[This is Aural Archipelago’s inaugural guest post! Australian ethnomusicologist Mitchell Mollison writes about gong music and oral poetry in Lampung, the southernmost province of Sumatra. Mitch did fieldwork in the area for a year; near the end of his time there, he invited me to join him in the field. This post, then, is a kind of collab: I provide the audio/visual, and Mitch provides the deep knowledge about this fascinating place and its remarkable music.]
The gong music of Lampung, southern Sumatra, is a difficult thing to generalise about. For a start, it’s called by many different names: talo balak in some parts of Lampung; kekhumung, kulintang, gamolan balak, or just talo in others. The music itself mirrors the diversity of Lampungese clans (marga) and villages: melodies, instrumentation, and items of repertoire all vary from clan to clan and village to village. Even within a single village, different people may refer to the ensemble by different names and play the music in their own idiosyncratic ways. All this variation, of course, just adds to the music’s richness.
At the same time, there are similarities that traverse clan and village boundaries. Across Lampung, gong ensembles are primarily played for ceremonies—mainly weddings, circumcisions, and leadership or title coronations. The music usually features loud, bold timbres and a forward rhythmic momentum, played by small groups of less than ten musicians. It always features soloistic melodies played on a gong-chime (a series of small pitched gongs set in a wooden frame) that are accompanied by an assortment of other gongs, sometimes with the addition of drums, cymbals, or both.
In Lampungese villages, gong music is usually passed down indirectly rather than actively taught—mostly through observation at ceremonies or at the regular rehearsals that are held in some villages. When the instruments aren’t available, learners might practise on cheaper xylophone-like instruments, such as the bamboo gamolan pekhing or the wooden gambang.
This is how one of my teachers, Pak Johan of the Abung Nunyai in North Lampung, learnt the melodies decades ago as a young boy. Having intently watched the musicians play at ceremonies, he would practise on a makeshift gambang to pass time as he sat guarding his father’s fields from monkeys. On the eastern coast, in Maringgai, a village of the Melinting people, Pak Jalal (another of my teachers) is the only one who knows the local melodies. Like Pak Johan, he relies on his memory to play through the pieces, and any changes he introduces will be passed onto the next player.
As individuals put their own stamp on melodies in this way, the local version of the melody gradually changes, even while the title of the piece might remain the same. Partly for this reason, there are some piece titles found across Lampung that actually refer to different melodies in each place. Often the different versions share some identifying characteristic. For instance, the melody of Tabuh Ujan Tuyun (Rain Runs Away) almost always features contrasting loud and soft dynamics that mimic the sudden onset and subsequent dwindling of heavy rainfall. Meanwhile, the various melodies of Tabuh Samang Ngembuk (The Siamang Gibbon Cries) usually feature wide leaps that mimic the siamang gibbon’s cry.
The recordings in this post feature talo played by people of the Sekappung Limo Migo (Five Sekampung Clans), who mostly live in the six villages of Gunung Raya, Tuba, Peniangan, Batu Badak, Bojong, and Gunung Sugih Besar in East Lampung. Their version of talo balak—with its narrative-like melodies and long-form pieces that gradually speed up—is stylistically most similar to that of other nearby clans, including the Marga Sekampung Libo (Downstream Sekampung Clan) and the Melinting people closer to the eastern coast.
On a Sunday in July, I pick Palmer up from the provincial airport and we set off for Gunung Raya. We arrive a few hours later, but I can’t remember how to get to the meeting point. Stopping among some fields, we ask a man approaching in a cow-drawn cart for directions to Pak Ismail’s house. He seems unsure, so we try asking again using Pak Ismail’s formal adat (customary/traditional) title, Minak Yudo. This jogs the man’s memory, and he immediately points us up the road to the next village.
We follow the road a few hundred metres until it is lined by wooden Lampung-style terrace houses. Asking some women for Minak Yudo’s house, they point us up a narrow, stepped alleyway. Reaching the end, we turn right and see the group of musicians and guests awaiting our arrival. They are seated in the alcove underneath the balcony of one house, talo balak instruments set up next-door.
