in Singapore has evolved from the original form practised in Kelantan, and developed into its own style of performance. Traditionally, performances in Kelantan were held during rural harvest festivals and explored domestic issues like courtship and folk wisdom. As populations became urbanised, topics such as work, urban alienation, and politics emerged. However, performance themes in Singapore mainly revolve around cultural issues and civic virtues such as racial harmony. Furthermore, the performance form in Kelantan is primarily focused on the tukang karut
. In Singapore, however, the awok
“moves”, percussion ensemble’s synchronicity, and overall factors like a group’s visual presentation, are just as important. Finally, while “freestyle” or impromptu dikir barat
was part of the original art form in Kelantan, it is uncommon in Singapore, where performers usually memorise the lyrics.
Performances are typically carried out in the Malay language, and include Malay poetic forms, such as the syair and the pantun. Performances for the general public are occasionally done in English to allow non-Malay speakers to appreciate this art form.