Sirep or Tifa in the Tradition of Biak People – The origin of the sirep in the story of the Biak tribe according to Mecky Arwam as written in “Papuan Cultural Perspectives” a book published by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Director General of Cultural Values, Arts and Traditional Values ​​edited by anthropologist Agapitus Ezebio Dumatubun, it is said that somewhere on Biak Island there are two brothers named Fraimun and Sarenbeyar.

The both of brothers each have the meaning of Saren, namely bow and beyar, bowstring. So sarenbeyar means saren or bow with arrows attached. Fraimun means a war tool whose hilt can kill (because he once killed). The two brothers one day left their village, Maryendi, for an adventure towards northern Biak at the Wampamber location. Because the distance was far from the village, Maryendi was no longer visible, alias drowned and could not be seen from away

This made them settle in Wampamber. One night, the both went hunting. Suddenly there was a sound coming out of the Opsur tree (meaning wood or tree) that could make a sound. Hearing the sound from the tree, they immediately went home that night.

Out of curiosity in the morning, the two brothers rushed back to the forest for seeing the shape and appearance of the voiced tree, namely Opsur. The Opsur tree also contains honey bees and soa-soa monitor lizards (lizards). It turned out that the Opsur tree also contained a honey bee nest and there was a monitor lizard that also lived near the Opsur tree. Seeing this, the two brothers rushed to cut down the Opsur tree to make logs measuring about 50 centimeters long.

Apparently this brother and sister are very skilled at making Opsur logs into objects or percussion instruments, namely tifa or sirep in the Biak language. Armed with simple tools such as nibongs or iron rods about one meter long, the both punched holes in Opsur wood like pipes. To make holes in the wood, the process is done alternately while burning the middle part to make it better and the sound can be crisper.

When about to cover the wooden hole, his young brother suggested using his old brother’s thigh skin. But his old brother said later it would make him feel very deep pain, maybe even lost his life. No wonder his brother actually suggested that he should only use animal skins.

Luckily around the Opsur tree there there is a living soa-soa which are good for covering wood holes that can originate a sound when they are pounded. To catch the soa-soa, there must be a special way, namely by calling them. By using the Biak language, both of them call, “Be napirem bo” (hei brother),” said both of them when they called the Soa Soa or monitor lizard.

Suddenly Soa Soa nodded and understood so voluntarily followed the two brothers. Then these two brothers, Fraimun and Sarenbeyar, brought the soa-soa into the house and skinned it, to cover one of the holes of Opsur wood. Since then, Tifa’s voice began to come out of the sound or Opsur tree. The Soa Soa skin covering the wood hole will sound even crispier if the soa-soa leather is attached to it.

Incidentally nearby the Opsur tree there is also a honey bee nest, both of them took honey bee nests to attach to the skin of Tifa Soa Soa to make sounds that echo when they are pounded against the rhythm of the feet and the sound of reflections.

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