Positioned at the front of the ensemble is the gong-chime, with its gongs made from scrap-metal and arranged by pitch. In Gunung Raya, three people sit along the length of its wooden frame. The musician in the middle plays the melodies of the kulintang part, while the piang player, to his right, and the petuk player, to his left, play timekeeping roles. The ensemble is rounded out by two redap frame drums, a pair of cymbals called gujih, a small, rhythmically-played hanging gong called canang, and two large hanging gongs that are also called talo balak (meaning “big gong”) and mark time.
After greeting everyone in turn and chatting over coffee, it is decided that the recording should begin. Pak Halidi Anwar (Pangeran Kalem Jayoteruno), acting as MC, introduces the group and outlines the order of events. He then passes to Pak Abdul Rasak (Alam Padang), who leads greetings in Arabic and Lampungese then recites some bebandung poetry to show “etiquette and to request permission”. Pak Abdul sings:
|Permisei pai sikam jo
Sikam angkat seni Lappung
Grup anyak Gunung Rayo
Kecamatan Merga Sekampung
Pippinan Minak Yudo
Tano yo kilui dukung
Jamo gham unyen segalo
Sai ngeghaso suku Lappung
Wak ngittah suku jawo
Lamen yo ago gabung
Sikam siap sedio
Nerimo caro langsung
Cawo ku jo batas jo
Na’an jugo disambung
Mahap pai alinpuro
Lamen cawo wat nyinggung
|Please excuse us here,
We raise up Lampungese art:
The group from Gunung Raya,
In the district of Marga Sekampung.
Led by Minak Yudo,
Now he requests the support
Of all of us
Who identify as Lampungese.
Foreigners or not, it doesn’t matter;
If they wish to join in,
We are ready and willing
To receive them directly.
These are my last words for now,
Later they’ll be continued.
Forgive me, respected guests,
If any of my words have caused offence.
At the end of each verse, Pak Tulin yells out “tabuh!!” (“play!!”) and the musicians dive energetically into a piece called Tabuh Arus, led in by Pak Abdul’s slightly asymmetrical piang ostinato. The enjoyment is clearly visible in the smile of Pak Sataria (Raden Pusako), as he plays gujih, with rhythms following the character of the kulintang melody. Pak Yunus (Pacek) marks cycles with steady alternating strokes on the two large hanging gongs of the talo balak, while Pak Ahmad (Krioting), seated at the end of the kulintang, keeps the pulse on petuk.
The short phrases of Tabuh Arus, which is played to welcome guests among other things, mean it can be stopped at any point with little fuss—perfect for such brief interludes:
In contrast, Tabuh Daghak features long, flowing kulintang melodies, played here expressively by Pak Yurni (Dalem Kujat). This piece, Pak Halidi tells us, is played while waiting for the bride and groom to arrive at the ceremonial area (sessat). Two loud signals from the large redap frame drums, played by Pak Dulkadir (Pesagei) and Pak Ismail (Minak Yudo) cue the gong cycle played on the talo balak to half-time, then to half-time again, and the tempo gets gradually faster from beginning to end. Pak Ali (Raden Bebas) plays the syncopated rhythmic phrases on the canang that, like those played on the gujih, follow the groove and tempo of the kulintang part:
At weddings in Gunung Raya, Tabuh Kedanggung Libo (Downstream Kedanggung) accompanies a dance called Tari Sabai, danced by both sets of parents and the extended families of the bride and groom. Meanwhile, Tabuh Kedanggung Rabo (Upstream Kedanggung) accompanies the processions and events called “Blocked River” (Way Teappeng), “Taking the Bride” (Ngakuk Majeu), and “Escorting the Bride Inside” (Ngughukken Majeu):
Besides the pieces that are played for specific purposes in ceremonies (tabuh adat), being Tabuh Arus, Tabuh Daghak, Tabuh Kedanggung Libo, Tabuh Kedanggung Rabo, and Tabuh Jarang Mulei, the Seandanan Group also plays three “entertainment pieces” (tabuh hiburan), used to fill time in ceremonies and provide background music. The first of these is Tabuh Samang Ngembuk. The kulintang player moves one of the lower gongs to his lap to aid in playing the melodic leaps. Next is Tabuh Ujan Tuyun, and the musicians end with Tabuh Sanak Miwang di Jamei (Child Cries in the Field).
