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 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 costume of ulek mayang dancers has two type of clothes, six of the seven female dancers will typically wear a traditional dress such as a long sleeve songket (a silk material blouse), selendang (a long scarf) that wore in the waist and finger, sanggol (a hairknot), subang (an earring) and long songket skirt in the lower body with others accessories. The main character of the dancer that plays as a Tuan Puteri (Madam Princess) or Puteri Tujuh (7th Princess) will wear the same dress and accessories like the six others dancers but the difference is she will wear the short sleeve songket blouse and a different color for her dress. She will usually wear the yellow dress. This is to illustrate that she is the main princess of the dancer. The male performers will wear the traditional Malay male shirt like Baju Melayu (a Malay male shirt).
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)