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Musical Journeys in Sumatra$
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Margaret Kartomi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036712

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036712.001.0001

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The Riau Indragiri Sultanate’s Nobat Ensemble and its Suku Mamak Stalwarts

The Riau Indragiri Sultanate’s Nobat Ensemble and its Suku Mamak Stalwarts

(p.126) 6 The Riau Indragiri Sultanate’s Nobat Ensemble and its Suku Mamak Stalwarts
Musical Journeys in Sumatra

Margaret Kartomi

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the gendang nobat ensemble in two of Riau's musico-lingual subgroups: the Indragiri-Kuantan Malays, represented by the descendants of the former Indragiri palace at Rengat, and their forest-dwelling loyal Suku Dalem (or Suku Mamak) subjects. Tradition holds that ever since the Malay palace at Malacca was founded in the fifteenth century C.E., the gendang nobat (nobat drums) have served as an indispensable symbol of the regalia that authorized the ruler's sovereignty. If a nobat was stolen or lost, the sultan who had owned it lost all his power. The chapter first describes the gendang nobat ensemble at Indragiri, with particular emphasis on the features of of the royal Malay nobat drums, before discussing the history of the Indragiri kingdom and its nobat. It suggests that followers of the former lndragiri palace, especially the Suku Mamak people, still feel a warm nostalgia for the old palace culture, and that aspects of the royal nobat rhythms may live on in Suku Mamak drumming in other ritual contexts.

Keywords:   gendang nobat ensemble, Riau, Rengat, Malacca, Indragiri-Kuantan Malays, Indragiri palace, Suku Mamak people, nobat drums, drumming

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