Bates’ Sangai Asia Night is, to put it bluntly, so much fun and incredibly lovely. This event, which happens every year during the winter semester, celebrates Asian cultures through student performances. The performances range from dance performances, to poetry readings, to musical pieces. As the writer of this article, this was my first time attending this event and it surely did not disappoint.
When entering the Schaffer Theater, event-goers were greeted with a table filled with different Asian snacks and candies to taste before they entered the theater for the show.
Sangai Asia night opened with a Gamelan performance put on by the Bates College Gamelan Ensemble. Gamelan is a traditional Indonesian music ensemble consisting of mainly bronze metallophones, instruments with metal “keys” suspended over resonators, horizontal “gong-chimes,” vertically hanging gongs, bowed lutes called rebab, plucked zither called celempung or siter (depending on the size) and bamboo flutes.
Bates houses the only Gamelan ensemble in the state of Maine, which is a Central Javanese Gamelan, named Mawar Mekar, “Blossom of Inspiration,” purchased by the college in 2001. The visual aspect of the Gamelan performance is what captivated me the most. Watching the musicians work in unison to create beautiful music from incredible large instruments all while being against a deep blue background of the stage was mesmerizing.
After opening with the Gamelan performance, Sangai Asia night continued to impress with many performances from other clubs at Bates. The Bollywood Dance team performed “A Night in Bollywood,” which was a series of dances accompanied by music from recent Bollywood hits, such as “Naccde de Saare” from Baar Baar Dekho and “Chogada” from Loveyatri. The group wore beautiful bright and colorful clothing that stood out starkly from the background.
Other groups that performed were the Bates Taiko Club and the Asian-influenced hip hop club 2Beats.
Taiko is a form of Japanese drumming and chanting. The club members wore traditional Taiko drummers clothing and hachimaki, headbands that have the word “victory” on them. They performed songs that involved the audience singing along with them. The performance was very fun to be a part of, as the drummers were very upbeat and fun to sing along with.
The hip hop dance club 2Beats, greeted with very loud cheering from the audience, danced to both upbeat and slow music, showing the skill and ability of the dancers.
The two were also very openly excited about the event and talked about their own backgrounds before the show began. In doing so, the performances felt very intimate because you could really see and feel the love that went into putting these performances together and the appreciation everyone had for those performing.
In conclusion, Sangai Asia night was an incredible night at Bates, one filled with love and appreciation for Asian culture and arts. I strongly recommend everyone to participate/attend this event in the future.