This year sees newly created group ‘The Rancakers’ (pronounced Run-chucka) take to the main stage for their Indofest-Adelaide debut! Although only formed earlier this year, the group have been practising hard and are looking forward to giving audiences a taste of West Sumatran culture, music and dance.

The Rancakers will be performing the dynamic dance, ‘Tari Rantak’ which is named after one of its featured moves, where dancers stomp on the ground in unison.  In addition, the dancers wear ‘Sarawa Galembong’, large pants with material between the legs which create rhythmic percussions when struck. This complements music played by an orchestra of traditional and modern Minang instruments including the ‘talempong’, a melodic kettle gong unique to West Sumatra.

 The dance’s  ‘rantak’ step along with other moves are taken from ‘silek’, a form of martial arts that has been passed down from generation to generation and serves to provide a philosophy which guides the people of West Sumatra on how to live their lives. 

The formation of The Rancakers was the brain child of Indofest’s Artistic and Cultural Director Brett Calliss. Having recently returned from a five-year cultural infusion stint in Indonesia, he was looking to form a group to continue his passion of  music from West Sumatra. In search of a name that appealed to both Indonesian and English audiences and represents the multicultural makeup of the group’s members, ‘Rancakers’ was a winner. ‘Rancak’ is a word from the West Sumatran dialect Baso Minang. It refers to something good, nice or pleasant. It is also used in the well-known and used Baso Minang saying ‘rancak bana’ meaning very good or great! By using the name ‘The Rancak-ers’, Brett also hopes people will always enjoy their performances.

As word spread about this new group in town, so did its membership so much so the group now has over 20 dedicated musicians and dancers.  With more members comes more talent, ideas and creativity. While they are currently focusing on a number of traditional and contemporary Minang dances, as they grow they hope to explore the many regional variations of traditional music and dance that can be found throughout the Minangkabau highlands of West Sumatra. 

Be sure to keep an eye out for Brett as he takes a step back from his Artistic and Cultural Director duties to join the Rancakers on the main stage at the Indofest Cultural and Culinary Festival on September 25 at the Cultural Precinct on the eastern end of North Terrace. You won’t want to miss this new and exciting display of West Sumatran culture!