14 composers celebrate the uniqueness of Malaysian states

14 composers celebrate the uniqueness of Malaysian states

Rediscover the diversity of Malaysia through music at the Jalur Kira, Cerita Kita concert

THE Malaysian Composers Collective (MCC) will present a classical music event on November 26, at Pentas 2 KLPac in Kuala Lumpur.

‘Jalur Kita, Cerita Kita’ is aimed at celebrating the country’s rich heritage through contemporary classical music.

The project is a collaboration between MCC with UiTM Conservatory of Music and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore. It will feature 14 specially commissioned works of music based on each of the 14 states of Malaysia.

The works will revolve around Malaysia’s cultural and natural history. They will also reflect its heritage of folklore, legends, traditional arts, crafts, poetry, songs, dances, and natural landscapes. They all served as a varied bountiful source of inspiration for the composers.

Funded by the Cendana Arts Fund, the project also required the composers to conduct bespoke research on their respective Malaysian states.

The programme Beginning with Perlis, Adam Masumi’s ‘Awang Batil Bertabik’ reimagines the traditional form of storytelling, Awang Batil, in a string quartet setting.

‘Remembering Candi 11’ evokes Ooi Wei Chern’s visit to Lembah Bujang in Kedah. Here he absorbed the beauty of the 1200-year-old Hindu temple ruins, only to be interrupted by the dissonance of city noise.

Penang’s traditional Teochew Puppet Opera is the subject of Koay Loong Chuen’s ‘Mujin’, which translates as “people-less”. It is a term that reflects how the opera is performed by just puppets and the tiny stage props; sans people.

Journeying to Perak is Ainolnaim Azizol’s ‘Bayu Nokturnal’ (Nocturnal Breeze). It is drawn from Soundscape recordings of a Tempurung (cave) which captures the natural acoustics of the cave and the sounds of wind, insects and rain.

Selangor’s Blue Mosque in Shah Alam is the inspiration for Tazul Tajuddin’s ‘Topografi IV’. It utilises the unique structure of the mosque’s four minarets and central dome as the framework for his music.

Hardesh Singh’s ‘Mud, Tin, Rubber, Concrete’ contemplates Kuala Lumpur as a city with “world-class potential”, yet seemingly fraught with contradictions to truly express its rich localised heritage and culture.

This point is accentuated by an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm at the end of the piece.

Tan Zhiyong’s ‘Fight f[or] Love’ revisits Melaka through the Dondang Sayang. It is the music of the Baba and Nyonya where singers engage in an intellectual battle of wits through an exchange of Malay poems.

Tengku Irfan retells a Johor legend, ‘Laksamana Bentan’, about a warrior who avenges his wife’s murder by Sultan Mahmud Shah II.

In retaliation, the Sultan mortally stabbed the Laksamana and cursed seven generations of the Bentan people to face extreme and unendurable experiences if they ever set foot in Kota Tinggi.

Kelantan’s Dikir Barat is the subject of Wan Azlan Wan Ahmad Rasdi’s ‘Dikir Melawati’. The woodwind instrument plays the main melody belonging to Tok Juara.

The buffalo horn design, predominantly found on the rooftops of Negeri Sembilan’s traditional Minangkabau homes, is the subject of Adeline Wong’s ‘Sembilan’.

Tai Yun Ming explores Terengganu’s legend ‘The Seventh Sea Princess’. An old tale of the Ulik Mayang, it chronicled a fisherman who returned unconscious from the sea, with the bomoh claiming that sea princesses had abducted his soul.

Pahang’s Taman Negara is the inspiration for Jessica Cho’s ‘The Conversation of Birds’. The work gathers an assortment of bird calls native to the national park, such as the Helmeted Hornbill and Oriental Magpie Robin.

Crossing the South China Sea, Mohd Fairuz Zamani’s ‘Kenyalang Rhapsody’ uses Sarawak’s indigenous art forms of Ibanese Bejawang/Bedenjang, Tabuh Iban and the Kenyah’s Pabat Pibui as starting points to paint his canvas. They bring the listeners on a short aural journey to this beautiful state in East Malaysia.

Finally from Sabah is Lee Chie Tsang’s ‘Long Calling From The Gardeners Of The Forests’. This is performed by a woodwind quintet based on the calls of the orang utan and birds such as the hornbill, who are the veritable ‘farmers’ of the forest of Borneo.

Tickets are priced at RM50 for the general public and RM35 for students.

For enquiries, WhatsApp +6012 694 3076 and +6018 227 7212. For online purchases go to www.cloudtix.co. More details can be found at www.malaysiancomposers.com or by emailing [email protected].

source – The Vibes


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