In photos: Kelantanese ancient healing ceremony mesmerises Parisian audience


Tok Puteri Che Mohd Zailani Che Moh, better known as Pak Mat Jedok, is one of the most iconic masters of the Main Puteri tradition in Kelantan. His intense on-stage presence and powerful dance movements captivated audiences in Paris. Photo: Ahmad Fikry Mohd Anwar/Pusaka

The distinctive beauty of Kelantan’s traditional culture illuminated the heart of Paris a few weeks ago.

On June 7, cultural organisation Pusaka presented a performance of Main Puteri at the renowned Festival de l’Imaginaire. The Kelantanese healing art form featured esteemed master ‘Tok Puteris’, Che Mohd Zailani bin Che Moh (Pok Mat Jedok), Muhd Noor bin Arifin (Pok Jue), and Ahmad Shaifuldin bin Jusoh (Din Puteri), accompanied by an ensemble of extraordinary young Kelantanese musicians, including Kimi Anak Limbat, Syakil Yusoff, and Alang Rebanamas.

The Tok Puteris were accompanied by an ensemble of young Kelantanese musicians, many of whom honed their art under tutelage of master musician Md Gel Mat Dali, also known as Poksu Agel. Photo: Ahmad Fikry Mohd Anwar/PusakaThe Tok Puteris were accompanied by an ensemble of young Kelantanese musicians, many of whom honed their art under tutelage of master musician Md Gel Mat Dali, also known as Poksu Agel. Photo: Ahmad Fikry Mohd Anwar/Pusaka

Pusaka’s Main Puteri was the only art form from South-East Asia featured at the 26th edition of Festival de l’Imaginaire, organised by Maison des Cultures du Monde.

The audience at the Theater de l’Alliance Française was captivated by the Main Puteri’s heady mix of oral poetry, powerful yet graceful dance movements, and hypnotic music. Towards the end of the performance, the whole theatre stood up, clapping and dancing in celebration with the performers.

The Theater de l’Alliance Française in Paris was transformed into a traditional Main Puteri ‘panggung’, complete with a ‘lelangit’ ceremonial cloth and jasmine flowers. The challenges of staging were expertly handled by the theatre’s technical team. Photo: Ahmad Fikry Mohd Anwar/PusakaThe Theater de l’Alliance Française in Paris was transformed into a traditional Main Puteri ‘panggung’, complete with a ‘lelangit’ ceremonial cloth and jasmine flowers. The challenges of staging were expertly handled by the theatre’s technical team. Photo: Ahmad Fikry Mohd Anwar/Pusaka

Main Puteri is a healing performance tradition found mainly in the north-eastern Malaysian state of Kelantan. It incorporates elements of dance, music, oral poetry, and ritual to heal patients suffering from emotional or spiritual illness.

In the Kelantanese worldview, such illnesses are due either to an attack by malignant or unsettled spirits, a loss of semangat (soul or life-essence) or an imbalance of angin (inner winds) within a patient’s body.

Tok Puteri Muhd Noor bin Arifin (fifth, from left), fondly known as Pok Jue, opened the Main Puteri performance in Paris with a Buka Panggung (Consecration of the Stage) and a commemoration of teachers and ancestors. Photo: Ahmad Fikry Mohd Anwar/PusakaTok Puteri Muhd Noor bin Arifin (fifth, from left), fondly known as Pok Jue, opened the Main Puteri performance in Paris with a Buka Panggung (Consecration of the Stage) and a commemoration of teachers and ancestors. Photo: Ahmad Fikry Mohd Anwar/Pusaka

A Main Puteri performance is accompanied by an ensemble of musicians on rebab, serunai, gong, gendang, geduk, gedumbak, canang and kesi.

Pusaka’s Main Puteri in Paris was supported by the Embassy of Malaysia in Paris, MyCreative Ventures, the National Department of Culture and Arts, and individual contributors.

Pusaka is a non-profit organisation that is working to support the continuity and viability of Malaysian traditional performance arts. More info here.


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Main Puteri , Kelantan , France , Festival , Pusaka , Paris

   

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