Brunei Music and Dance

Brunei is not particularly known for its traditional music and dance, but there are a few folk songs and dances which have survived. One example is the adai-adai, a work song usually sung by groups of fishermen while they fish. Malay folk music is more dominant in modern Brunei, often played by professional musicians at special celebrations such as weddings. Responsive singing is a major aspect of this style of music, best exemplified in the song Alus Jua Dindang, where the groom flatters his new wife and declares his undying love. The Brunei Music Society has been preserving classical music in Brunei since 1972.

The local Malay population is best known for their jipin dance. This popular dance is performed by six men and women, and backed by traditional instruments such as the dombak, rebana and gambus dan biola. Gongs such as the guling tangan and smaller duck gongs are also popular instruments. There are a number of Kedayan folk dances which can occasionally be seen at special events. The benari is one of the most popular, typically performed during local festivals by three men and three women.

Aduk-aduk is another ceremonial dance performed by the Kedayan at special occasions such as the end of the harvest season. In this dance, the dancers wear a traditional warrior’s outfit of red and black clothing and move to the beat of the traditional Malay martial art known as silat. Numerous percussion instruments such as drums and coconut shells accompany this dance.