If you’re looking for things to do in Singapore, why not learn more about Malay culture and arts at this annual festival?
With Hari Raya Aidilfitri (a holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide) coming closer, we’ve got an event coming up that’s sure to get you into the festive mood, and we’re not just talking about the food at Geylang Serai’s Ramadan Bazaar. Instead, why not learn more about Malay culture at Pesta Raya, a culture festival happening at The Esplanade next month?
Being a yearly affair, the Malay Festival of Arts has been showcasing Malay music, dance and theatre from the Nusantara (Malay Archipelago) – including both traditional and contemporary art forms. But don’t feel overwhelmed; we’ve listed out five acts you won’t want to miss.
Learn the traditional art of dikir barat
Dikir Barat workshops are for those who want a hands-on experience with this traditional and lively Malay-styled choral singing. Have fun being part of this energetic dikir culture by learning dance moves and how to play traditional percussion instruments. Children-to-parent dikir workshops are also available, so bring the young ones along!
Catch one of Malaysia’s music divas
Malaysia’s famous queen of rock, Ella, is set to perform in Singapore almost two decades after her last concert. Bringing you some of her greatest hits like, “Pengemis Cinta, Sembilu” and “Dua Ihsan Bercinta”, you’re guaranteed a dose of nostalgia as she sweeps you off your feet with her signature raspy voice and vast vocal range.
Watch an Indonesian silent horror movie
More into the supernatural and mythology? This black-and-white, silent (but accompanied by a live gamelan ensemble) movie, Setan Jawa (Javanese Devil), revolves around Javanese culture and folklore. It’s an enigmatic film inspired by a classic Indonesian horror film, Nosferatu – sure to give you the creeps. Watch if you dare.
Watch this new-age folk band from Indonesia
This new Indonesian band, Payung Teduh, is one to watch with their alternative music, blending folk, keroncong (think Indonesian ukulele), pop and jazz into their one-of-a-kind sound. Successfully crafting poetic-like lyrics matched with soulful, mellow melodies, they’re sure to touch your hearts and soothe your soul.
Catch a controversial play
Main2 is the first Malay language play to be staged at the arts centre. Watch the six main characters battle sensitive and raw issues like incest, domestic abuse, life-long drug abuse and sexual violence. This is a play unlike any other.