Gongs are an important element of Sabah culture, as its sound is central to local music, songs, dances, and theatre performances. If you want to learn more about this truly ethnic instrument, there is one particular place you should visit.
Sumangkap Village in the Matunggong region of Sabah is where gongs are born. Its inhabitants belong to the Rungus tribe, which is an authentic gem for those who seek ancient traditions and preserved culture.
There are about 60 houses in the village with up to 30 workstations. Visitors can have a look at the working process from a close distance and even ask to assist a master. Gongs are made by melting together galvanized iron sheets. Afterwards, the master uses various hammers and other tools to decorate the gong and give it a unique sound and motif. Each bump or camber influences the sound of a gong, so gentle and meticulous work is required. As a result, a gong can become one of tawak or chanang, which are the most popular types, but it can also be an individual instrument made for a specific client.
Visit Sumangkap Village to learn the story of the gong or schedule a trip for October when the Matunggong Gong Festival is held to reveal the beauty of gong music and Rungus traditions.