Tourism Malaysia

MUGENJUKU Troupe Tour: Traditional Sounds of Shamisen

October 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

A shamisen, also known as sangen, is a three-stringed Japanese musical instrument that is usually played with a plectrum called a bachi. The instrument is constructed similar to that of a guitar or banjo, with only the neck slightly slimmer than that of a guitar or banjo. The neck of the shamisen is usually built in such a way that it can be divided into three or four pieces that fit and lock together, usually for ease of storage. The pegs that are used to wind the strings were traditionally made from ivory, though recently these pegs have been produced using other materials such as various kinds of wood and plastic. The three strings are made of nylon and are stretched across the body and raised from it by using a bridge.

Mugenjuku Troupe Tour : Traditional Sounds of Shamisen

The shamisen can be played solo or with other shamisen, in an ensemble with other Japanese instruments or with singing and even as an accompaniment to drama. For those who enjoy the dynamic and energetic sounds of shamisen, there will be a performance by the Mugenjuku Troupe. They have been specially invited by The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur and will be performing a series of performances in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Terengganu from 31st October to 2nd November 2011. Performance schedules are as below:

Date Time : 31 October 2011, 8.30 pm
Venue : Dewan Budaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

Kuala Lumpur
Date Time : 1 November 2011, 8.30 pm
Venue : Orchestra Hall, Akademi Seni Budaya Dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA)

Kuala Terengganu
Date Time : 2 November 2011, 8.30 pm
Venue : Dewan Sultan Mizan, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT)

Admission is free for both performances. For more information, please visit the Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur’s website here.

Photo (c) The Japan Foundation

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tourism Malaysia

Johor Heads North

October 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

The Zapin dance was originally believed to be introduced by the Muslim missionaries that came from the Middle East during the fifteenth century. Although in the past it was only performed by male dancers, female dancers are now allowed to join in the performance during present times. The music that accompanies this famous dance comes from a traditional music ensemble that consists of the gambus, accordion, rebab, marwas, rebana and dok. Though there are numerous forms of Zapin, it varies from state to state within Malaysia. This dance form is especially famous in the state of Johor.

The Zapin dance form is especially famous in the state of Johor

Ghazal music is a traditional artistic heritage within the Malay community in Johor. This type of musical art gained favour during the late 19th century, where ghazal recitals were introduced to the royal courts of Johor Sultan. In the past, the musical instruments of Ghazal consisted of a harmonium box, biola, gambus and tabla or dok (which is a type of drum). Other instruments were added in the later years, like keroncong and ukeleli. With these additions, the music was found to be quite noisy and most people felt that it has distracted from the original flavour of the Malay tunes, hence the new instruments were then taken out from the ensemble. Currently, only these instruments are being used as a traditional Johor Malay Ghazal ensemble; the harmonium, a set of tabla, the gambus, the guitar, the tamborine, the maracas and the violin.

If you have always wanted to experience these two cultural gems of Johor, then make a date with Dewan Filharmonik Petronas on 30th October 2011 as Badan Kesenian Warisan Johor is proud to present a Zapin dance and Ghazal music performance entitled ‘Johor Heads North’. Performances are scheduled to start at 8.30 pm on 30th October 2011. Tickets are priced at RM 58 for all seats. Early birds will be entitled to purchase these tickets at RM 48 (limited to the first 100 tickets sold). Patrons who are attending the function are required to be in smart casual dress code. For more information, please log on to the website here.

Photo (c) airiz

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tourism Malaysia

Kembara Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Perak 2011

October 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm

A traveller once said that what really makes a journey truly memorable was not where you went, but the people you meet and travel with. We learnt the truth of this statement during the Kembara Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia to Perak trip recently. We learnt that a grand palace filled with the finest finishings is nothing but a hollow meaningless artifice without the man who gifted it to his people as a museum; that a simple humble lunch turns into a joyous feast when affection and warmth are its main ingredients; and a simple media trip to Perak brings with it a trove of treasured memories just because of a bunch of complete strangers.

The media trip to Perak took place between 14th and 17th October 2011

And so we would like to share some of those memories with you, our readers, in hopes that you will find them as special as how they are to us.

We will start with the people who actually made this trip possible – Gaya Travel Magazine. As the organisers of the Kembara Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia to Perak 2011, they were more than mere hosts, their dedication and effort were equally matched with their warmth and sincerity. Their energy was infectious, and their carefree personalities set the easy-going, happy-go-lucky atmosphere throughout the trip. Although young, this team performed professionally, handling every challenge that came along with a welcome smile and a cheery remark. If we seem like we’re singing praises of them, it’s not because we want to be invited for upcoming trips, but because they’re just such a fun bunch to be with. Especially Ed.

