This year, we had over 200 freshmen from the Singapore Management University (SMU) Arts Camp orientation attend The O.P.E.N. The aim was to share with the students the different approaches to art making and art experiences available during the festival. They attended three events - Perhat Khaliq & Qetiq; Newsha Tavakolian’s I Know Why The Rebel Sings; and Rabih Mroué's Riding On A Cloud.
In this 3-part blog, we offer their voices, thoughts and reflections on their experience at The O.P.E.N. this year.
With Perhat Khaliq & Qetiq, the students experience something new. Having never heard Uyghur rock music before, this experience came as a pleasant surprise.
Christel Wong, Year 2 Facilitator
I went there expecting to hear music drastically different from what I was used to – dancer's motions inspiring feelings of liberation to the delicacy of the movement of her hands, I was momentarily entranced. Given the chance, I would like to find out more about Khaliq's life, his inspirations and his writing process. Some of his songs contained metaphors and symbols that I found rather riveting, reflecting depth and complexity that I would feel grateful to be able to be privy to.
Perhat Khaliq most certainly won their hearts, offered them a window to Uyghur popular culture and of course an entry into the world of The O.P.E.N. as well.
Edbert Pang, Year 2 Facilitator
I was excited and I expected a lot from his concert. Without a doubt, he did not disappoint and he thoroughly impressed me with his singing techniques and passion. His songs were different, his lyrics were about his life and i as an individual amongst the audience could feel a connection with his music and his personal life as i felt he brought us into his life journey using his music to touch us. To me, his live concert was different from what i watch on videos and i was deeply touched. Such an exposure was meaningful to me as i got an opportunity to experience an artform which was close to the heart and original to the ears.
Jonathan Yong, Year 2, Facilitator
The soulful performance by Perhat Khaliq & Qetiq was really captivating and greatly intriguing, expanding my awareness of the different genres of music. As a musician too, I feel that being able to play an instrument well as a musician is something which all musicians aspire to do, but being able to perform as a band inculcating the soulful element and transcending it to the audience is a gift which requires really great chemistry and from the band and as an audience I could really feel the energy from the band during the performance. What really captured my attention was when Khaliq mentioned how he wanted to express his thoughts about people making mistakes in life and that they should have a second and third chance as it really made me think that yes, people in general do make mistakes as not everyone is fortunate enough to have a smooth-sailing life and sometimes they may be lost for what to do but sooner or later they will come to a realization and comeback as a stronger person. I really appreciated the creativity in the performance, especially how dance, instrumental solo and different language were being used in the performance. The organization of the SIFA festival was smoothly executed and the organizer was very accommodating towards our school, making us feel very welcomed.
Keith Tan, Year 1, Freshman
I've always known music to be one of few forces in the world that transcend language and cultural barriers and SIFA's Perhat Khaliq & Qetiq concert was a perfect example of this fact. Never before have I been to a rock concert, let alone one performed in a language completely foreign to me. I entered the concert hall with the mere hope and expectation that it'll be an interesting new experience but left with the satisfaction of having witnessed an absolute audio, visual and emotional.