NAC Initiatives Give Boost to Traditional Malay Arts Development


NAC Initiatives Give Boost to



Traditional Malay Arts Development


The National Arts Council (NAC) will be launching a series of initiatives to bring the professional and artistic development of traditional arts to greater heights, starting with traditional Malay art forms.


In recent years, the Malay arts scene has become increasingly vibrant with the steady rise in the number of arts groups and activities. Over 20 traditional Malay music groups are currently active, with new groups Munir, Sri Gemilang, and Majlis Pusat’s Orkes Mutiara entering the scene in 2007. New players have also been added to the Malay dance scene since the 1990s, including the formation of Teater Era Tari and Majilis Pusat’s resident dance company Kirana Seni in 2003. At the community level, the formation of the Malay Cultural Group in 1977 under the auspices of PA to organise and promote Malay cultural activities has also ignited the formation of similar groups in community clubs. Even in schools, there are now some 230 Malay dance groups, up from less than 200 groups five years ago.


To focus greater attention on the development of artistic and management capabilities, as well as new audiences across different genres of traditional arts, the Council will be organising workshops and seminars, and deepening regional networking and collaborations. Through these platforms, NAC aims to identify the training needs of the traditional arts scene, showcase homegrown talent, encourage active cultural and knowledge exchanges, and provide networking opportunities among artists both locally and regionally. These initiatives will complement the existing total range of support provided for traditional arts groups, ranging from grants and arts housing subsidies, to the biennial national music competitions to identify and nurture young talent in traditional music.


On 5 July 2008, NAC will be joining hands with PERKAMUS (The Society of Singers, Musicians and Professional of the Malay Music Industry in Singapore) to co-presentBengkel Muzik Melayu Tradisional dan Dendang Aslirma (Traditional Malay Music Workshop and Concert), which covers the genres of Dondang Sayang and Asli. The first of a series of training opportunities targeted at professional and semi-professional Malay music practitioners, this workshop will be conducted by Rahim Jantan, lecturer at theAkademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (National Arts Culture and Heritage Academy) in Malaysia, and will culminate in a concert showcase.


The Bengkel Muzik Melayu Tradisional dan Dendang Aslirma workshop follows on the heels of a series of traditional Malay dance workshops co-organised by NAC and Majlis Pusat co-organised during the month-long Festival Tari Serumpun (Regional Malay Dance Festival) held in May 2008. At the workshops conducted by Dr Raja Alfirafindra M. Hum, dance lecturer of Indonesian Arts Institute of Yogyakarta, participants underwent a series of practical and theoretical workshops on traditional dance techniques and repertoires, musical forms for Malay dance, choreography, as well as costume and make-up. 


Traditional Malay dance practitioners and arts administrators also had the opportunity for exchanges with Malaysian counterparts in June 2008, when NAC led a 19-person delegation to attend the Zapin Competition in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, organised by theJohor Heritage Foundation.


With NAC’s increased efforts in nurturing the growth of traditional arts, practitioners of traditional arts can look forward to future opportunities to upgrade their artistic and professional skills through short-term residencies and training programmes at established institutions and greater participation in collaborative projects.


For more information on the workshop, please refer to the annexes.

Annex 1Bengkel Muzik Melayu Tradisional dan Dendang Aslirma

Annex 2: Bio of Rahim Jantan