THE Boh Cameronian Arts Awards are always a fun affair, for both stalwarts of the performing arts arena as well as newbies. The 13th Cammies, with the gala awards night set for April 24, sees 48 awards up for grabs.
Popularly called the Cammies, and organised by arts portal Kakiseni, the nominees are vying for awards in dance, music, musical theatre and theatre as well as Junior Cammies and Special
Awards category that includes the Kakiseni Audience Choice Awards (for Dance, Musical Theatre, Music and Theatre.)
The nominees were announced at an upmarket cafe at The Gardens mall, emceed by television personality Razid Hashim, with “Yesterday For Tomorrow” as the theme this year.
The theme harkens back to a time when the arts were home-grown and emphasised human storytelling. Hence, the awards are tied to a tribute to three traditional Malaysian art forms — bangsawan, wayang kulit and mak yong. In honour of these art forms, a limited edition Boh Cameronian Gold Blend packaging has been released, bearing associated motifs.
A comparatively conventional
offering compared to previous affairs themed the 1980s and Roaring Twenties, Kakiseni’s president Low Ngai Yuen feels it’s time for conversations about tradition, culture and history.
“It’s our culture and not just our history. Yes, there is some toning down of the usual glitz and glamour,” explains the 40-year-old Low.
The idea behind the theme is about making what’s traditional relevant again for tomorrow, especially for the younger generation. This is so that they are a part of it instead of just looking at it as part of their history books. History and tradition shape who we are but it is always important that we bring these along as we move forward.”
While many might say the art forms chosen are Malay-based, Low is quick to point out that “culture like sports should transcend boundaries with no political agenda to follow”.
She says the Cammies this time is not just about a celebration but about action too.
A series of workshops are on the cards for May, June and July where the three art forms will be taken to schools, colleges and universities mainly in the Klang Valley. The “curators” are Eddin Khoo for wayang kulit, Rosnan Ahmad for makyong and Zakarian Ariffin for bangsawan.
“We hope to expose them so that the younger Malaysians will start to think about, and play with, what one can do with these art forms – like combine a modern band with makyong…”
Youth will be served, they do say, and first-time dance nominees Harshini Sukumaran, 25, and Vishaka Rajasingam, 27, are rather pleased that their work in “Reflections” has been highlighted.
Along with previous nominee Hemavathi Sivanesan, also 27, the Temple Of Fine Arts production is nominated in Best Group Performance, Best Choreographer In A Mixed Bill, and Best Costume Design, Styling & Make Up.
But the head-honcho of dance nominations is Becoming King … The Pakyung Revisited, with five nominations (best group performance, best choreographer in a feature length work, best lighting design, best set design, best costume design, and styling and make up). It was choreographed by Joseph Gonzales and presented by Aswara Dance Company.
The most nominated artiste is pianist Tay Cher Siang with 12 nominations in various categories, including four nominations each under the best solo performance – instrumental, and best original composition. His work with the WVC Malaysian Jazz Ensemble rocked the KLpac hall for “Waiting For That Day: A Live Concert”. The ensemble is nominated for Best Group Original Performance – Instrumental, for that same show held last June.
Theatre doyens Datuk Faridah Merican and Joe Hasham are nominated for best actor in a leading role category for their performance in Reservations and Three Doors respectively, which were featured in The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat production Sisa-Sisa.
Backroom guy Ng Chor Guan also made some heads turn as he was nominated four times – Best Set, Best Lighting, Best Music and Sound Design (two in the latter category).
The gala main awards will be held at D’Saji in Tasik Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur on April 24, while the Technical Awards and the Junior Cammies will be at Makespace, Quill City Mall on April 11.
For the full list of nominees, visit www.kakiseni.com.my.
** This appeared in the New Straits Times Malaysia, April 3, 2016