Our Colours, Our Stories: 14 wonderful Malaysian musical tales

The tale of Laksamana Bentan, impressions of Teochew Puppet Opera, the sounds of birds and orangutan, the structure of the Blue Mosque, the echoes of Gua Tempurung ...

Hear these and much more in the 14 pieces that make up the Jalur Kita, Cerita Kita concert this November 26 at KLPac Pentas 2.

Book your ticket now at http://www.cloudjoi.com/buy/oqpc8o


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Starting with Perlis, Adam Masumi’s 'Awang Batil Bertabik' reimagines the traditional form of storytelling Awang Batil in a string quartet setting.

'Remembering Candi 11' sees Ooi Wei Chern visiting Kedah’s Lembah Bujang, where he absorbed the beauty of the 1,200-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 means “peopleless”, a term that reflects how the opera is performed without people but by puppets and the tiny stage props.

On Perak is Ainolnaim Azizol’s 'Bayu Nokturnal' (Norcturnal Breeze), based on soundscape recordings of Tempurung cave that uses the natural acoustics of the cave and sounds of the wind, insects, the rain present at the time.

Selangor’s Blue Mosque at Shah Alam is the inspiration for Tazul Tajuddin’s 'Topografi IV', which uses the unique structure of the mosque’s four minarest 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, but still cannot quite make it”, with its different layers are often at odds with one another. To press home the point, it has an ending that is composed by an AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm.

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

Tan Zhiyong’s 'Fight f[or] Love' revisits Melaka through the Dondang Sayang, 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 manages to stab the Laksamana and curse seven generations of the Bentan people to vomit blood if they ever set foot in Kota Tinggi.

Kelantan’s Dikir Barat is the subject of Wan Azlan Wan Ahmad Rasdi’s 'Dikir Melawati', with the woodwind instrument playing the main melody that belongs to Tok Juara.

Tai Yun Ming explores Terengganu’s legend 'The Seventh Sea Princess', an old tale of the Ulik Mayang about a fisherman who returned unconscious from the sea, said by the bomoh that sea princesses had abducted his soul.
Off to Pahang’s Taman Negara is Jessica Cho, who in 'The Conversation of Birds' brings together various bird calls native to the national park such as the Helmeted Hornbill and Oriental Magpie Robin.

Mohd Fairuz bin Zamani’s 'Kenyalang Rhapsody' uses Sarawak’s indigenous art forms of Ibanese Bejawang/Bedenjang and Tabuh Iban and the Kenyah’s Pabat Pibui as starting points to paint his canvass, taking the listeners on a short aural journey to this beautiful state in East Malaysia.

Finally from Sabah, we get Lee Chie Tsang’s 'Long Calling From The Gardeners Of The Forests', a woodwind quintet based on the calls of the orang utan and birds like the hornbill, who are the veritable ‘farmers’ of the forest of Borneo.

Composers’ Biographies

Adam Masumi received his Bachelor of Music Composition from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in 2009 and did his Master’s in composition at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, studying under Gerard Brophy.  He is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Composition at UiTM.

Ainolnaim Azizol studied music at UiTM, and is the recipient of the MARA Graduate Excellence Programme scholarship for his Ph.D. study in University of Bristol, UK for the year 2019-2024. He is the main founder of SPECTRA festival 2014-2018 and MEMlab. He won second prize at the Asian Composers League young composers competition in Japan in 2014.

Wan Azlan Wan Ahmad Rasdi is an experimental composer and performer. His works have been performed in venues such as Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Kuala Lumpur Performing Art Centre, the Lithuania Music Festival and Stratford Music Festival.

Mohd Fairuz bin Zamani graduated with a PhD in Music Performance from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, and holds postgraduate degree in musicology and undergraduate degree in music composition from University of Malaya and Universiti Teknologi MARA, respectively.

Hardesh Singh studied with Ali Akhbar Khan in San Francisco. He has scored for films by the late Yasmin Ahmad and Amir Muhammad, and has worked on various music and sound design projects in Australia and the Netherlands.

Tengku Irfan is a pianist, conductor and composer. He received the 2012 ASCAP Charlotte Bergen Award for his String Quartet and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards in 2012, 2014 and 2017. His compositions have been premiered by the New York Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, MDR Sinfonieorchester, New York Virtuoso Singers, Peoria, and Singapore Symphony orchestras.

Jessica Cho received her Bachelor of Music at Middlesex University, London and her Masters of Music at University of Sheffield as a research student on composition and modern repertoire for piano. Cho was the first from her country to win a prize at the Asian Composers League young composers competition in Taiwan in 2012.

Koay Loong Chuen studied composition with composer Dr Wong Chee Wei since 2019. He is currently studying composition at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

Lee Chie Tsang received his Bachelor of Music at the University of Western Australia, and PhD in music composition under Liza Lim at the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM) at the University of Huddersfield. Currently a senior lecturer and a fellow researcher at UM Sabah, his work includes  exploring oral traditions in East Malaysia.

Ooi Wei Chern is a yang qin performer at the N10 Ensemble and a passionate young composer. He studied at the China Conservatory of Music, learning composition under the tutelage of Associate Professor Wang Jue.

Tazul Tajuddin is dean and associate professor in composition at the Faculty of Music, UiTM as well as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. He has written over 50 works which have been performed and broadcast in 23 countries, and has won numerous awards.

Tai Yun Ming is a student at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore. Her works have been featured at Arts and Science Days 2020 @Saint Etienne, Hot Air Music Festival 2021, and Simpósio Internacional de Música Nova 2021. She has also won first prize in Chopin Society Malaysia's Virtual International Music Competition 2020 (composition).

Tan Zhiyong is currently studying music composition in West Chester University of Pennsylvania. His compositions often express issues such as environmental and social issues like racism, psychological disorder and more. He has won several competitions.

Adeline Wong is a Senior Lecturer in Composition at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore. She graduated from the Eastman School of Music and Royal College of Music London. She is currently the President of the Malaysian Composers Collective (MCC), and the artistic director of the Free Hand Festival, the 1st Malaysian Contemporary Composers Piano Festival 2019 and 2022 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

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