Caption: The bendai is seen hanging on the left of the photo.
This is the most important traditional music performed by the Iban community in Sarawak. Due to its importance, the Gendang Rayah is only allowed to be played during religious festivals with the following instruments:
- The music from a first bendai gong is called pampat;
- The music from a second bendai gong is called kaul;
- The music from a third bendai gong is called kura; and
- As the three bendai gongs sound together, then a first tawak gong is beaten and is added to by the beating of another tawak gong to make the music.
The origin of Gendang Rayah
The Gendang Rayah music was first taught by a famous Iban mythical hero named Keling of Panggau Libau. Before migrating to their spiritual world in the sky, Keling taught his cousins how to play the Gendang Rayah music. He told the Ibans to use the music whenever they wish to call the people of Panggau Libau to come down from their spiritual world in the sky to attend the festivals of the humankind on earth. That is why Gendang Rayah is called the music of the Gods and should be played only for religious festivals and rituals.
Before the Gendang Rayah is to be perform or presented there should be a ritual or offering to be done first that is called the Miring due the music (Gendang Rayah) which is the calling of sprits or gods to avoid any bad omen.