Tayub in Madura: From Rites Economy to Symbolic Power

Endy Saputro MA, a staff from CRCS, presented a discussion about tayub in Wednesday Forum in Nov 11, 2009. Endy discussed his small research on a traditional art performance in the Eastern part of Madura, with the title of discussion “Tayub in Madura: From Rites Economy to Symbolic Power”?. It is very interesting topic since the topic of religion and local culture is less paid attention from CRCS students to study it. So, it is a part of Endy’s appreciation to present a topic that strongly related with the issue of religion and local culture.

Tayub in Madura is something minor and full of bad stereotype, since Madura and other areas in Java are majority Muslim are, nevertheless there have many scholars that had studied of Tayub, first of all is Clifford Geertz in Religion of Java, where Geertz categorized Tayub is an abangan tradition. Robert Heffner in part of his book Hindu Javanese, writes about politics and cultural art, where he discussed about tayub in it. Heffner elaborated that tayub is a part of Hindus ritual and change to popular art. When Islam entered to Tengger, tayub was considered as irreligious dance. There is also Felicia Hughes Freeland, writes an article “Tayuban: Culture on the Edge”?, based on his fieldwork on tayub in Gunung Kidul. Felicia finds a very interesting conclusion, that tayub also part of the festival of bersih desa (cleaning the village) and become the political of Yogyakarta court (Keraton). There is also Huysen, doing research in Surakarta and finds that Chinese actually doing tayub, as their rites dance. There are also many other researches about Tayub, such as the case in Banyumas, Banyuwangi, etc.

In Endy’s presentation, he made a link between ritual economy and symbolic power in a non-pesantren village in Madura, East Java. As it well known, Tayub tends to consider as art of performance as well as entertainment. On the contrary, tayub in Madura plays a role in capitalizing economy of local people and maintaining social power of village leader. It is argues that tayub should be filed of power, and at the same maintaining power. Endy doing research in a small island near eastern part of Madura, that called Gapurana. This village belongs to Poteran Island. In Gapurana, tayub usually is held in dry season, three times in every week, during sixth month. Endy refers to Heffner, that tayub in this village belongs to Hindus rites, it is because in Gapurana, several local people still doing offering and worshipping to 22 tombs and sacred places in Poteran Island. At the first time, tayub is a local belief of Gapurana people, but there has changing tayub in this area that is from rites to entertainment. The most powerful person in tayub is a pangelar (broker), where he provokes society to conduct tayub in wedding parties. There is also tandak/taledhek (female dancer in tayub) and also Kalebun (local leader). These persons are holding symbolic power in doing tayub in Gapurana.

In interview session, there are several questions and comments addressed to Endy, for instance coming from a new student from CRCS asking whether tayub is an original traditional dance in Madura or not, and what is the difference with the Javanese tayub? How this tayub deals with Islamic teaching in Madura? Madyan, a Ph.D student of ICRS asking how Endy defines and distinguishes between rites and entertainment of tayub? And how Endy proves that tayub disappears because the coming of Islam in this village? This discussion is more interesting since the moderator, Pak Joko also knows much about tayub in his origin area, Ponorogo, and then he tries to compare with Endy’s presentation.

Endy Saputro finished his undergraduate program at State College for Islamic Studies (2003) and earned his Master of Arts from CRCS, Graduate School, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta (2008). During July-October, 2007 he conducted fieldwork in Madura to gather his data to complete his thesis on the contestation between kalebun and kiai langgar. This presentation is small part of his thesis.


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