There are similarities between Myanmar music and that of Thailand and China. It is not surprising given the influence these countries have had on the whole region in the past. The locals enjoy music even though Buddhism tends to regard it as decadent. Music developed thanks to the monarchy centuries ago and several classical pieces have been handed down over time.
The instruments involved are a double reed pipe, drums, bells and a clapper. There are many festivals where visitors on Myanmar travel itineraries will be able to see these instruments being played while harp, xylophone with a female singer perform chamber music at indoor events.
There are many traditional songs dating back in time as well with folk music regularly played at religious festivals.
Dance in Myanmar predates Buddhism when dance formed part of worship. There have been influences from both India and Siam (now Thailand of course). There is plenty of action and the dances require a fair amount of athleticism. There is plenty of colour while if males and female dance together there is never any touching. Dancing is important to Myanmar people and youngsters are taught a fairly simple traditional dance the ka-bya-lut as an introduction.
Ah-nyeint are female dance solos by women, starting with the youngest and finishing with the senior member, often the owner of the dance troupe. Dancers were a tight-sleeved jacket with crescents flaring from the hips supported by thin pieces of bamboo. The sarong is brightly coloured with woven patterns in gold and silver. They hold fans and have a long scarf around the shoulders. There should certainly be a chance on Myanmar private tours to see these colourful performances.
Zat is a more elaborate dance which starts in the evening and continues until dawn. The performance is held in a temporary structure of matting and bamboo close to the local pagoda.
In contrast to the Ah-nyeint, the Zat performance is more elaborate. It often begins around 8p.m and ends at dawn the next day. The "theatres" has a temporary structure of bamboo and matting, set up in an empty field close to the pagoda.
Myanmar Puppetry is famous and very popular. Traditional stories are told and there is plenty of humour. There are usually four people manipulating the puppets on rods and strings and the manipulators do their own narration. There is plenty of colour in the costumes that are often decorated with semi-precious stones. If you are on a Myanmar family holiday during the Pagoda Festival, then you are certain to see a show. Certainly, the main tourist venues, Yangon,Mandalay and Bagan are good places to see these shows.
Tourists interested in music and taking an Indochina travel packages will be delighted to enjoy being entertained in each of the countries in South East Asia. There is colour and melody, dance that is often very athletic contrasting with fairly sedate pieces. If you talk to your Myanmar tour operator, you will be able to find out more..