Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Legend of Ulik Mayang

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Ulik Mayang is a myth that has evolved into a cultural dance masterpiece. It is basically the story of man’s encounter with the Spirits of the Sea. What used to be a worshiping dance in the Malay dances has now become one of the beautiful traditional dance art in Terengganu culture. Nowadays as Terengganu is a muslim-majority state, the dance is still performed but purely for cultural appreciation and entertainment purposes.

Over the years, the legend of Ulik Mayang has evolved into a number of versions. Some people even said that the princesses were from Bukit Puteri. Nevertheless, the essence of the story which was the treacherous and caring relationship between the fishermen and the Spirit Princesses of the Sea stay intact. You can read the whole story here.

The legend of the Ulik Mayang is told in an amazingly choreographed folk dance with its gentle and graceful movement accompanied by its song which is equally hauntingly beautiful. The dancing starts with a fisherman who is suffering from illness after returning from the sea. The patient will then healed by a bomoh, a traditional Malay doctor in the tradional way (cue dancing and head banging). Seven actresses beautifully dressed represent the 7 princesses who come to visit the patient when the bomoh is treating him. Kemayan will be burnt together with chanting of pantun and dancing through the whole performance.

Some interesting facts that I stumbled upon. The dancers use mayang pinang (strings of arecanut's flowers) and while dancing, it will be shaked until the person holding it feels that the mayang pinang alives or moves by itself then it is given to another dancer!!! Creepy stuff right?

So, check out the lyric and the performance yourself!

Umbut mayang di umbut
Umbut dengan jala-jemala
Ulit mayang diulit
Ulit dengan puterinya satu

Puteri satu berbaju serong
Puteri satu bersanggul sendeng
Puteri satu bersubang gading
Puteri satu berselendang kuning

Ulit mayang di umbut
Ulit dengan jala-jemala
Jika sambut mayang disambut
Sambut dengan puterinya dua

Puteri dua berbaju serong
Puteri dua bersanggul sendeng
Puteri dua bersubang gading
Puteri dua berselendang kuning

Ulit mayang di umbut
Ulit dengan jala-jemala
Jika sambut mayang disambut
Sambut dengan puterinya tiga

Ku tahu asal usul mu
Yang darat balik ke darat
Yang laut balik ke laut
Nasi kuning hamba sermbahkan

Pulih mayang ku pulih
Pulih balik sedia kala

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