First-Ever UNESCO Heritage Arts From Malaysia’s Kelantan Region To Grace Washington DC

September 22 16:51 2023
First-Ever UNESCO Heritage Arts From Malaysia’s Kelantan Region To Grace Washington DC

Washington, D.C. – September 22, 2023 – The rich cultural tapestry of Kelantan, a Malaysian state seldom explored beyond Southeast Asia, is set to captivate audiences in Washington, D.C. for the very first time. In an historic Cultural Diplomacy program titled “Sounds and Soul of the East Coast,” diplomats and the public alike will be treated to an immersive experience of music, shadow-puppetry, dance, and traditional healing from this remarkable region.

A Celebration of Kelantan’s Artistic Legacy

Taking place from October 19 to 30, 2023, the program is a series of public diplomacy engagements designed to promote the arts and heritage of Kelantan. Audiences will have the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing Kelantanese arts and heritage forms, including Wayang Kulit Kelantan (Kelantan shadow puppetry), Main Teri (spiritual healing), Tari Inai (dance), Silat Jawi (Martial Art) and Dikir Barat (musical performance). The Mak Yong Theatre, a UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity awardee, will also be showcased during this thematic cultural diplomacy initiative.

This high-impact program is the result of a collaborative effort between the relevant Ministries and Agencies from Malaysia and the United States, namely The Embassy of Malaysia in Washington D.C., the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture (MOTAC), the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW), the non-profit diplomatic organization ASEAN Spouses’ Circle, Washington D.C. (ASC), Washington D.C.’S networking organization, Things To Do D.C. and the Malaysian diaspora in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) area.

Meet the Cultural Maestros: Geng Wak Long

Representing the Kelantanese arts and heritage in Washington D.C. is Geng Wak Long, led by Mr. Kamrulbahri bin Hussin. Geng Wak Long is a local cultural arts group renowned for its advocacy in promoting and preserving the cultural heritage of Kelantan. This dedicated family arts company, which includes academic experts and Adiguru (Virtuoso Maestro) from institutions like the College of Creative Arts UITM and the National Academy of Arts and Heritage (ASWARA), has played a vital role in increasing understanding and appreciation of Kelantanese arts and culture among local and international communities. (For more information: http://www.kamrulhussin.com.my/, http://www.gengwaklong.com.my)

The “Sounds and Soul of the East Coast” marks the inaugural event in a series of thematic cultural diplomacy programs to be hosted during the tenure of H.E. Dato’ Seri Ambassador Nazri Aziz as the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States. These programs aim to promote Malaysia’s arts and culture as integral to its national identity, highlight Malaysia as a tourism destination, and create momentum leading up to Visit Malaysia Year 2026. Furthermore, these initiatives play a vital role in fostering Malaysian cultural literacy among the diaspora in the US and the global community.

H.E. Dato’ Seri Ambassador Nazri Aziz as the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States: “As the Malaysian Ambassador for the United States, it is my goal to persuade the Americans to learn more about my country’s culture. We have a saying that to know Malaysia is to love Malaysia. It’s a short introduction to our culture. If Americans come to these events, I am confident they can be enticed to travel to Malaysia to see more.”

Kamrulbahri bin Hussin: “We are introducing the healing performance – Main Teri – which is a healing tradition from Kelantan. It is focused on dance, chanting, music, trance, and ritual movements to cure emotional or spiritual illnesses.”

PROGRAM: 

Malaysia Day and Armed Forces Day Reception

Date & Location: October 19, 2023,Tun Hussein Onn Hall, Embassy of Malaysia in Washington D.C.

Host: Embassy of Malaysia in Washington D.C.

Showcase: 30-40 minutes of Wayang Kulit, Silat Jawi, Tari Inai, Main Teri and Ronggeng Teri

Invitation: By Invitation

Engage Malaysia Tourism

Date & Location: October 20, 2023, (TBC)

Host: MOTAC through Tourism Malaysia Los Angeles

Showcase: 20 minutes of acoustic traditional musical instrument performance.

Invitation: By Invitation

An Evening in Malaysia: “Sounds and Soul of the East Coast” by Things To Do D.C.

Date & Location: October 25, 2023,

Tun Hussein Onn Hall, Embassy of Malaysia in Washington D.C.

Host: Embassy of Malaysia in Washington D.C. and Things To Do DC

Showcase: 30 – 45 minutes of Wayang Kulit and Dikir Barat

Invitation: Please contact Things To Do DC (https://thingstododc.com/) for further information on admission.

60th Anniversary Dinner Gala Malaysia – America Cooperation on Education Exchange (MACEE)

Date & Location: October 27, 2023,

Tun Hussein Hall, Embassy of Malaysia in Washington D.C.

Hosts: Embassy of Malaysia and Ministry of Higher Education

through the Education Malaysia, Washington D.C.

Showcase: 20-30 minutes of traditional Malay drums showcase

Invitation: By Invitation

ASEAN Joint Cultural Programme

Date & Location: October 30, 2023, U.S. State Department

Hosts:

Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW), ASEAN Spouses’ Circle Washington D.C., Embassy of Malaysia, Ladies’ Association of the Embassy of Malaysia (PERWAKILAN Washington D.C.)

Showcase: Mak Yong’s Mengadap Rebab Dance Theatre performance

Invitation: By Invitation

MEDIA RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE, INCLUDING EXTRA PHOTOS, INTERVIEW EXTRACTS, ETC.

Global media inquiries: [email protected] 

Embassy of Malaysia in Washington D.C. on Social Media: 

Facebook: Embassy of Malaysia, Washington D.C.

Instagram: myembwashingtondc

X: MYembassyWDC

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