Grooving to the rhythms of Myanmar hsaing waing
CONCERT-GOERS thrilled on October 2 to the splendid music of kings. They heard the Voice of Myanmar Golden Orchestra in Myanmar History, directed by the famed traditional dancer Mandalay Thein Zaw and featuring Myanmar orchestra performer Mandalay Sein Tint Lwin and his group at the Yangon Gallery.
The Myanmar Traditional Orchestra (Myanmar Sai) was treating them to the music that once entertained entire dynasties in the days of the Myanmar Kings.
On a set of lattices and banana trees, Myanmar hsaing waing, a drum ensemble involving the great drum, circular series of drums and gongs, bamboo castanets, the oboe, a short drum and other instruments, produced a joyous sound popular at charity shows and wedding ceremonies.
The opening ceremony of the October 2 show presented the three jewels: Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Mandalay Sein Tint Lwin performed “Mingalar Byaw” as musicians filed in like novitiates preparing for ordination.
Sein Tint Lwin followed up with “Ye Myanmar”, a song created by his great-grandfather Sein Bay Dar, who won the Naymyo Balakyawthu award. Known as “Ye Ye Taut”, it was intended to stir the hearts of young people.
While Mandalay Thein Zaw and Ma Aye Aye Myint Aung sang “Thadarphyu Tae Mahar Ahlu” (The great Myanmar Charity Show), women in traditional dress set out bowls of tealeaves on the tables in a re-creation of a Buddhist monk’s ordination ceremony.
Mandalay Thein Zaw said, “I arranged and developed this performance to help reacquaint people with our music. I think people have been getting too far away from our musical history, which is a pity.”
Guest performer Nann Win, a grandson of Nandaw Shae Sayar Tin and son of the great traditional actor Shwe Nann Tin, sang “Tha Htay Warda”. He said, “These days too many people experience the world only through their mobile phones. I was very pleased to participate in this show, which brings out the archaism of nearly undiscovered Myanmar traditional music.” In historic style, audience members showered money on the musicians. Myanmar hsaing performer Sein Tint Lwin, playing with undisguised pleasure, said, “Myanmar hsaing is very difficult. But our generation can build on what my grandfather Sein Bay Dar and my father Sein Maung Lwin handed down to me. My grandfather always spoke of the value of our traditional music and he wanted both people in this country and in the wider world to enjoy it.”
He added, “I’ve always tried to offer the treasures of Myanmar hsaing art, and my own experience, to our young people.”
The last song, “Pawe Kyait Khin”, was rendered by Mandalay Thein Zaw in a feast of tasteful harmonics greeted by applause.
Myanmar traditional dramatic arts director Mandalay Thein Zaw said, “This is not just a historical artefact, but an entertainment for the people. It may be difficult, but it is something for all time.”
Mandalay Sein Tint Lwin performs “Ye Myanmar”, a song created by his great-grandfather that continues to enjoy popularity.
The complex organisation of Myanmar hsaing waing requires high levels of coordination and rhythm.
Performers pound the various instruments making up Myanmar hsaing waing, a drum ensemble.
Mandalay Sein Tint Lwin dazzles the audience.
Entertainers re-enact a traditional Buddhist monk ordination as the Myanmar Sai plays “Mingalar Byaw” behind them on October 2 at the Voice of Myanmar Golden Orchestra in Myanmar History.