A STREET festival in Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling and Khoo Kongsi on July 15 will showcase the results of five months of hard work put in by a group of talented youngsters to document, in their own fun way, the many facets of Penang's heritage.
Called Heritage Heboh, the programme had taken its 60 young participants on an exploration of the inner city of George Town, and then guided them to transform what they had seen, heard, learned and experienced into performing arts.
The festival, to be held from 8.30pm to 11pm, is for them to share and expound through music, dance and shadow play their newfound heritage awareness, knowledge and skills.
The participants, aged 11 to 18, are part of the Anak-anak Kota or Children of the City, a heritage education programme led by children theatre pioneer Janet Pillai.
“This is the first children’s festival – by and for them. It is a significant happening, a new cultural enterprise and saleable tourist attraction,” said Janet at a press conference on Tuesday.
“The children will take to the street to perform and there will be a mascot – Mr Love Lane – guiding the audience to the location of each performance,” she said.
There will be a shadow play wayang bayang-bayang of stories the children had gleaned from the carvings on heritage buildings.
A dance performance gerak-gerak borak-borak incorporated the work movements of traders and their customers, which the children had observed during a tour of the inner city. They named the dances as ronggeng roti jala and lok-lok lambada.
Musik bunyi-bunyian is their music performance that features songs about sailors, spices, silk and secret societies. The music composition is written for the gamelan and wayang kulit ensemble with lyrics, written by the youngsters, set to the Penang traditions of boria and dondang sayang.
Heritage Heboh comes under DiGi’s Amazing Malaysians programme that started last year. The programme supports the preservation of Malaysia’s heritage by involving youth and children living mainly in rural areas and goes by the belief that “to preserve tradition, it is necessary to preserve the ability of people to practise it.”
Those wanting a sneak preview can go for the Heritage Heboh Street Festival dress rehearsal at 3pm tomorrow at the ABN-Amro Arts and Culture Centre in Beach Street, Penang.
On the day of the festival, there will be a Children's Traditional Crafts and Food Fair from 4pm to 6.30pm at Khoo Kongsi for pre-registered participants in which 100 youngsters would get to learn from local masters the secrets of preparing traditional food and craft that are peculiar to Penang.
Among others, they will learn how to prepare apom and popiah, make garland of flowers and print their own personalised T-shirts.
To reward the inner city folk who had worked closely with the Heritage Heboh participants, the organisers are bringing in Yudi – a songstress of the golden oldies – to perform at the festival.
Part of Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling and Armenian Street will be closed to traffic from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on July 13 for a practice session.
For the festival proper on July 15, part of Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling will be closed from 2pm to 11pm and Armenian Street from 8.30pm to 11pm. For details, call festival mascot Mr Love Lane at 016-9562847.
Heritage Heboh Festival programme (July 15):
8.30pm: Wayang bayang-bayang at Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling
9pm: Gerak-gerak, Borak-borak at Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling
9.30pm: Musik Bunyi-bunyian at Khoo Kongsi
10pm: Yudi’s performance at Khoo Kongsi