Dikir Barat is a modified and secularized version of zikir, which is a form of incantation praising Allah and Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). Like most folk performances, the Dikir Barat, in its traditional practice, is an avenue for social commentary.
A Dikir Barat ensemble consists of two opposing groups who sing in a call-and-respond pattern. Each team is lead by a tukang karut or lyricist whose performance is judged by his ability to versify, his skill and his ingenuity for improvisation.
While singing, the group members will do certain actions, especially the hands to brighten and enliven the performance.
Handclapping and the striking of a gong accompany the entire performance.