After spending most of the last two years relegated to online platforms, Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts returns this May for a 2022, physical edition at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Now in its 21st edition, the festival celebrates Malay artists across mediums, from music to theatre to dance, with a particular focus on icons who have shaped the local arts and entertainment scene.
Highlights of this year’s festival include FENOMENA, which gathers Singapore Malay music icons Jatt Ali, Hady Mirza and Sufi Rashid in a one-night only concert.
Veteran singer-songwriter Art Fazil who also marks his own milestone in a concert that celebrates the 20th anniversary of his award-winning album, Nur, with the concert Nur Cahaya Sakti.
On the theatre front, look out for the next generation of theatre makers, with Esplanade commission Kepaten Obor. In this multi-disciplinary one woman show, Suhaili Safari presents a heartfelt monologue reflecting on the ties that bind grandparents and grandchildren, seeking out her lineage as based on her own story.
In The Wrong Geng 2.0, dance artist Norhaizad Adam playfully questions themes including gender and performance in this solo work. With its title playing on the term ronggeng, which reflects the stigma of joget dancers as “dirty”, The Wrong Geng 2.0 explores the dance form from the perspective of the jantan joget (male dancer). Negotiating the social, imaginative and affective aspects of human labour within contemporary capitalism, at its core lies the question: What if the role of the perempuan joget (female dancer) was undertaken by a cis-male?
Popular Malaysian indie band, Kugiran Masdo, will bring the swinging ’60s into Esplanade for their debut performance in Singapore – and with overwhelming demand, will be performing at the spacious Esplanade Concert Hall for a bigger crowd.
And in An Evening of Dikir – Teraju Tiga, the Esplanade Concert Hall will come alive in one epic night of dikir barat. This tribute concert to Singapore’s dikir barat scene will trace the art form’s development through the years and be a celebration of the camaraderie between artists young and old.
Pesta Raya will also be featuring digital screenings of theatre and concerts, with the premiere of the film Pulang Balik by Teater Ekamatra, as well as a recording of concert Tempoh by OrkeStar Trio & Djangat, which was commissioned by Esplanade and presented live as part of Pentas series in October 2021.
This Pesta Raya, make your way down to the Esplanade, and find yourself surrounded by the Malay performing arts in all its diversity, and settle in for the biggest festival since 2019, with the return to live events.
Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts runs from 26th to 29th May 2022 at the Esplanade. Programme and tickets available here