consent of the Sultan of Kelantan.

"The songs also cannot be recorded, and the musicians must be alert to the melodies of each song while training to master them properly.

"This is to ensure that the songs are not disseminated to the public, and remain the sole property of the Sultan of Kelantan," he said.

He said the band comprised nine people - two flautists, a gong player, two fiddlers, and four large drum beaters.

Asked about the history of the band, he said it was established about 150 years ago by his grandfather, Che Umar Daud, who was the Seri Pendekar Diraja, the chief of all warriors in Kelantan at the time.

Zaiduna, who is the third generation leading the band, said the fiddles, drums and gongs - about 150 years old - were still used by the band on the birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan.

He said the four drums were made of jackfruit wood due to its anti-rotting properties, while the gong was made of copper, and kept at the Istana Balai Besar, Kota Bharu.

Zaiduna said prior to each presentation, the team would recite the al-Fatihah chapter from the Quran and offer blessings to prophet Muhammad, praying for the smooth running of the performance on the day.

He said the band was created in Wakaf Tembesu, and many of its current members were descendants of previous band players.

"However, there are some members who are not descendants, but we took them into the band as trainees.

"Among them, is local Chinese flautist, Yap Chong Sing, 63, who has spent nearly 20 years with the band, and is the only non-Malay," he said.

Zaiduna added that self-discipline and commitment was a crucial trait required of each member of the band, as they only trained formally for one month each year.

He said interestingly, the senior players could play a number of different instruments and could detect if there was anything amiss in the melodies.

"For example, Che Hussin Che Soh, 57, the flautist, is also an expert with the drums.

"This is a small service we devote to the land where we were born, and the Sultan of Kelantan as the ruler of his people," he said.