July 12, 2016
Yala Product and Cultural Revival Festival (งานเทศกาลฟื้นฟูประเพณีและของดีเมืองยะลา), a vibrant mix of 4 cultures, that have been blended over centuries and is showcased in this musical extravaganza
When: The festival is held annually on the first weekend of August
Where: On the grounds of the Yala Municipal Office. Yala Southern Thailand
This eagerly awaited annual event is packed with Folk cultures from the various groups, in what is the only landlocked province in the south of Thailand, with its southern region bordering Kedah and Perak of Malaysia. The festival is awash with sound and performances that blends Thai, Muslim, Indian and Chinese Musical Performances.
The festival also hosts contests for Chi La Dance, Best Dressed Banong, Si Bu-nga Siri (a special kind of potpourri), the Malayan Rong-ngeng Dance and Annacit Singing (in both Malay and Thai languages). It is traditional in Thai music that before each performance a Wai Khru ritual is undertaken. The term Wai Khru is a general term that refers to ceremonies surrounding man created endeavors such as music, theatre, instrument making and building construction. The three main focuses of Wai Khru’s are as follows:
- To formally request to commence studying with one’s selected music teacher.
- To honor and show respect to one’s teacher and all teachers throughout history.
- To request permission from musical entities and land spirits, to apologize for mistakes and to ask for their assistance in ensuring a successful performance.
There are also various schools in the area who also present folk performances, running alongside this mass of colour and sound there is also an exhibition showcasing the best produce and handicrafts from the Province.
The Cultural Melting Pot of Southern Thailand
Bussakorn Sumrongthong Associate Professor, Department of Music, Faculty of Fine and Applied arts, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand; wrote in his paper THE BLENDING OF THAI MUSLIM MUSICAL PERFORMANCES IN SOUTHERN THAILAND
Historically, the South of Thailand has been a commercial trading center of South-east Asia. It served as a hub between the two great nations of India and China and as a result, facilitated the dissemination of both Brahmanism and Buddhism in this region. The arrival of many different nationals and especially those from India strongly influenced the local musical culture and theatre.
Though the influence is likely to have been mutual with both the locals and the new arrivals influencing each other, there were elements of the Southern Thai Nora melody that became altered from contact with Indian musicians. In particular, the rhythm and manner of playing the pair of drums in this song conveys the strong influence from India’s musical heritage. The historically close relationship with the Muslim population from Malaysia in this region has also had an effect on the development of the local Southern Thai music
Additionally, the Southern and Central regions of Thailand have maintained a strong artistic relationship over the centuries. Nakhon Srithammarat is the city (north of Yala) that is and was considered the cultural center of Southern Thailand. Its performance arts and music were so highly developed that it was nicknamed “The city of dramatic performance” (Mueang Lakhon). The performing arts and music of the city
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