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Coming all the way from South India (Tamil Nadu), for the first time in Miri, Sarawak, is Anthony Dassan, a folk artist, who does not just sing, but dances, acts, plays a number of instruments, and even does acrobatics. Anthony Dassan Yen Party is among the artists performing at the inaugural Asia Music Festival this coming October 4 and 5 at the Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club.
Most of his audiences do not even understand a word of what he is singing but regardless, Dassan never fails to make them dance. Folk stuff mixed with urban street life, Dassan’s music is so universal that one does not need to understand the language to appreciate it fully. Dassan started singing at the tender age of 10, and in an interview shared his personal reasons for singing, “I come from difficult circumstances. I sang to earn bread for my family. My father was suffering from cardiac disease and my mother was an epileptic. Both of them were suffering and I was alone. I had to find a way to help them.”
From humble beginnings to centre stage, Dassan has become one of the most wanted artists in Chennai’s folk art scene today. The performer, now 37, was first noticed back in 2004 at a Tamil cultural festival, where he joined the La Pongal band. Then a few years later, when the band dissolved, Dassan started “Anthony Dassan Yen Party”. Today, Dassan is usually seen with his characteristic bandana and urumi (a traditional double headed folk drum from Tamil Nadu), along with his band members Samuel Gunasekar on the drums and Sajith satya on the bass guitar.
Also lined up to perform at the festival are: Bembol Rockers from The Philippines, Boy Thai Band from Thailand, Fakhrul Razi from Brunei, V.Star Band from Korea, Foxy Girls and Soesah Tidoer from Indonesia, and Bob Yusof, Hevance, Melissa Francis, The Mountain Wind Band, and The Starlets Band from Malaysia.
More than a band, “Anthony Dassan Yen Party” is a platform for folk music that explores indigenous and traditional forms of art and presents them to urban audiences. The fun created by such beautiful folk music should not be missed.
Thousands are expected to come to the Asia Music Festival to enjoy a weekend of fantastic live music comprising bands from the Asian region. Tickets are priced at RM 30 (9.11 USD) for adults and RM 15 (4.56 USD) for children aged 3-18, which can be purchased from the Sarawak Tourism Board’s office and Visitors Information Centres located in Miri, Kutching, and Sibu.
Image credit: Anthony Dassan yen Party via Facebook