At first glance, Malaysia and Norway seem like an odd couple with nothing much in common, but ‘Longing’, presented by the Nordlandia/ Southeast Asia Art Company, aims to change that perception.
Based on Knut Hamsun’s novel ‘Wayfarers’, this cross-over art performance blends music by Malaysian composer Adeline Wong with digital art projections by Norwegian artistic director Are Andreassen. Andreassen’s onscreen visual collages are based on the landscape and architecture of both Kuala Lumpur and north Norway. On top of that, also on stage at the same time is a medley of music and dance performed by Singapore’s premier classical string quartet T’ang Quartet, dancer Kristin Holand, as well as solo cellist Ørnuff Lillebjerka, and backed by Are Simonsen’s electronica music and sound design. We were told that this multimedia performance will be an engaging all round sensory experience.
‘The first part of “Longing” features the Petronas Twin Towers. The modernity of Malaysia is represented in the electronics, and its traditional roots in the percussive rendition of the string quartet mimicking the sounds of kompang. Next is the voice of the Azan prayer. It is beautiful and I am drawn to the phrases and form of the prayer. Additionally, in some parts of the solo cello, the melody is based on the gamelan,’ explains composer Adeline Wong about the different layers of her music that lend a local feel to proceedings. ‘I pick out some of the characteristics that I am drawn to and make it my own – blending it with my own harmonies, melodies, colour and textures, so the audience may not hear a direct reference to a familiar tune that is Malaysian.’ Wong Boon Ken
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