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West Sumatra is also known as Minangkabau (land of the Minang people). Straddling the equator, Two-thirds of West Sumatra is covered in dense forest and thick jungle. This region’s inhabitants are believed to be the world’s largest matriarchal and matrilineal society.
Women own and inherit the family property; titles, clan names, and traditions are handed down along the mother’s line. Sunni Islam is the dominant faith, The have their own Philosophy is ” Culture base on Shari-ah, and Shari-ah base on Islam”
The Rumah Gadang Group brings together Minang musicians, dancers, singers, and actors from across the Washington DC region. Since their formation in 2007, it has performed for the Indonesian Embassy, the Dance Asian Festival, Richmond Folk Festival, community events, interfaith live music concert at National Cathedral, Smithsonian Freer Gallery, Arlington Performing Art and International Embassy in Washington DC Area.
Wirzam Tiharman is former choreographer and Lead musician from Syofiani Dance and Music ensemble has been spent his time for 3 years in Washington DC to establish The Rumah Gadang Group – USA. Since Wirzam went back to Indonesia, Hendri Julizardo take offer as music coordinator in Rumah Gadang Group.
Nani Afdal, the ensemble’s principal female vocalist is the daughter of traditional musicians and a winner of numerous prizes for her singing. Her husband, Rumah Gadang’s founder is Muhammad Afdal. He has been a performer of Minang traditional dance since his early 20s. He too is a former member of the ensemble Syofyani and a veteran of numerous international tours. Their son Aldo and daughter Alya Lawindo are following in the parent’s footsteps performing with Rumah Gadang.
The principle Minang instrument is the talempong, a set of small, round bronze gongs played with mallets. Others include the bansi (bamboo flute), the Gendang (one-sided drum) and Saluang (like the flute making from bamboo).