Jakarta, 25 April 2011
The ASEAN Secretariat is bringing the “Cambodia: Diversity of Intangible Cultural Heritage,” to feature a wide selection of music, dance, musical instruments and theatrical presentation this Friday—at the Usmar Ismail Hall, Gedung Pusat Perfilman Usmar Ismail in Jakarta. Cambodia will be the eighth country to showcase the best of its performing arts. The date 29 April, was chosen to mark the accession of Cambodia as the tenth member of ASEAN 12 years ago, on 30 April 1999.
The highlight of the evening will be the Sbek Thom, a Khmer shadow theatre featuring two-meter high, non-articulated puppets made of leather. The Sbek Thom is considered sacred and the performances could only take place on specific occasions, three or four times a year, such as the Khmer New Year, the King’s birthday or the veneration of famous people. The shadow theatre lost its popularity and significance after the fall of Angkor in the last century, but has now evolved beyond a ceremonial activity to become an artistic form, while retaining its ritualistic dimension.
Other performances will include Te Vak Srey Sour Dance (the Angel Dance), Mouth Organ and Solo Instrument Khmer Music, Kandob Ses Dance (the Praying Mantis Dance), Chhouy Chhay Dance (the Khmer Women Beauty Dance), Sacrifice of Buffalo Dance, Robam Moni Mekhala Dance and Chhai Yaim Dance (the ASEAN Friendship Flag Dance).
The performance will be co-organised by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia, with support from the Permanent Mission of Cambodia to ASEAN, based in Jakarta.
The Best of ASEAN Performing Arts series was initiated by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, to promote awareness of ASEAN through the region’s rich and diverse cultures. Seven performances have been staged since 2008: Indonesia with “The Mosaic Archipelago” in May 2008; Thailand with “Tapestry of Thai Beauty and Grace” in August 2008; Singapore with “Singapore Showcase: Cultural Crossings” on April 2009; Myanmar with “The Royal Beauty of Golden Myanmar” in December 2009; Malaysia with “1Malaysia: Harmony in Cultural Diversity” in March 2010; Viet Nam with “Charming Viet Nam” in December 2010; and Brunei Darussalam with “Brunei’s Legacy” in March 2011.