Time2.00PM, 8.00PM


GenreTheatre, Music



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Duration: 105 minutes

‘Drum Up JB!’ is a mixed percussion ensemble, combining drumming, physical movements, and other theater elements to create an artistic visual and auditory sensory experience like no other. An explosion of creative energy and cultural diversity of Johor Bahru, this 90-minute performance encapsulates 2 themes - ‘24 Festive Drums’ and ‘LaguKu’.

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May 2023

2:00PM (GMT+8)

8:00PM (GMT+8)



Jun 2023

2:00PM (GMT+8)

8:00PM (GMT+8)

About the Show

‘24 Festive Drums’ is a heritage performance that originated in Johor Bahru and was created by two legendary Malaysians; Mr Tan Chai Puan, a cultural activist, poet and businessman; and the late Mr Tan Hooi Song (passed away in August 2008), a renowned musician. They shared the same vision and, with missionary zeal, worked together to create the 24 Festive Drums in 1988. 

The 24 drums in this performance represent the cycle of 24 festivals in the lunar calendar of the Chinese agriculture community, with each drum representing one festival. A full team completes the cycle of 24 festivals in the lunar calendar that for thousands of years have guided the farmers in their agriculture activities in China. In 2009, 24 Festive Drums was recognised as a Malaysian National Intangible Cultural Heritage, and has since been embraced across 5 continents, with over 400 troupes around the world.

The theme of “LaguKu”, performed by Orang Orang Drum Theatre, explores the multi-faceted Malaysian identity through music. This performance blends vocal expression and physical movement with diverse music instruments from different cultures, such as the aboriginal people of Malaysia (kuling tangan), Malay (Gendang, Kompang), Chinese (Shigu), Indian (dhol) and world music instrument (shaker, wood xylophone, etc). The Malaysian identity is neither singular nor reductive. Rather, similar to this performance, it is layered and interwoven with an inexplicable combination of shared values, cultures, and experiences.

One of the highlights of this performance is “The Memories”. This song is inspired by the history of Malaysian Chinese ancestors migrating southward in search of a way out, wishing to gain survival on foreign land. This echoes with the Johorean lifestyle today - a constant state of chaotic movement across borders and cities in the pursuit of a collective memory.

‘Drum Up JB!’ will be housed as a permanent show in the state-of-the-art Permaisuri Zarith Sofiah Opera House built by R&F. There will be 2 shows every month on an ongoing basis. This program is supported by R&F Development, Think City, Iskandar Regional Development Authority, Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru, and Malaysia Digital Districts.

JB Drums

On November 18, 2006, at the press conference of the 4th National 24 Festive Drums Extravaganza, the establishment of JB Drums was officially announced, under the witness of Mr. Tai Cai Puan, who is one of the creators of the 24 Festive Drums. The leading figure, Mr. Chong Hai Liang, is a drummer graduated from Foon Yew High School Johor Bahru. The establishment of JB Drums represents that the first professional 24 Festive Drum team in Johor Bahru is born.

JB Drums is founded to inherit and promote 24 Festive Drums, a Malaysia Intangible Cultural Heritage. In the early days of its establishment, JB Drums actively invited Foon Yew High School alumni and drummers from the other background to continue their interest in drumming. From here, full-time drumming coaches were cultivated. JB Drums then actively created new drum team and has appointed professional drumming coaches to various primary and secondary schools or associations to professionalize drumming education. Now, there are 10 professional drumming coaches and assistants from JB Drums. They are coaching more than 20 drum teams of different ages.

Orang Orang Drum Theatre

Since its establishment in 2013, Orang Orang Drum Theatre‛s core mem- bers Boyz Chew, Zyee Leow, and Damien Leow have been dancing between music, dance, and theatre, looking for a platform of expression for drum theatre. Bringing a team with them, they participated in the international music festival Sziget Festival 2019, Venice theatre arts festival Venice Open Stage, and Belgium and Germany dance festival Danse en Ville. In recent years, they have brought their troupe to tour at many cultural and dance arts festivals in Europe, such as in France, Hungary and Serbia. Through interactions with traditional cultures, they find their balance between tradition and contemporary.

In 2020, under the catalysis of the pandemic, they launched the "Orang di Shan-Ka-La" art base. They hope to create a new art community by themselves, which integrates farming, constructions, and other life skills into their performing arts activities.