The Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival (DiverseCity 2015) is set to be a promising month-long event of international culture. With events spanning dance to traditional arts, music, literature and comedy acts, we’ve rounded up 11 highlights from the festival.
Pak Pandir Yo (Dance)
Our favourite folk hero is back in this trendy new twist that incorporates the art of dance with stories of Pak Pandir’s rib-tickling escapades. Accompanied by his exasperated wife, Mak Andih, the dynamic duo faces off KL urban life together using a mix of hip-hop, breakdance, robotic techniques, and that familiar Malaysian flavour.
When: 19 September – 20 September
Where: Panggung Sari, Istana Budaya
Aduh, Seroja! (Dance)
Aduh, Seroja(lotus)! takes audiences on a cultural journey through the eyes of four underrated Malay heroines – Tun Teja, Mahsuri, Tun Fatimah and Putri Sa’adong. Our protagonists fight their way through patriarchy in the medium of traditional dance, incorporating joget gamelan and silat.
2 September – 4 September
Young Curtain (Dance)
The visually stimulating art of Beijing Opera combines with modern theatre to produce this reinvention of the German legend Faust, about an ambitious man who sold his soul to the Devil. This retelling of the classic legend shows a young actress at the height of her career buying a potion from a mysterious stranger who promises her ‘everlasting youth’.
25 September – 27 September
Alim Qasimov (Traditional Arts)
Presented by PUSAKA, the Alim Qasimov Ensemble will make their first ever Malaysian debut and introduce us to the beauty of mugham music. Alim Qasimov is Azerbaijan’s renowned mugham singer – heralded as the world’s best – and will be bringing a stunning musical improvisation deeply-rooted in tradition.
Dewan Filharmonik Petronas
The Steve Mcqueens (Music)
If you think you’ve heard it all in the music scene, you definitely have not heard The Steve Mcqueens. Proclaimed as a soul funk band, this Singaporean band are sure to get toes tapping with their jazz-infused neo-soul.
SOULedOut @ Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
Christy Smith (Music)
Established jazz musician Christy Smith has performed with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Harold Land, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Higgins, Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Charlie Haden, Alphonse Mouzon, and Eddie Harris. Unmissable for jazz and funk fans.
4 September – 5 September
No Black Tie
Tomonari Tsuchiya (Music)
Sit back and let this Japanese piano maestro soothe your tired soul with his compositions. With fourteen international piano competition prizes under his belt, you know you’ll be in for a moving treat. When not touring the international stage, Tomonari Tsuchiya holds lunchtime recitals and is currently a student at the Guildhall School of Music.
No Black Tie
Kelantanese Wayang Kulit x Edo Itu Ayatsuri Ningyo (Literature)
Wayang kulit from Kelantan meets the traditional Japanese puppetry of Edo Itu Ayatsuri Ningyo in this performance, promising to explore shared traditions in the art of puppetry from both countries. The tale of Dua Hikayat Seri Rama, a love story, will be performed.
19 – 22 September
Sharul Channa (Comedy)
A driving force in the Singaporean comedy scene, Sharul Channa will be welcomed back to KL with open arms – and flinching faces. A bold presence on the stage, she will “give [the audience] the sweet first before [she] gives them the sour.” Having been described as possessing “balls of steel and a razor sharp wit”, she will pack a hilarious punch.
Date and venue TBC
Sakdiyah Ma’ruf (Comedy)
Renowned comedienne Sakdyah Ma’ruf brushed off stereotypes and went on to be one of Indonesia’s first female Muslim stand-up comics. As the co-founder of all-female stand-up comic show Perempuan BerHAK, she helps to provide women with a platform to flex their funny bone.
Date and venue TBC.
Tamer Kattan (Comedy)
A New York-based comedian of Egyptian descent, Tamer Kattan has performed alongside Seth Rogen and Hannibal Buress. He will be bringing his blend of cultural and religious observations to DiverseCity 2015.
Date and venue TBC