Friday, September 4, 2015

Nanyin at the Cheah Kongsi in Penang

Members of Siong Leng were in Penang to perform Nanyin as part of the Georgetown Festival on 29 Aug 2015. Arranged by the Causeway Exchange,  Siong Leng made its debut in Penang. Twelve members went to Penang for this performance.

The site of the performance was Cheah Kongsi, which has just been newly restored to its former spendour. With the lights on in the evening, the place was just perfect for this event. The ancient Nanyin (music of the south), coming from within attracted many curious passersby.

There were two performances, one at 6pm and the other at 8pm, each performance lasting one and a half hours with the last part being audience interactions. Members of the audience were intrigued by the sounds and rhythms created just just four bamboo sticks known as the "Four Treasures", They were invited to try their hands on them and successfully went through a simple routine, must to their delight. Some decided to buy a set back while others went for the CDs after listening to the music that has become rare in Penang.

Playing to a mixed audience of foreign visitors to Penang and locals, the programme was designed to show the ancient Nanyin music as well as contemporaries incorporating other musical instruments. The members demonstrated their versatility in handling different instruments. One Indian lady of the audience was intrigued when the Tabla was included in one of the modern compositions that she went nearer to capture some pictures. It was also a photographers' delight.

Listening to Nanyin music in front of the beautiful Cheah Kongsi was probably reminiscent of the days gone by, probably decades ago. This, hopefully, could be the beginning of Siong Leng's interaction with Penang.

Great performance by our members from Siong Leng! For many of the members, it was their first time in Penang! Thanks to Causeway Exchange for the arrangements.