JB Arts Festival includes many events during the full month of September. Most the events are free, some require purchased tickets. It does take a bit of work to find out what you want to know using the web site, but it looks like it is worth the effort.
A calendar of events lists the events by day (it is a bit hard to read – just a jpg image file so it doesn’t increase in size very well). Separate pages provide details on the many arts related events (but those pages don’t tell you when or where the events are). Some highlights:
Culture Malaysiana showcases and represents the vibrancy and richness of the Malaysian community, and truly achieves unity through the arts. The seamless transitions between the many dances are also representative of how elements of each culture are mixed together to create a unique Malaysian culture, a whole which is truly more than the sum of its parts.
Maskara Shorties is a marathon screening of short films curated amd selected by Sindiket Sol-jah. Sindiket Sol-jah is an arts activist group based in Rumah PENA (Persatuan Penulis Nasional Malaysia / National Writers Assosiation Malaysia). The event will showcase rarely-seen short films for your viewing pleasure produced and directed by passionate filmmakers from Malaysia and Singapore.
The inspiration for the 24 drums was based on the 24 festivals in the Chinese lunar calendar throughout the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, which has guided the traditional Chinese agricultural community for thousands of years. A full troupe therefore consists of 24 drums, each bearing two bold Chinese characters representing each of the 24 festivals. The music and choreography are arranged to harmonise gracefully into a performing art that depicts the cycles of the 24 seasons in music, calligraphy and the rhythm of life.
From its humble beginnings here in Johor Bahru, the 24 Festive Drums has garnered recognition and acclaim both locally and internationally. The performing art is not only popular in Malaysia, but has also become popular and gained a following in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States
AkashA is a 7-piece Malaysian band, playing world fusion music with a distinctly Malaysian twist. Like Malaysia itself, AkashA is a fusion of four cultures – Malay, Indian, Chinese, and Western. Watch YouTube video highlights of an AkashaA performance.
The Bhangra Evolution and Pallavi Moksha by the The Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) Johor Bahru (established in July 1994 by H.H.Swami Shantanand). The aim was to help Malaysian youth rediscover the cultural, artistic and spiritual wealth of their forefathers and to make it relevant for themselves and for future generations to come.
TFA believes that music and dance are essential to the holistic development of the child. The Temple of Fine Arts provides a place where a young child can learn music and dance from teachers who understood the true source of creativity and inspiration. Any child can learn at The Temple of Fine Arts without the burden of costly fees. This is our service to the community through music and dance.
Ghazal, or love poem, is a traditional Malay art form that is popular in Johor, but also found across the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It originated in Iran during the 10th century and continues to be written, recited and sung in the Middle East, Northern Africa and India today.
In a typical dikir barat performance, the group will perform two segments. The first is led by the tok juara, who is often the person in charge of the musical training of the group. This first segment usually contains the more complex musical arrangements, and will likely feature the awok-awok (chorus) singing in unison with the tok juara. Though musically more complex than what will follow, the first segment is seen as the “low-key” segment of the performance.
Angel Art and Dance Academy has been active in the local and international scene, participating in numerous children and youth dance competitions, also winning various awards. The academy is also often invited by the Johor Tourism Board and the Johor Cultural Department to represent the Chinese community in cultural performances. From Chinese traditional dances to ballet to Johor Zapin to Inang to Indian dances, the students of the academy are the pride of Johor.
Many more events are included: Within the Frame – Photography Exhibition; The Personal, The Truth, The Real Thing! An Evening of Monologues; My Passion for Portraits – An Art Exhibition by Sofia Cole; and Sarawakian multi-instrumentalist, Hezekiah Asim, brings you the sound of Borneo through this informative talk about ethnic instruments from Sabah and Sarawak.