Malay arts festival Pesta Raya marks 20th edition with return to live performances

Pulang Balik (left) and Sanisah Huri's concert are part of the Esplanade's Pesta Raya 2021. PHOTOS: ESPLANADE

SINGAPORE - Pesta Raya, the Esplanade's annual Malay arts festival, celebrates its 20th edition this year with a return to live performances.

It will feature home-grown and regional talent such as veteran singer Sanisah Huri, theatre group Teater Ekamatra and music group Orkestar Trio.

This year's instalment, set to run from June 10 to 27, will have a mix of shows and workshops with limited live audience and participants, as well as performances and films streamed online.

The programmes in last year's edition all took place online as the pandemic halted live performances.

One of the highlights this year will be Sanisah Huri - The Lady In Concert at Esplanade Concert Hall on June 12 and 13.

The live shows will mark the singer's 50th year in the entertainment scene and will comprise her regional hits that span a range of genres such as joget, pop, keroncong, asli and pop.

One of the festival's commissions is Pulang Balik, a double-bill theatre performance by Teater Ekamatra that will run live at the Esplanade Theatre Studio from June 10 to 13.

It features two plays, Mama Lekas Pulang by playwright Aidli "Alin" Mosbit, director Molizah Mohd Mohter and actress Elnie S Mashari; and Balik by playwright Zulfadli Rashid, director Mohd Fared Jainal and actress Farah Ong.

Another commission is Tempoh, a collaboration between musicians from Singaporean group OrkeStar Trio and Indonesian group Djangat.

Taking place at the Esplanade Recital Studio from June 11 to 13, the multimedia concert blends traditional, folk and sacred music and is directed by Young Artist Award recipient Irfan Kasban.

Other live music collaborations include Gambus Electronica by oud player Azrin Abdullah and electronic music artiste Safuan Johari at the Esplanade Concourse on June 12; and Gema Serumpun by arts groups Gamelan Asmaradana and Gendang Akustika at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre on June 10, which will blend Indonesian gamelan and Malay folk music.

The festival programme also includes an interactive dance performance, Garap Garage, by the likes of Young Artist Award recipient Sufri Juwahir at Esplanade Annexe Studio on June 12 and 13.

There will also be films screened for free on digital platform Esplanade Offstage on June 10, including three works by Singapore directors Faisal Ishak, M. Raihan Halim and Sanif Olek, as well as a festival commission by Indonesian auteur Garin Nugroho.

Book it/ Pesta Raya

Where: Various venues in the Esplanade (1 Esplanade Drive) and online

When: June 10 to 27, various times

Admission: Free and ticketed, tickets go on sale on Monday (April 26)

Info: Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay website

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