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Traditional Cantonese concert enthralls Malaysians

XINHUA | Updated: 2023-12-01 07:47

Musicians perform at the Canton Rhythms for Silk Road concert, held at the Xiamen University Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, on Friday. CHENG YIHENG/XINHUA

KUALA LUMPUR — "I have been shocked since the first song," Chinese Malaysian student Yi Xiner said at the Xiamen University Malaysia, where the Canton Rhythms for Silk Road concert was held on Friday.

Chen Jianwen, head of South China's Guangdong provincial publicity department, and Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan, president of the Malaysia-China Friendship Association, were in the audience at the traditional Cantonese concert, which was typical of Lingnan culture.

Chen says that he hoped the event would promote in-depth cultural exchange between China and Malaysia, and enhance friendship between the two peoples through music.

Consisting of renowned compositions such as A Hundred Birds Worshipping the Phoenix, Rain Hitting Banana Trees and the traditional Malaysian folk song Rasa Sayang, played using traditional Chinese musical instruments, the concert drew loud applause from the audience.

Yi, a student at the Xiamen University Malaysia, has loved traditional Chinese culture since she was a child and has played the guzheng, a zither-like string instrument, for about 11 years.

"This is the first time I have enjoyed a live gaohu performance. It is so wonderful. The imitation bird sounds are so real that they harmonize with the sound of flute," she says.

The association president is a former Malaysian ambassador to China, and was surprised to hear Rasa Sayang played on traditional Chinese musical instruments.

"I hope more Chinese troupes will come to Malaysia. This is not only helpful for Malaysians to understand Chinese culture, but also for Chinese artists to understand Malaysian culture," he says.

Outside the concert hall, an exhibition of intangible cultural heritage items from Guangdong province, such as Guangdong paper-cutting, Foshan woodblock prints, Dawu clay sculpture, Fengxi handmade red clay teapots, Chaozhou tea art, and Shaoguan Yao ethnic embroidery, attracted crowds.

The activities were part of the last leg of the 2023 Charming China — Cultural Exhibition from Guangdong in Kuala Lumpur, and were hosted by the information office of the Guangdong provincial government and the Guangdong provincial department of culture and tourism.

Prior to this, the exhibition visited Italy and Egypt to promote cultural exchange and mutual learning, and to show the world the heritage of Chinese culture and Lingnan culture.

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