Keringut and Oreng
The Keringut/Selingut is a nose flute made out of bamboo played by the Penan tribe which belongs to the Orang Ulu of Sarawak. The Oreng is a form of jaw harp which is also played by the Penan tribe and is made of a sliver of the stem of a sago branch.
The significance of both instruments is being played during courtship sessions. The Keringot is normally played by men during courtship while the women play Oreng. In this case, the Keringot is used as an instrument to respond back to the Oreng. Nowadays, Oreng is played when there are important guests visiting the village. In the past, Oreng is played to express a person’s emotions be it happy or sad, and of course during courtship.
The nose flute is played by circulating air through the nose while the “oreng” requires a higher skill as it involves movements of the tongue and mouth to produce sounds. The Keringot is light and convenient to be carried around while traveling. The instrument has 3 holes, including fingering holes and a breath hole to create beautiful tunes and music.
The Oreng is delicate and requires a lot of skills and practice to play it. The pitch of the Oreng can be adjusted depending on the thickness of the instrument. According to the beliefs of the Penan tribe, Oreng can only be played by women and if the instrument is played by men, they can get lost in the jungle.
These are indeed special traditional musical instruments of the Penan tribe and are lesser known to the outside world compared to other Sarawakian musical instruments. Local traditional music band At Adau is determined in their effort to revive the tradition of playing the Keringut and to showcase it to the world.
(Penan Woman playing Oreng-Image taken from cj.my)
(Penan Man playing Keringot-Image taken from mywinet.com)
Abdul Ghani, B., Dit, T., & Taip, M. (2009). People of the Forest: The Penan. Lib.perdana.org.my. Retrieved from http://lib.perdana.org.my/PLF/Digital_Content/PNS/Sarawak%20Penan%20Culture_People%20of%20The%20Forest_The%20Penan%5BBibi%20Aminah%20Abdul%20Ghani%5D%202009.pdf.
Lim, G. (2012). Keunikan alat muzik masyarakat Penan - Citizens Journal. Citizens Journal - Community, Food and Lifestyle. Retrieved from https://cj.my/64555/keunikan-alat-muzik-masyarakat-penan/.
Beautiful sounds of bamboo - Sarawak. BorneoTalk. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.borneotalk.com/beautiful-sounds-of-bamboo/.
Petingi, G. (2019). At Adau keen to revive dying tradition of ‘selingut’ playing - Borneo Post Online. Borneo Post Online. Retrieved from https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/05/31/at-adau-keen-to-revive-dying-tradition-of-selingut-playing/.