Didong: One of the Art of Presenting Central Aceh-Style Disaster Mitigation Ideas


Disasterchannel.co,- The taste of Gayo coffee may be known to many people, even to foreign countries. But not many know about the culture and arts that developed in the Central Aceh region. Didong art seems so foreign to all of us, because this art is rarely exhibited. Even though it is suspected that didong art has existed for a long time. However, the history of the origins of didong art presumably does not yet have any information capable of expressing it. There are people who argue that this art is as old as the existence of the Gayo people themselves.

The word “Didong” itself is also translated in various meanings. Some people argue that the word didong is close to the meaning of the word “Dendang” in Indonesian, namely a song while working or to entertain the heart or together with sounds. In the Gayo language, the word denang or donang is also known, which means similar to the meaning of the word dendang.

As an art form, Didong continues to grow. From time to time the function of didong for members of the Gayo community has become wider. Didong continues to grow and has multiple functions, including entertainment, as a tool to revive and maintain values and norms. customary norms in community life in the past, even to the point where they eventually became a means of channeling or conveying one person’s feelings, thoughts, desires to another person or party. Another function is to channel a sense of social tension so that a balance is obtained in relations between clans, generally in the Gayo Lut community. Not only that, didong is also used to express various thoughts and ideas regarding disaster mitigation. 

Sali Gopal is a “ceh” didong artist who comes from the Kemara Bujang group which was founded in 1940. He wrote a poem uten ‘jungle’ which describes his anxiety about natural conditions. He saw in his mind’s eye that the big tree in the forest had become dry, brittle, worn out, its roots no longer binding the earth. In such a state his anxiety seemed to share and unite with the anxiety of the birds that were looking for a place to visit, a place to hang casually in the yellow twilight. In this state Gobal felt a storm hit and an earthquake shook. He describes this matter sweetly in several stanzas at. between the stanzas of his uten poetry, as below:

detak cabang si rapuh beluh isangkan bade, sayang 

berempas tanyor ku bumi si meri nge berpoloken, uten

bergerak museger beluh ku tuyuh musara rense, sayang 

gintes si meri-meri gere mutenelen, uten 

gempa muguncang kayu perdu uyete rengang, sayang 

retep jantan si kaul genyur jadi pempungen, uten 

donya munaos lagu .atu taring pengalang, sayang 

bujur batang ari perdu deru eluh kin sapunen, uten 

manuk cico kecici rugi tempat bertanang; sayang 

peberguk kuning ni lao cico ate ilelalenen, uten 

bedebuk uah si lungi nenggeri nge mate batang, sayang 

kerukuk cume gere cico lemboko sange jejuntenen, uten 

Translation : 

(the beat of fragile branches falling in the storm, dear 

crashing down to the ground collapsed scattered 

crackled once collapsed collapsed fell down, dear

the rotten is amazed aimlessly 

the earthquake shook the roots of the shrubs stretched, dear 

the great rupture of the broken veins 

the world breaks only the rock that holds it, dear

shattered veins roaring tears 

the cici kecico bird has nowhere to go, dear

pensive yellow twilight restlessly swallowed up 

the ripe fruit of the passion fruit dries up, dear 

the crow’s gape a thousand places dangling)

According to Ramadhani’s research (2022) didong uten can be integrated into learning in schools as a form of disaster education that is rooted in the local wisdom of the local community. Because the didong uten poem has two interpretations, one of which is as a form of disaster risk reduction. As stated in the poem which tells that all the wood has fallen due to the forest being cut down. So that when there are shocks such as earthquakes and heavy rains there are no more obstacles for the trees to remain standing in place. This poem is full of criticism of the occurrence of natural degradation that leads to disasters that must be corrected by reducing disaster risk.(LS)


Melalatoa M.J., 1981. Didong: Kesenian Tradisional Gayo. Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan. 

Ramadhani, D., Sulastri, S., & Dirhamsyah, M. (2022). Edukasi Bencana Melalui Syair Didong Uten Karya Ceh Sali Gobal dalam Pengurangan Risiko Bencana di Kecamatan Kebayakan Kabupaten Aceh Tengah. JIPI (Jurnal IPA & Pembelajaran IPA)6(4), 369-381.

Photo: indonesiamagz.com