During our last village trip, there was a huge church service and celebration to mark the end of the Christmas season. Everyone from all over the area was invited and there was a big potluck meal afterwards. Following that, there was batunjuk. This is a tradition from North Sulawesi that immigrants brought with them to our area, and the best way to describe it is a good old-fashioned hymn sing. Everyone sits in a circle inside the church and two people are chosen to start and are given flowers to hold. They choose the first song and as everyone sings they walk around the circle in opposite directions. When the song is over, the flowers are given to the person where they stop and those two new people pick the next song. This continues for several hours, sometimes even all night! The songs are chosen only from the old, traditional Christian songs that are rarely sung anymore, so it has a nostalgic feel to it. Even though they were old songs, it was encouraging to see people of all ages participating. Coffee, tea, and snacks are served and everyone relaxes and enjoys the singing; occasionally there’s dancing as well. I shot some video of the festivities to give you an idea of what it’s all about. The singing went on for hours and hours and hours . . . but it was great fun!
Tag Archives: singing
Recently I (Matt) had the opportunity to attend and document a huge cultural ceremony with the people group we work with, called mopopoadat. I’ve already posted a photographic overview of the whole ceremony and a few videos of a local martial arts tradition that serves as entertainment during the rest breaks, and now I’d like to continue by posting a video of Kayori singing. This singing while processing/dancing in a circle lies at the heart of this ceremony, and I’m told that mopopoadat absolutely can’t be done without it. I have recorded a slightly different version some of these songs once before, but I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see kayori in the context of the ceremony. I don’t yet have a translation of all the words, but generally speaking the singers are reciting the cultural “laws” (hukum adat) to the participants so they can learn and understand it. After going through the mopopoadat ceremony the participants are considered to be under the cultural law and must abide by its rules and regulations.
This singing starts at sundown (about 6:15pm here), goes until dawn the next day (about 6:00am), and the participants continue to process in a circle as the leaders sing all night with only short breaks to rest their legs. This video is only 4 1/2 minutes long; I decided to be kind to you all and just pick a few highlights!
There is so much more for me to learn about this especially since it lies at the heart of this culture. I was very thankful to have a good shotgun mic on my video camera, otherwise with the noise of the crowd I never could have picked up the singing. Shotgun mics are amazing tools; without my headphones on I couldn’t hear the singing at all, but when I put them on it was as if I was just a few feet away. I’m hoping for an opportunity to meet with the singers again and get a better quality audio recording of just the singing.
Something you might notice is that the singers appear to be off from each other; they aren’t singing together but rather some of them always sound “behind the beat.” I’ve only had the chance to record this singing on two occasions, but I don’t think it’s coincidence that this “echo” effect happened both times. We still have a lot to learn about the arts here!