Tabuh Sanak Miwang di Jamei is another common piece title across Lampung, closely related to Tabuh Sanak Miwang di Ijan (Child Crying on the Staircase). Whenever I asked people about the meaning of this piece, the general answer was that it tells the story of a child left behind somewhere by their parents. This sad sentiment strikes me as a recurring characteristic of much Lampungese music: gitar klasik and lagu daerah (regional pop songs) with titles like “Sanak Aghuk” (“Orphaned Child”) and “Ditinggal Bapak Mati” (“Left Behind When Father Died”) abound in Lampung.
Following the session in Gunung Raya, we stay briefly for a chat. By this time sunset is fast approaching and it is time to continue to Peniangan. Palmer wisely opts to take the car instead of sitting on the back of my scooter through puddles and potholes (and potholes within puddles) at dusk. I follow behind the car, and we arrive after dark, parking at the mosque. We walk across the road and through an empty house to reach the terrace house of Pak Abdul Rahman (Pangeran Dalem), set back ten or twenty metres from the road. We meet the musicians in the wide, timber-floored front room on the upper floor before heading downstairs to where the instruments have been set up.
We are treated to another touching welcome and introduction in Peniangan—this time by Pak Hasan Basri (Pangeran Paku). After opening with prayer and acknowledging the visitors from Tuba and Kuripan, he says:
“We together lift up our worship and praises to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, where, on His guidance and grace, this evening we can all together meet face-to-face […] Again, I want to offer my greatest thanks to you both, who have come from far away, from America, from Australia, who have visited us here, who want to join us in attending our tabuh talo balak event this evening. […] Now, in this event, we are not freed from saying sorry, a thousand apologies, if, in our aim to carry out and preserve this cultural art, this event happens to be less than satisfying in your hearts. […] Our hope, in us meeting together, in your coming to record and observe, is that this activity can always be held up and preserved, reaching all the way to overseas.”
After reading out descriptions of each of the pieces that are to be played, he sits down, and Pak Tulin calls for bebandung poetry. Pak Abdul Rahman (Pangeran Dalem) recites two verses:
Nikeu ku salam bulan
Bittang sahing kenawat
Kalaghik lem benujum
Cuman nanowken nikeu
Sai wawai dilem surah
Segalo pawang kak ghadu terang
Di libo rabo gham pandai di yo
Umum gham Lappung kak menyesei
Binatang buas tano kak mulang
Nurut cawo pawang kuaso
Sebai semanei wak nakal lagei
Narik gerubak tanpa betalei
|Peace be upon you,
I greet you, O moon,
A star struggling with the moon.
So much questioning and fortune-telling
Only points to you,
Who’s good, within the Book.
All the experts have made it clear-
Upstream and downstream we understand it;
In general us Lampungese have witnessed it.
The wild animal has gone back home,
Following the word of the powerful animal-tamer.
Woman and man aren’t disobedient anymore;
Now they pull wagons without ropes.
Recently, seeking help with these translations, I reached out to my friend Bang Yogha from Kuripan, who I’ll introduce later. We met up in Bandar Lampung and he shared Pak Tulin’s interpretation of the deeper meaning of these verses with me. The moon and the star represent a young woman and a young man respectively. The young man, having asked experts and dukun (shamans) of all kinds, having sought knowledge in religious texts and perhaps even having consulted the stars, finds that the young woman remains the only answer to all his questioning and soul-searching.
