To celebrate Malaysia Day, Malam PUSAKA di Ruang Kota presents two majestic cultural traditions, “Seni Reog of Johor and Manora of Kelantan”.
The performance will take place on Saturday, 17th September, 8.30pm at the iconic REXKL, 80 Jalan Sultan, KL. There will also be workshops in the afternoon for those who wish to learn more about Seni Reog and Manora.
Malam PUSAKA di Ruang Kota is a series of cultural evenings in Kuala Lumpur featuring performances by masters of living traditions from throughout Malaysia, organised by PUSAKA with the support of CENDANA. PUSAKA received a grant for this series from CENDANA under the Art In The City Public Art Commissioning Programme 2020 (Cycle 1).
Seni Reog is a tradition that originates in Ponorogo, East Java, and is practised by communities of Javanese descent in Johor.
The Reog tradition traces its narrative origins to the legend of King Kelono Sewandono of Ponorogo, the beautiful Princess of Kediri, and a ferocious Singa Barong that protected the princess’ kingdom.
The centerpiece of the Reog tradition is the majestic Singa Barong mask, which depicts a lion’s head elaborately decked with peacock feathers. It requires great skill and strength to wear the Singa Barong mask, which measures 7 feet high and weighs around 50kg.
Other prominent figures in a Reog performance are valiant and playful Bujang Ganong masked dancers and alluring jathilan dancers on woven horses.
A Reog performance is accompanied by a musical ensemble consisting of gong, kenong, gendang, tipong, angklung and slompret.
PUSAKA works closely with Kumpulan Sri Wahyuni from Parit Raja, Batu Pahat, Johor. Established in 1970, Kumpulan Sri Wahyuni are among the foremost custodians and bearers of cultural heritage and tradition among the large community of Javanese descendants in Johor, Malaysia.
The most acclaimed masters of the majestic Reog Ponorogo tradition in Malaysia, Sri Wahyuni’s impressive and energetic performances never fail to mesmerise a crowd.
Manora, also known as Nora Chatri, is a folk dance-drama tradition practiced by the Thai community in the north Malaysian states of Kelantan, Kedah, and Penang, as well as throughout southern Thailand.
A Manora performance incorporates stylised dance, singing, comedy, and drama. Manora is traditionally performed on special occasions such as Buddhist temple ceremonies, community gatherings including weddings, as well as to celebrate Thai festivals such as Loy Krathong and Songkran.
In Kelantan, there has been mutual influence among the traditions of Manora and Mak Yong. Manora in Kelantan incorporates Kelantanese music and dialogue in Kelantanese dialect.
The word ‘manora’ derives from a Buddhist jataka tale about Manora, a heavenly bird-princess who falls in love with a human prince, Phra Suthon. This tale forms the basis of the tradition’s main dance sequence in which the principal dancer, as Phra Suthon, performs a courting dance with Manora and her heavenly sisters.
Dance movements are characterised by backward-bent fingers and outstretched arms, alternating subtle and sudden gestures that are said to reflect those of a mythical bird. The opening dance is followed by a lakon (dramatic sequence), during which various stories are performed by the principal dancer, a pair of clowns, and supporting actors.
The intricate costume of a Manora dancer consists of the crown-like headdress, known as ‘kecopong’ in Malay and ‘sert’ in Thai; long curved silver nails known as ‘canggai’ in Malay and ‘lép’ in Thai, a beaded bodice known as ‘laa’ in Malay and ‘sooi’ in Thai, and the winged Manora known as ‘sayap sandang’ in Malay and ‘harng’ in Thai.
Malam PUSAKA di Ruang Kota features dancers and musicians Kumpulan Manora Cit Manit Bukit Yong from Pasir Puteh, Kelantan, with principal dancer Amnuai Eler, who hails from a respected Manora lineage. Kumpulan Manora Cit Manit is one of the few remaining active Manora groups in Kelantan.
Malam PUSAKA presents
Seni Reog and Manora
Date: Saturday, 17 September 2022
Venue: REXKL, 80, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur
Free and open for all
Seni Reog and Manora
Cover image supplied by PUSAKA.