Warisan Kita

A celebration of Malaysian cultural traditions, featuring master performers from diverse communities throughout Malaysia.


1) Portuguese dance by 1511 O Malio Malio – Malacca

The music and dance of the Portuguese-Eurasian community of Malacca is characteristically cheerful and vivacious, using instruments such as guitars and tambourine, accordion, tambour or the Malay rebana. Couples dance in colourful costumes similar to the folk costumes of Portugal – the men wear black bolero jackets and hats while the women wear colourful embroidered skirts. The main songs and dances include the branyo, tianika, maliao, and farapeira. In Malacca, some songs of the Portuguese-Eurasian community are sung in old Portuguese that has been passed down orally by master singers. Others are sung in Kristang, also known as Papia Kristang — the local creole language derived from old Portuguese mixed with Malay words and grammatical structure. For Warisan Kita, PUSAKA will be bringing the wonderful 1511 O Maliao Maliao Dance Group, descendants of the great custodian of Portuguese Eurasian cultural, Noel Felix.

2) Mah Meri – Pulau Carey

The Mah Meri is one of the 18 tribes of Orang Asli (indigenous people) living in West Malaysia. The Mah Meri are known for their wood carvings and also for the richness of their songs and dances. One of the most well-known dances of the Mah Meri people is the mask dance, called Mayin Jo-oh – a traditional dance performed to invite the ancestral spirits, or muyang, to join in the festivity. In this dance, the performers wear grotesque masks and perform with movements and gestures to relate everyday events such as fishing and celebrations.

3) Mak Yong – Kelantan

Mak Yong is a Malay dance-drama tradition found primarily in the north-eastern Malaysian state of Kelantan and the Pattani region of southern Thailand. A Mak Yong performance encompasses elements of dance, music, acting, singing, and storytelling. Mak Yong was recognised by UNESCO in 2005 as a Masterpiece of the Oral And Intangible Heritage of Humanity. For Warisan Kita, PUSAKA will be bringing our partner-performers from Kuala Besut, featuring the granddaughters and family of the late legendary Mak Yong primadonna, Che Ning.

4) Kuda Kepang – Johor

Kuda Kepang is a dance of Javanese origin performed in Johor by communities of Javanese lineage, particularly in Batu Pahat and Muar. Kuda Kepang is performed by nine male dancers who are seated astride a two dimensional ‘horse’ made of pleated rattan. The dance generally commemorates the tale of the Wali Songgo (Nine Saints) of Java who spread the Islamic faith in the interior of Java. According to the legend, the Wali Songo rode on horseback and dramatized stories of the battles waged and won for the cause of Islam to draw and hold the attention of the congregation. The lead ‘horseman’ is known as the danyang. Bujang Ganong (a masked dancer) and Barongan (dancers portraying tiger and snake-like creatures) emerge alongside the Kuda Kepang dancers. The Kuda Kepang dance is performed accompanied by a rich rendition of traditional music played with Malay and Javanese instruments such as gong, gendang, and kenong. For Warisan Kita, PUSAKA will present our partner-performers, the spellbinding Kumpulan Kuda Kepang Parit Raja from Batu Pahat, Johor.

5) Awang Batil – Perlis

Awang Batil is a traditional form of musical storytelling found in the state of Perlis. The most famous storyteller was Mahmud Awang bin Wahid (1903-1992) from Kampung Pokok Sena, Chuping, Perlis. His stories and talent were inherited to him by his own forefathers, and has now been passed down to his son, Romli bin Mahmud. Pak Romli is now the last Awang Batil of Perlis.

The most important instruments used in the Awang Batil are the belanga (pot) or a batil (brass bowl). The batil is made of brass and is used to store water in it. The batil that is used by Pak Romli has been handed down to him and is a relic of his father’s spirit. Other instruments that are used are the violin, serunai, rebana and gendang terinai. Almost all the instruments used were made by Pak Romli and his family before him.

Other than beating the batil and playing musical instruments, the storyteller also uses masks. The two masks used are the Hulubalang mask and the Wak Nujum mask. Both are used when suitable characters appear in the stories to attract the audiences’ attention.

The most commonly told stories of the Awang Batil are Raja Dewa Lok, Raja Bersiung, Raja Berdarah Putih , Anak Lang Pak Belang, Jabat Jabit, Abu Nawas. Cerita Angan-Angan and Awang Ada Duit Semua Jadi. The Awang Batil performances are usually held at weddings and evening festivities and will often continue till dawn. A performance can sometimes go on for two to five days. These longer stories are usually told when someone has personally invited the Awang Batil to his home, typically after the rice harvest season.

6) Tarik Selampit – Kelantan

Tarik Selampit is performed by a single storyteller, called the Tok Selampit, who plays a rebab (three-stringed spike fiddle) as accompaniment. The Tarik Selampit storytelling tradition relates age-old tales about legendary characters who are vital to the collective memory and jati diri (sense of self) of the Kelantanese people. Featuring Pak Zin Yusof, one of the last Tok Selampit of Kelantan.