Malay folklore refers to a series of knowledge, traditions and taboos that have been passed down through many generations in oral, written and symbolic forms among the indigenous populations of Maritime Southeast Asia. They include among others, themes and subject matter related to the indigenous knowledge of the ethnic Malays and related ethnic groups within the region.
Songs and melodies from times of old are sung on a regular basis during festivals such as weddings, celebrations of motherhood and childbirth, rites of passage and at cultural or religious celebrations.
Every region or each of the states may employ different versions of oral transmission but the most popular is in the form of folk-singing or lagu rakyat. The Middle Eastern-influenced ghazal can be heard in the southern Malaysian state of Johor especially is the district of Muar. Poets and singers consisting of often females and sometimes males vocalize popular love poems and riddles in the form of pantun to the accompaniment of a composition and of music made for a six-stringed Arabian lute (see oud), Indian tablas, Western violins, accordion and maracas.
Usually folk song tells us about the society, nature, animals, plants or the current scenario/activity in the area. Folk songs will usually be sung during play, dreaming of children, entertainment after tiring bones and even during entertainment occasions. Folk songs are also seen as being very much grouped by groups of young Malay children.
The performance combines the usage of Traditional Music instruments from Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. The musical instruments that will be used come from different states of Malaysia such as:
- Gambus, Jidor & Marwas - Southern State of Johor
- Sape - West Malaysia (Borneo)
- Pupuik, Bangsi, Bonang - Negeri Sembilan
Among other popular instruments that are usually used in the Native Malay Musical performances are the Accordion, Rebana Acoustic guitar and Bass.