In the second verse, the “wild animal” inside—perhaps the young man’s feverish questioning—has settled down. It has been calmed by the words of the “powerful animal tamer”, perhaps the dukun or the young woman herself. While they were once resistant to doing work, the young man and woman no longer need to be forced with “ropes”. They have settled into their adult responsibilities, pulling wagons on their own initiative.
The musicians in Peniangan play Tabuh Arus after each verse. Then Pak Tulin recites his own verse, once again followed by Tabuh Arus:
|Lapah cang keliwang
Bilo rajo aso
Lapah liwat Bengkulu
Lapahan nuju Aceh
Neghetes napas hilang
Nyebut Sang Ratu Diwo, waghei
Kalau gham dapak sapih
|Going in a rush
To defend a king in trouble
Travelling through Bengkulu
On a journey towards Aceh.
Panting and puffing, breathless,
Crying “Sang Ratu Diwo”, brothers,
Hopefully we can be at peace.
This verse, according to Pak Tulin (through Bang Yogha), is about a king in a fight with someone; perhaps another kingdom. One of his subjects rushes off to Aceh, the earliest Islamified region in Sumatra, to find a solution. On the way he breathlessly calls out to “Sang Ratu Diwo” (King/Queen of the Gods), signifying that the story is set in a time when Hinduism was still the primary religion of the region. The last word, sapih, Bang Yogha told me, means peace, but also “break it up” as in the context of a fight.
While in Gunung Raya talo balak is played by eight people, including two drummers, the ensemble in Peniangan is played by six people, with just one drummer. Here there is no gujih, and the canang is held on the lap rather than hung from the gong stand. The remaining instrumentation is the same: piang, kelittang, petuk, and the ubiquitous pair of large hanging gongs, called here talo balak, gung, or the onomatopoeic term pung gem:
After the opening speech and poetry, the musicians play Tabuh Ujan Tuyun (“Rain Runs Away”), then Tabuh Samang Ngembuk, then Tabuh Daghak. Halfway through Tabuh Daghak, Pak Hasan Basri (Pangeran Paku) gets up to dance and is soon joined by Pak Tulin (Pangeran Bela Negara): two men of equal standing by their adat title of pangeran, coming together from different villages. One of the women watching calls out “balik” (turn around) and they swap sides halfway through, before finishing the dance by placing their hands together in a gesture of respect. The musicians finish the rest of Tabuh Daghak.
In the middle of all this, Pak Ismail (Pangeran Dalem), who is playing steady canang offbeats that sail along with the kelittang, turns and says something to Pak Hasan, who goes inside to confer with the women. Some of the women don ceremonial cloths and begin dancing inside. At the end of Tabuh Daghak, Pak Ismail calls them and they come outside to dance properly, accompanied by Tabuh Tari and Tabuh Jarang Mulei:
After Tabuh Tari and Jarang Mulei, the musicians play Tabuh Kedanggung Rateu. The rest of the session is filled with bebandung poetry by Pak Tulin, Pak Budiman Yakub (from Kuripan), Pak Abdul Rahman and Pak Hasan Basri. These verses are all followed by Tabuh Arus, interspersed with Tabuh Sanak Miwang di Jamei and Tabuh Ngigel.
Besides Palmer, myself, and Pak Tulin, also present at these recording sessions were Pak Budiman Yakub (Raden Kesuma Yudha) and Bang Yogha (Raden Mas Kesuma Ratu), of the Keratuan Darah Putih (White Blood Kingdom) from Kuripan in South Lampung. They were responsible for organising the session (through Pak Tulin), and presumably gave pointers as to its presentation. According to Pak Tulin and people in Kuripan, the Sekappung Limo Migo is under the leadership (naungan) of the Keratuan Darah Putih.
Kuripan is famous for its resistance to the Dutch in the 19th century, led by Raden Intan I (1751-1828), his son, Raden Imba II, and his grandson, Raden Intan II (1834-1858), all leaders of the Keratuan Darah Putih. At one point, the Dutch considered Raden Intan I powerful enough to pay him an annual pension in exchange for his loyalty, but he was never willing to co-operate on Dutch terms and hostilities ensued. These escalated into war during the time of Raden Imba II, a war continued but eventually lost by Raden Intan II. The latter is now a National Hero of Indonesia and the eponym of the airport in Lampung.
