Dual or­ches­tras daz­zle in Yan­gon

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - NYEIN EI EI HTWE nyeineiei­htwe@mm­times.com

DUR­ING the decades of iso­la­tion that Myan­mar ex­pe­ri­enced in the 20th cen­tury, Sin­ga­pore be­came one of a small group of na­tions that re­mained friendly with the junta regime. Though times have changed and a new, demo­cratic gov­ern­ment has taken over, the two coun­tries re­main on good terms – as demon­strated by Sin­ga­pore’s an­nounce­ment that Myan­mar na­tion­als now qual­ify for a 30-day visa ex­emp­tion when vis­it­ing the is­land.

To com­mem­o­rate the re­la­tion­ship, or­ches­tras from both coun­tries per­formed to­gether on Au­gust 25 at Se­dona Ho­tel.

The “cel­e­bra­tion of 50 years of friend­ship” fea­tured church-based Myan­mar or­ches­tra group AOC (At­tach­ment Of Cloud), con­ducted by Myan­mar mu­si­cian Saw James Hsar Doe Soe. From Sin­ga­pore, or­ches­tra group YSTCM (Yong Siew Toh Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic) was con­ducted by Chen Zhangyi.

To­gether, the two or­ches­tras per­formed 10 songs, in­clud­ing orig­i­nal takes on Myan­mar fes­ti­val songs “U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe”, “Shwe Owe Si”, and “Man Taung Yeik Koh”. Mu­si­cians played Myan­mar tra­di­tional in­stru­ments as well as Western.

Con­duc­ter Saw James Hsar Doe Soe said the ar­range­ments of Myan­mar songs were in­tended to evoke nos­tal­gia and pa­tri­o­tism in the au­di­ence.

“The per­form­ers sang and danced the tra­di­tional tunes for the cit­i­zens who love those songs and mem­o­ries,” he said.

His coun­ter­part Chen Zhangyi took over both or­ches­tra groups for “Miss Joaquim”, a col­lab­o­ra­tive piece named for Sin­ga­pore’s na­tional flower, and then both con­duc­tors led their mu­si­cians in “We Are Sin­ga­pore”, “Wiener Blut” and “New Born”.

“‘We Are Sin­ga­pore’ counts as one of our most recog­nis­able Na­tional Day cel­e­bra­tion songs,” Chen Zh­nagyi said af­ter the show. “It was even the theme song of a pop­u­lar TV show, ‘Neigh­bours’, from the 1980s.”

The per­for­mance rep­re­sented a full-cir­cle mo­ment for Saw James Hsar Doe Soe and first vi­o­lin­ist U San Win Htike, both of whom stud­ied at the Yong Siew Toh Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic un­der schol­ar­ships of­fered to Myan­mar mu­si­cians for Sin­ga­pore mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion. They paved the way for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Myan­mar per­form­ers who have gone on to study there.

Sin­ga­pore’s am­badas­sador to Myan­mar Robert Chua, said he be­lieves the con­cerp will strengthen the two coun­tries’ al­ready vi­brant re­la­tions.

Some Myan­mar tra­di­tional songs were also per­formed, such as “U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe”.

Photos: Zarni Phyo

The At­tach­ment of Cloud or­ches­tra from Myan­mar joined vis­it­ing Yong Siew Toh Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic from Sin­ga­pore in a tan­dem per­for­mance on Au­gust 25 to cel­e­brate 50 years of di­plo­matic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

A vi­o­lin­ist fol­lows her con­duc­tor closely.

A trum­pet player does her best Louis Arm­strong.

Saw James Hsar Doe Soe, the Myan­mar con­duc­tor, el­e­vates the tempo dur­ing one of their songs.

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