The Folk Song Recording Project undertaken by the Traditional Literature Division of the Literature Department of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka has produced an invaluable collection of materials for lovers of Malay literature, art and culture.
The project, which began in 2000, took a proactive step in research and managed to collect almost all folk songs across the country. The collection of folk songs in the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka website is intended to provide the opportunity for lovers of Malay literature, art and culture to enjoy Malay folk songs that have endured until today.
Folk songs, which form part of the nation’s heritage, should be preserved. Today, they are slowly being forgotten. It would not be surprising if one day these folk songs form only part of the past if no effort is made to revive and popularise them. Folk songs not only serve as entertainment but also contain educational elements. This can clearly be seen in their lyrics. The efforts by the Traditional Literature Division in Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka aim to preserve this art form. The purpose of research and recording is to produce a pictorial book of folk songs that symbolise the richness of Malay thought and art.
This website contains almost the entire range of folk songs from all the states in Malaysia from Perlis, Kedah and other states in the Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak and Sabah. Nevertheless, the information provided contains only the synopsis and extract from the project to introduce the complete works of folk songs in Malaysia, which will be published and marketed in the future.
Folk Songs of Perlis
The Project to Record Folk Songs of Perlis was carried out by the Traditional Literature Division of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka on 24-29 July 2000. Among folk songs of Perlis that have endured until today are Hadrah, Berendoi, Beduan and Canggung. They were very popular at one time. Each song had a specific function or role in society.
Folk Songs of Kedah
The Project to Record Folk Songs of Kedah was carried out by the Traditional Literature Division of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka on 6-17 November 2000. The folk songs were sung either solo or in a group.
The theme of the songs is education oriented and usually contains religious elements, as found in songs such as Berendoi, Burdah, Berzanji, Seloka, Mek Mulung and Berdikir. The element of advice can also be detected in certain folk songs sung in individual performances, such as the puppeteer (dalang) in shadow puppetry (Wayang Kulit). Other songs, such as Hadrah and Ghazal Pati, are mainly for entertainment purposes.