The organisers of the trip, the Gaya Travel Magazine team. Really great job, guys and girls! The guy in the hat is Mr. Ed, not the horse

To be really honest, the most memorable part of the trip that everyone will NOT admit outright, was the fact that we loved being treated like royalty, thanks to Malaysia’s men in blue. This time around, we were accompanied by five dashing police officers from the Royal Malaysian Police. They made sure we were safe and, most importantly, that we got to our destinations on time. They may look stern, but they are actually very friendly, approachable and upright individuals. Thanks a lot, abang polis, because of you guys, we now know how VIPs feel when they travel. Trust us, that in itself, is a wonderful feeling.

From left to right – Jasasmurni, Shafik Izuan, Hassan, Malik, Abdul Latif. Their work ethics and professionalism are beyond compare.

At Kampung Beng, you will discover why the annual pilgrimage home known as balik kampung is something many Malaysians hold dear to their hearts. Here they wait, warm sincere smiling faces, waiting to greet complete strangers and welcome them into their homes. Willing to share everything they have, no matter how little or simple it may be, asking nothing in return except that we leave with fond memories of them and their village. Sememangnya syurga terletak di telepak kaki ibubapa – truly, paradise lies at the feet of our parents.

These ladies may be simple, but their charm lies in their elegance, sincerity and kindness.

The ladies of Kampung Beng hard at work preparing lunch for their guests

And what of Perak? The state is a beautiful place, surpassed only by the many lovely people who call it their home. The Tourism Malaysia, Perak Office welcomed us with open arms, and through them we realise that the best that Perak has to offer are its people, so many colourful and interesting personalities, and that they are what makes the state such a special place. Thank you, Puan Norshamshida, you and your staff made Perak so welcoming for all of us.

A very lovely lady with a great sense of humour. Can you spot the praying mantis on her head?

Dinah, one of the many volunteer rangers at the Taiping Zoo conducting a night safari tour, for us nonetheless

Mr Annuar Isa, the man behind the First Galleria in Taiping, is a man who loves to share what he knows about history

Mr Lingam, explaining the history of tin mining in Perak and its wide reaching consequences

Zamri, a local craftsman specialising in making labu sayong, ceramic water containers, happily answering all our questions

An elderly man selling soya bean drinks and bean curd. His stall in Ipoh, known as Kacang Soya Funny Mountain, actually has a drive thru service!

Mr Chin sharing with us the many stories about the sweet pomelo. That’s Ed in the red shirt by the way

The best kind of journey you can ever take is one where you all begin as strangers and end as friends. With that we would like to end this little stroll down memory lane by sharing some of the fun times we had getting to know our fellow travellers, no longer strangers, but kindred spirits and sincere friends. It was great spending time with all of you, we hope you enjoyed it too!

Our fellow travellers seated in the front of the bus

Our fellow travellers seated in the middle of the bus

Last but not least, our fellow travellers seated at the back of the bus

To our readers, we hope that your journeys will be filled with as many great memories as ours.

To see some more photos of the trip, make your way to the photo album on Facebook here.

Tags: ,

Tourism Malaysia

MPO’s Native Foray

October 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Malaysians are very lucky to be blessed with so many wonderful things. Except for the occasional riots and demonstrations, there has been no life-threatening wars or genocide after World War II. Though the country was also affected by the downturn of the economy back in the 80s, most people still had jobs and enough funds to support their family. Children grew up playing together with their friends of all races, and it has become second nature for us to visit our friends during festive occasions such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri or even Deepavali.

The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra ensemble will be performing original music inspired by Datuk Siti Nurhaliza

Dewan Filharmonik Petronas will present a brand new musical concoction that is inspired by life in Malaysia. Entitled ‘MPO’s Native Foray’, this musical will be led by Marques Young, the Co-Principal Trombone of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. The ensemble will perform original music inspired by P. Ramlee, Sheila Majid, Fela Kuti, Siti Nurhaliza, Ibrahim Ferrer and James Brown.

Performances are scheduled to start at 8.30 pm on 29th October 2011. Tickets are priced at RM 58 for all seats. Early birds will be entitled to purchase these tickets at RM 48 (limited to the first 100 tickets sold). Patrons who are attending the function are required to be in smart casual dress code. For more information, please log on to the website here.

Photo (c) Azrol Azmi

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tourism Malaysia

Karnival BEST 2011

For more information, please click here.