A dancer performing the Ulek Mayang
Ulek Mayang (Jawi: اولق مايڠ) is a classical Malay dance from the state of Terengganu in Malaysia. It is a ritualistic dance performed to appease or invoke the spirits of the sea and is always accompanied by a unique song also called Ulek Mayang. An orchestra comprising drums, gong, violin and accordion accompanies the dance.
The Ulek Mayang is said to have its origin in an ancient tale about a sea-princess who fell in love with a fisherman. The princess abducted the fisherman's soul, leaving his body unconscious. His friends entreated a bomoh (shaman) to heal him. When the bomoh conducted the healing ritual to bring the fisherman's soul back, the princess appeared and responded by calling on five of her sisters to her aid. The battle between the bomoh and the six princesses continued until the seventh and the eldest princess appeared and put an end to it.
"I know your origins,” says the eldest princess, and she commands everyone, "Let those from the sea return to the sea, and those from the land return to the land."
The grateful bomoh and the fisherman’s friends present the princess with coloured rice as an offering to the spirits of the sea. This practice, along with the Ulek Mayang dance, continued until the Islamization movement of recent decades.
The Ulek Mayang song which accompanies the dance narrates the story. Tradition holds that the song is supernatural in nature because it gives chills, especially when performed at sunset by the beach. However, the song remains popular and there are numerous contemporary renditions of it. Malaysian rock diva, Ella recorded a rock version, while the thrash metal band Cromok produced several instrumental versions of the song. The song maintains some of the traditional Terengganu pronunciation. Note that mayang is a coconut-palm blossom used to chase away spirits.
- Ulek Mayang (full song)
- Ella - Ulek Mayang
- D'Cromok - Metallurgical III
- D'Cromok - Another Metallurgical Suite
- Chakrasonic - Ulek Mayang (Tamil)