The kingdom’s name recalls its origin story, set in the 16th century. The leadership traces its genealogy to Syarif Hidayatullah, or Sunan Gunung Jati, one of the legendary Nine Saints (Wali Songo) who spread Islam in Indonesia (also the Sultan of Banten). In the story, Syarif Hidayatullah travels from Banten to Lampung and marries two women—Putri Sinar Alam and Putri Sinar Kaca—of the older, Buddhist, East Lampung kingdom of Pugung. A son is born to each wife, while Syarif Hidayatullah returns to Banten to continue governing.
When the two boys grow up, they find out the identity of their father, and travel to Banten to seek him out. The Sultan does not believe they are his sons, and states that if their claim is true, their blood will be white. One of the brothers spills his blood and it is indeed white, while the other’s is red mixed with white. The first brother is given the title Ratu Darah Putih and tasked with founding a kingdom in Kuripan—the Keratuan Darah Putih—while the second is tasked with founding the Keratuan Melinting, now centred in the village of Maringgai on the east coast of Lampung.
The timeline of events in these stories matches with what is known from other documentary sources. Starting in the 16th century, the Sultanate of Banten began attempting to control the trade of Lampungese pepper. One method that the Sultanate used to encourage the cooperation of local leaders was the handing out of official titles—called jeneng in some clans, including the Sekappung Limo Migo. Such titles now form a central part of Lampung culture, and are usually only given during ceremonies that involve talo balak. Pak Tulin related to me their importance:
“When somebody is appointed a title, it has to be known by the customary heads of at least one whole marga. … Don’t let it happen that they still call him by his small name! For example, my small name is Tulin. My title is Pangeran Bela Negara. At the very least, at his first appointment, it has to be one marga that knows! Delegations from the various villages. So that, going forward, they’re not erroneous in how they address him. So they don’t, when they meet, say, “Hey, Pak Tulin!” That would no longer be allowed within adat.”
In the Sekappung Limo Migo, the most important type of title is the jeneng, given to already-married men. Some jeneng—those of pangeran, kerio, temenggung, and ngebihi—indicate a position of leadership, with the pangerans answering to a bandar in Gunung Raya and are limited to specific bloodlines. These jeneng resemble titles used in the Banten Sultanate, which include pangeran, arya, temenggung, and ingebihi.
Bang Yogha told me that the Keratuan Darah Putih has delegated several responsibilities to adat elders in other villages, for example the caretaking of special daggers (keris) and other heirlooms as well as the weapons used in the resistance of Raden Intan I. The responsibility for playing kekhumung at large royal events in Kuripan falls to the musicians of the Sekappung Limo Migo. Bang Yogha said such delegation of responsibility is a way both to respect the traditions associated with the Keratuan and the clans and families in other villages, as well as to ensure the continued loyalty of these other clans to the Keratuan.
In 1905, only 156,000 people lived in Lampung. Villages were dotted sparsely across the province, and travel between them was relatively difficult and time-consuming. The same year, the Dutch introduced the first version of the mass transmigration program, where people from highly populated islands, especially Java, were given land in the outer islands. In 2010, the population of Lampung had grown to more than 7 million. The gaps between the original villages were filled in, and infrastructure was built to support the new population.
While an older generation of musicians finished primary school and then went to work in the fields, the younger generation is more likely to travel to bigger cities, especially Bandar Lampung, to continue their schooling. Many people have found work outside the village, and even outside Lampung. As a result, local arts are not always seen as relevant, and a knowledge of talo balak and its repertoire is rarer among the younger generation. In addition, ceremonies requiring the participation of young people have been cut down in some places, because there simply aren’t enough young people to take part.
