Test of Nanyin
Part of this celebration involved the traditional evening Nanyin performance 南音by Siong Leng Musical Association 湘灵音乐社.
While Nan Yin is being performed almost every year at Thian Hock Keng Temple during the birthday of Guan Yin, this year’s performance is interesting as a test of Nanyin’s attraction and resilience.
It was a rainy day and even around evening time, dark clouds were still hovering around the city area and many parts of Singapore. The Thian Hock Keng temple was still wet from the day’s downpour and drops of water were still dripping from the temple’s roof.
Despite the rain, crowds turn out for the performance. There were the Siong Leng supporters, elderly audiences, tourists who somehow managed to find out about the performance, expatriates, young professionals who came straight from their office, the usual group of heritage lovers and photographers armed with their cameras searching for the perfect shot.
There was a short introduction before each performance so that audience can relate to the context of the piece of music. They also introduced the dialect groups of various performers. Although Nanyin revolves around Quanzhou, Fujian dialects, many of the Nanyin performers were from other dialects groups and still performed just as well. Most of the audiences would probably not be able to guess the dialect groups of the performances.
This information reflected how music and art form could attract like-minded people as well as Siong Leng’s efforts to promote the ancient art form. The audience who came despite the possibility of a heavy rain obviously appreciated Siong Leng’s efforts.
Under the dark and slightly stormy sky, the audiences enjoy the Nanyin melody and performances. Luckily, the rain stayed away and the audience was able to enjoy every minute of the performance until it ends.