A taste of heritage at the DFP Seni Festival 2024


The musical 'Mek Mulung Putera Cahaya Bulan', a tale of love and tragedy, is set to play at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in KL on July 27. Photo: DFP

The forthcoming DFP Seni Festival 2024, scheduled to open at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) in KLCC in July, will feature a diverse array of traditional music and performing arts events.

The festival, now in its sixth edition, aims to spotlight traditional and heritage art forms, preserving and promoting Malaysia’s cultural diversity.

An acclaimed Chinese orchestra, with a line-up of high school students, right to two traditional Malay performing arts shows – Mek Mulung and Randai – are set to light up the DFP stage.

“This year’s festival is a testimony of the DFP’s commitment to nurture an appreciation towards our heritage legacy, such as traditional music and arts, providing a platform for these timeless and inspiring performances for Malaysians from all walks of life,” said Hassina Begam Abdul Gani, the CEO of DFP.

Jit Sin High School Chinese Orchestra, from Bukit Mertajam, Penang, will kick off the DFP Seni Festival on July 20. The concert will feature composer Li BoChan’s The Song Of Chu, originally an erhu duet concerto that will be rearranged as an erhu-cello duet.

The piece will be performed by erhu virtuoso Tan Rou Yee and talented cellist Lim Sing Yee. Other than the Chinese orchestra and chamber music pieces, the DFP audience can expect a list of classic Malay songs arranged by Taiwanese composer Lu Liang Hui.

Jit Sin High School Chinese Orchestra, from Bukit Mertajam, Penang, will kick off the DFP Seni Festival on July 20. Photo: HandoutJit Sin High School Chinese Orchestra, from Bukit Mertajam, Penang, will kick off the DFP Seni Festival on July 20. Photo: Handout

Lim Soon Oo, an experienced conductor, will helm the Jit Sin High School Chinese Orchestra, boasting a legacy spanning over half a century.

The traditional Malay theatre of Mek Mulung will take the spotlight at DFP on July 27.

The show is presented in collaboration with the Department of Culture & Arts and Kumpulan Mek Mulung Seri Mahawangsa (a combination of Persatuan Penggerak Warisan Seni Budaya Negeri Kedah or “Akrab”, and Kumpulan Mek Mulung Wang Tepus).

Actor Arja Lee take on the lead role in Mek Mulung Putera Cahaya Bulan, a tale of love and tragedy.

Mek Mulung, a traditional Malay performance encompassing acting, dialogue, singing, and dancing, was designated – last December – by Unesco as part of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage.

Originating from Wang Tepus village in Jitra, Kedah, this unique traditional theatre, specific to the northern Malaysian state, involves a group of 15-20 performers accompanied by a traditional music ensemble featuring drums, clappers, and a gong. With a history spanning over 400 years, Mek Mulung has been passed down through generations in Kedah.

On Aug 10, the DFP Seni Festival will showcase Randai, the traditional Minangkabau folk theatre from Negri Sembilan, in Randai Mudo Pak Belalang.

This production by Pewara Dance Theatre (featuring alumni and staff of National Academy of Arts Culture and Heritage, or Aswara) features martial arts, dance, and theatrical drama.

The DFP Seni Festival concludes with a programme at the DFP lobby on Sept 7 and 8, making music and arts accessible to the public.

More info here.

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