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The Music Plays On

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Date: 23 June 2022

Time: 1 p.m. (Bangkok time)

Online Platform: Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/seameo.spafa/ and on *Zoom. *(https://bit.ly/SPAFASESH_TheMusicPlaysOn)

Like for many in the performing arts, the last two years have been difficult for musicians/music practitioners. How have they coped? What are they going through? What are the challenges, opportunities? We talk to some of them to share thoughts and experience on navigating the Coronavirus pandemic and their involvement in the music industry, touching on the changes in the music field (performance, practice, teaching, and economic adaptations).

Panelists: Great LekakulMae Sirasar BoonmaMichelle Loh Wen HanPaul AugustinPauline Fan, I Wayan Sudirana, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim and Thow Xin Wei

Moderators: Ean Lee (SEAMEO SPAFA Publication Manager) and Arsenio Nicolas (Lecturer, The College of Music, Mahasarakham University)

Guest Moderator and Panelists’ Bios:

Mae Sirasar Boonma Mae Sirasar Boonma is Co-Founder of Hear & Found, a Thailand-based creative social enterprise promoting indigenous music. Mae worked in the creative industry for more than 10 years; for a government organization that supported the creative economy, and a film and sound production company. She is one of the professional alumni of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) and winner of the UK Alumni award for social impact in 2020. 
Paul Augustin Paul Augustin is Founder and Festival Director of The Penang Island Jazz Festival (2004 – Present), and Founder and Director of Penang House of Music (2016 – Present) that documents the musical traditions of Penang. Paul was born and raised in Penang, and had been a performing musician for more than 15 years prior to involvement in Event Management (ranging from sports to conventions to carnivals and concerts) in 1993 as project coordinator for concerts and tours. He is also the Founder member of the Asian Jazz Festival Organisation, and with his connections within the music festival industry, he helps create opportunities for Malaysian musicians to perform in international festivals.
Michelle Loh Wen Han Michelle Loh is a lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts Singapore, Faculty of Media, Fine Arts and Creative Industries. She is pursuing doctorate studies at the University of Western Australia, and serves on the executive committee of Poetry Festival Singapore and the organising committee of the biennial Singapore Literature Conference. Her latest publications are “Superdiversity and Cultural Policies in Post Pandemic Singapore” ENCATC policy tracker April 2022, “Language: Audiences for Poetry Festival Singapore” in Routledge Companion to Audiences and the Performing Arts (2022) edited By Matthew Reason, Lynne Conner, Katya Johanson, Ben Walmsley, London: Routledge (eds) and Traditional Chinese Music in Contemporary Singapore (2020).
Pauline Fan Pauline Fan is Creative Director of PUSAKA, a cultural organisation in Malaysia dedicated to enhancing traditional culture. She is a writer, literary translator and cultural researcher as well, and contributes to discourses on history, culture, and contemporary society. Pauline is also Director of the George Town Literary Festival, Malaysia’s largest international literary festival.
Arsenio Nicolas Arsenio Nicolas is a professor at The College of Music, Mahasarakham University, Thailand, teaching MA and PhD courses in Asian music, ethnomusicology, music research methodology, music history and music archaeology. He is currently engaged in his project, Music Archaeology and Musical Exchanges between India, China and Southeast Asia, based on his PhD dissertation at Cornell University (2007). His other interests include trends in the performance of music, dance and theatre in Asia, with a focus on Java, Bali, Malaysia, China and Thailand, particularly in the northeastern region known as Isan. Arsenio was a Special Consultant in Southeast Asian Music at SEAMEO SPAFA, and a member of the Editorial Board of the SPAFA Journal. His two latest writings are: “Musical Nomenclature for the Sanskrit term kangsa in Southeast Asia” (2021) and “Musical Instruments on the 16th century bas reliefs in the North Gallery-East Wing of Angkor Wat: Dating and Significance.” (2021).
Great Lekakul Great Lekakul is a lecturer at Department of Fine Arts (Performing Arts), Chiang Mai University, Thailand; his research expertise include Ethnomusicology, and Music of Southeast Asia. Great has a PhD. in Ethnomusicology from SOAS, University of London; graduated from College of music, Mahidol University; and was a music lecturer on Thai music at SOAS and University of Northern Colorado, USA. He has written articles about music and its influence on Thai society (‘K-Pop as A Means to an End among Thai Youth), and is himself a musician who is interested in contemporary and experimental music.
I Wayan Sudirana I Wayan Sudirana is an ethnomusicologist, composer, and music lecturer at the Faculty of Performing Arts Gamelan Bali, Institut Seni Indonesia Denpasar; he graduated from University of British Columbia, and has diligently been studying ancient music in Bali as well as many world music traditions, such as Samulnori music from Korea, ensemble drumming from Ghana West Africa, South Indian drumming traditions, and also some Western classical music. Sudirana is seeking a new identity in the realm of new music for the Gamelan, and his current research focuses on the development of new music in Bali and the ancient Balinese manuscript of Gamelan philosophy and theory.
Datuk Ramli Ibrahim Datuk Ramli Ibrahim is the Artistic Director of Sutra Dance Theatre, Malaysia; he is an accomplished ballet, and modern and Indian classical dancer, and has been performing internationally for four decades. He has choreographed stunning works and nurtured some of the brightest dance talents in Malaysia. Datuk Ramli has contributed to the establishment of Malaysian contemporary modern dance through the creation of a strong body of original works, and has been honoured with many awards, such as the Sangeet Natak Akademi award (2011) and the Padma Shri award (2018) from India and a Datukship (2013), Perdana Award (2019) and the Lifetime Arts Achievement Award (2019) from Malaysia.
Thow Xin Wei Thow Xin Wei is Music Director of Singa Nglaras Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, a community supported by the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. He specialises in the playing and teaching of Central Javanese Gamelan, and has made several trips to Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, to study the music and its related performing arts. Xin Wei conducted fieldwork for his MA Thesis in Solo in 2017, researching how musicians perceive and express ideas of declining standards in traditional music. He currently teaches the ensemble, organises its activities, and facilitates collaborations with external organisations and Indonesian artistes.
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