Friday, March 26, 2010

Despite Authoritarian Rule, Myanmar Art Grows

Myanmar — The dance music thundered through a crowd of thousands of drunken fans, past the pavilions where skinny women in impossibly high heels gyrated around metal poles and into the streets filled with taxis that ferried partygoers to this free, whiskey-soaked concert in the park.

“Our parents don’t allow it, but we do it anyway,” said Zun Pwint Phyu, one of the dancers who endured hours of lascivious stares.

Myanmar is a country where owning a fax machine without a permit is illegal, where even spontaneous gatherings of more than five people are technically banned and where critics of the government are regularly locked away for decades in tiny prison cells.

Yet despite this repression, or perhaps partly because of it, young people here are pushing the limits of what the military government, let alone their parents, considers acceptable art and entertainment.

Art exhibitions, some featuring risky hidden political messages, open nearly every week in Yangon, Myanmar’s main city. Yangon has a festival of underground music, including punk bands, twice a year. Fans of the most popular musical genres, hip-hop and electronic dance music, wear low-slung baggy pants to regularly held concerts here.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/world/asia/26myanmar.html?ref=asia

Link to a video on this topic:
http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/03/25/world/asia/1247467318987/fresh-air-for-myanmar-s-music.html

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