Several people, including Pak Azhari Kadir (Pangeran Paduka Sakti Surya Alam) of the Abung Selagai clan, told me that in the past kulintang was played for entertainment by groups of men, women, or adolescents. When Pak Azhari was young, several groups would play simultaneously in different houses of his village on a single night. In villages today, the use of gong-chime ensembles outside ceremonies has been almost completely replaced by other forms of entertainment. Most wedding receptions these days feature a troupe playing dangdut (Indonesian pop music) or orgen tunggal (nightclub-style tracks played through an electronic keyboard).
Although talo balak is no longer popular as a music in its own right, it remains strongly associated with adat and its persisting importance for many Lampungese people. As several people told me, “it’s not a ceremony if there’s no talo balak”. Some villages also hold regular rehearsals. The Seandanan group in Gunung Raya, for instance, was set up to preserve the music and prevent the old melodies from being forgotten. The initiative of such village-based groups, along with the strong link with adat, ensures the continued presence of local musical styles like talo balak in Lampungese villages, at least for the time being.
Kuripan was one of the focus areas of my research. I had gone there hoping to study kekhumung but was told that the good musicians live in Sekampung Udik. Like the music of many villages in Lampung, there were hardly any recordings of talo balak from the Sekappung Limo Migo online, so it was clear that I would have to go there if I was to see the music. I was introduced to Pak Tulin at a wedding in Kuripan and told that he could act as my guide in East Lampung.
In June last year, I visited Gunung Raya and Peniangan accompanied by Pak Tulin, to arrange recording sessions with a group from each village. This was during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, and Pak Abdul Rahman (Pangeran Dalem) in Peniangan advised that it would be better done a month later when people were no longer spending the evenings in religious study and prayer. Palmer had told me several months previously that he wanted to visit Lampung, hoping to encounter some gitar klasik. A few days before going to Gunung Raya and Peniangan I suggested he join me to record talo balak as well, to which he readily agreed.
The trip from the airport to Sekampung Udik is a bit like a sample of Lampung’s history. The airport itself has newly been named in honour of the national hero from Kuripan, Raden Intan II. The road north crosses the Sekampung River, which starts flowing in the mountainous region in Lampung’s west. Turning right, the road to Metro passes alongside a Dutch-designed canal built by Javanese transmigrants in the 1930s that redirects the river’s flow. After Metro, it continues through swathes of farmland and the capital of East Lampung, Sukadana (since 1999, when an older, larger East Lampung was split into three).
Sometime after going through Sukadana, Palmer and I turned off this road onto a smaller road leading to Gunung Raya and Peniangan. We stopped several times on this road, which connects Lampungese, Balinese, and Javanese-majority villages. First, at a small home warung for coffee, which the shopkeeper gave us for free, refusing payment. She told us that the last foreigners to come through had been missionaries in the 1980s. A couple of times I had to stop to text Bang Yogha, who was waiting for us in Gunung Raya, for directions. We also stopped at a few villages to let the rain, which seemed to be travelling south with us, to pass again. The rear suspension on my scooter was totally shot, and, on the broken sections of roads in East Lampung, bottomed out at every small bump.
Eventually we arrived in the late afternoon, only to find that owing to a miscommunication somewhere along the line, the musicians in both villages had been prepared to play since that morning, not receiving the message that we would arrive in the afternoon. We were told that the Seandanan Group had fifteen members, but some had already gone home, and the musicians in Peniangan said they had been waiting from 7 in the morning. I am very grateful, therefore, that musicians in both villages still played through the entire repertoire for us—even, in Peniangan, to the point of dancing.
Terima kasih sebesar-besarnya kepada seluruh anggota grup talo balak Seandanan di Gunung Raya dan grup talo balak serta ibu-ibu yang menari di Peniangan. Semoga rekaman dan catatan ini memuaskan di hati bapak-ibu semua. Lamen wat cawo sai salah, ikam kilui maap.
Terima kasih banyak kepada Pak Budiman Yakub, Pak Tulin, dan Bang Yogha, yang sangat membantu dalam mempersiapkan acara perekaman ini. Thanks to Bang Yogha, Pak Tulin, and Bang Rayhan Sudrajat for helping with the bebandung translations.
