Journal article

The World of Cocos Malay Music and Dance: A Documentary Film on Performing Arts in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

David Irving, Jenny McCallum

Journal of Music Research Online | University of Adelaide | Published : 2020


The Cocos (Keeling) Islands, located halfway between Perth and Sri Lanka and part of Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories, are home to around 400 Cocos Malays and 150 others. Uninhabited until 1826, the islands became a coconut plantation controlled by the Scottish Clunies-Ross family and worked by Malay labourers from 1827 until 1978. In this isolated community there arose a unique and distinctive set of cultural practices, which drew from Malay, Javanese, and (some) Scottish influences. The rhythms of Cocos Malay life involve regular musicking and Islamic religious ritual: on specific occasions, including the week-long celebrations following Hari Raya (Eid al- Fitr), the birthday of the Pr..

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