To celebrate the Lunar New Year, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, and Yayasan Warisan Seni Budaya ASEAN co-held the Hakka Lunar New Year Festival in Kuala Lumpur from March 3 to 4.
As the Lantern Festival and the "tienˊconˊngidˋ (天穿日)" – a Hakka festival celebrated on the 20th day of the first lunar month to commemorate goddess Nüwa – are both celebrated in March this year, the festival also offered all kinds of Hakka rice cakes that symbolized the colorful rock Nüwa used to mend heaven in Chinese mythology.
Taking place at the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, the first day of the festival featured concerts by Lo Sirong & Gomoteu (羅思容與孤毛頭), a Hakka band from Taiwan that has won Golden Melody Awards for Best Hakka Album and Best Hakka Vocalist. Based on traditional Hakka folk music, the band specializes in composing music that integrate various elements such as Chinese opera, aboriginal music, American blues, and country music.
On their first visit to Malaysia, Lo Sirong & Gomoteu presented nine songs including "The Old Mountain Song (老山歌)," "The Flowers Beckon (攬花去)," "Flowers that Smile (含笑花)," and "A Blink (一眨目)." Local artists and bands including Derek Lew (丘惠中), Persatuan Hopo KL&Sel, and a Hakka mountain song group also shared the stage to present traditional Malaysian Hakka songs.
A Hakka music exchange forum featuring Hakka singer-songwriter Lo Sirong (羅思容) was held at Petaling Street Heritage House the next day. Lo shared her journey of promoting Hakka mountain songs and presented several contemporary Hakka poems as well as mountain songs that integrate traditional and contemporary elements.
During the forum, Lo also explored challenges faced by the Hakka language and culture in modern society with notable Malaysian classic accents scholar Chong Keat Aun (張吉安). The forum attracted roughly 150 audiences, including numerous local artists and cultural workers who were concerned about the same issue.