Thanks very much to Palmer for coming to Lampung, asking me to write this post, and for making such great recordings of the music.
Gunung Raya (Grup Seandanan):
Coordinator: Pak Ismail (Minak Yudo)
MC: Pak Halidi Anwar (Pangeran Kalem Jayoteruno)
Kulintang: Pak Yurni (Dalem Kujat)
Gujih: Pak Sataria (Raden Pusako)
Canang: Pak Ali (Raden Bebas)
Talo balak: Pak Yunus (Pacek)
Piang: Pak Abdul Rasak (Alam Padang)
Petuk: Pak Ahmad (Krioting)
Redap I: Pak Ismail (Minak Yudo)
Redap II: Pak Dulkadir (Pesagei)
Coordinator/MC: Pak Hasan Basri (Pangeran Paku)
Kelittang: Pak Ismail (Permato)
Piang: Pak Ismail (Batin Sempurno)
Petuk: Pak Kasim (Batin Semurip)
Canang: Pak Abdul Rahman (Pangeran Dalem)
Gung/talo balak/pung gem: Pak Umar (Ngegugo)
Ketapak: Pak Ali (Pangeran Pemilu)
As my research was done mostly in other parts of Lampung, there are certainly many sources that could potentially deepen or change aspects of what’s written here. If anyone wishes to correct or suggest anything, please feel free to contact me.
Karena penelitian saya kebanyakan dilakukan di daerah dan marga Lampung yang lain, tentunya ada banyak sumber yang bisa mendalamkan atau mengubahkan apa yang ditulis di sini. Kalau ada yang ingin memberi saran atau koreksi, silahkan menghubungi penulis langsung.
 Our guide in this part of Lampung, Pak Tulin (Pangeran Bela Negara), told me that, of the five clans, Gunung Raya is home to buay Pesusun (buay means lineage). Peniangan, along with nearby Batu Badak, is home to buay Gajah Merem, while Pak Tulin himself is from buay Pengammah in the village of Tuba. The remaining two clans are those of buay Perileng in Bojong and buay Pelaccou in Gunung Sugih Besar.
 In the past, in some Lampung communities such as the Abung Siwo Migo (Abung Nine Clans), women played kulintang (the local name for the gong-chime ensemble) as well as men. The inside cover of a book about the Abung people, written by German anthropologist Friedrich Funke in the 1950s, features a photo of a group of women playing kulintang at a cangget (a type of ceremonial party that lasts all night). These days, with gong-chime ensembles used more exclusively for ceremonies (and not so much for entertainment), the players are almost always a group of men. At least, this has been the case everywhere I have attended Lampungese ceremonies.
 Pak Tulin told me the reason for this is that they remember the roots of the Keratuan Darah Putih in the Keratuan Pugung, which they say ruled over an area including the modern-day Sekappung Limo Migo. Meanwhile, some Melinting people in Maringgai told me that the Sekappung Limo Migo have paid tribute (upeti) to the Keratuan Darah Putih and continue to do so until this day. Pak Tulin’s son, Bang Rahman, who lives in Bandar Lampung, told me that the Sekappung Limo Migo were warriors for the Keratuan Darah Putih in the past.
 In some versions of this story, e.g. that in Maringgai of the Keratuan Melinting, it is Syarif Hidayatullah’s son, Sultan Maulana Hasanudin of Banten, who marries the two women.
 According to Pak Tulin’s version, Seh Syarif Hidayatullah married one woman from the Keratuan Pugung, and one from the Kertuan Merandung. On another note, when I asked Pak Tulin which of the five clans is the oldest, he said “suku Pugung!”. He clarified by saying that buay Perileng in Bojong has a historical tie to suku Pugung.
 Bang Yogha had uploaded some recordings of Peniangan musicians playing at an event in Kuripan, and since our recording has uploaded some videos of another group in Gunung Raya.