OK fine, I guess I must be having regression, haha! After satisfying my craving to see authentic Kelantanese WAU BULAN or MOON KITES, our second day in Kota Bharu was highlighted by our trip to the Kelantan Malay Traditional Shadow Play Gallery.
The friendly Malay taxi cab driver, Mr. Kamel who toured us for 4 hours in Kota Bharu on our first day (01 May 2011, Sunday afternoon) endorsed us to his fellow, Mr. Nasri the next day because his car broke down. The equally tourist-friendly, Mr. Nasri brought us to interesting places within and outside his simple town (that deserve separate posts) and one of them is the gallery that makes authentic shadow puppets for actual plays and decor purposes.
The experience was another one for the books!
Guests and tourists can immerse themselves in the actual activities with the puppet makers/craftsmen (without any entrance fee at the time of our visit).
Regret : Because I am in awe capturing the moment in photos, I forgot to try it myself. Nonetheless, my family was happy with the exposure.
According to the expert in shadow puppet making and the owner of the gallery himself, Mr. Muhammad Dain B. Othman, it takes one to four days to complete a puppet made from either cow or goat hides (cow hide puppets are obviously more expensive than those made from goat hides).
He told us that he’s scheduled to be in Kuala Lumpur the following day so we felt so fortunate to meet him because he personally explained the process of wayang kulit making, its instruments and actual play performance, and almost everything about it.
I noticed Pak Dain (or Mr. Othman) was taking pictures of his visitors, and true enough, he showed an album filled with photos of foreigners who were fascinated with his craft and toured his place. And so I took the chance of having my family photo-op with the man himself…
The masterpieces in actual performance size made from cow hide and artline colored inks then varnished.
I consider myself lucky because I had a chance to watch the original Filipino musical play, RAMA at SITA in UP Theater years ago FOR FREE! My mom then was associated with some companies related to the music-movie industries hence we got free tickets to concerts, shows and whatnot during those years. That was the time my interest in Ramayana sprung. Imagine how I was silently jumping for bliss when I saw these puppets inspired by that epic. It was AWESOME!
After our brief hands-on exposure to wayang kulit making, we were led to a room where we saw framed puppets for sale and the actual instruments use in shows.
The adjacent room is where musicians and puppeteers play during the 2-hour show. Ten people are involved to make a shadow puppet play work.
Mr. Pak Dain asked his staff to show us how the show is done. Banana trunks are used to hold puppets that are not needed in a scene. A small wooden box serves as the frame for the light to cast colored shadows on the white cloth. Live music is played with these gorgeous traditional instruments.
And because we’re overwhelmed with the experience, we bought puppets as souvenirs. We brought home medium-sized ones and what characters of Ramayana would be more fitting to have but the leads of course. We’ll have it framed once we get a chance…
Two days after we came home from Kelantan, Gabby asked about Rama and Sita; luck was again on my side because I didn’t exert much efforts in explaining to him their epic-love story for I immediately found uploaded videos of Rama at Sita musical on youtube that starred local Filipino singers, Ariel Rivera and Chiqui Pineda and a whole lot of great talents! Imagine a 6 year old boy asking about Ramayana. You can blame his father for that. hehehe!
The other part of this blog series :
Special thanks to our friends whom we met on the roads & made our Kelantan trip more than amazing :
Mr. Nik Mat Kamal -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 1st day; you may reach him at +60129909538 and +60199735439.
Mr. Mohd Nasri Mohd Nawi -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 2nd day; you may reach him at +60139425241.
Mr. Muhammad Dain bin Othman (Pak Dain) -the owner and expert maker of Wayang kulit (Shadow Puppet which I will blog soon); his gallery is located at Simpang 3, Morak, Palekbang 16040, Kelantan; website : WayangPakDain
to Gula Kapas who responded to my query by emailing me a google map of the location of wau bulan makers in kelantan.
and to our student, Ain and her dad for welcoming us in their hometown.
More of Kelantan and its culture and colors soon….