Myanmar Culture

Myanmar is a state of Southeast Asia (676,577 km²). Capital: Naypyidaw. Administrative division: states (7), regions (7), territory of the Union (1). Population: 60.975.993 (2012 estimate). Language: Burmese (official), English. Religion: Buddhists 74%, Christians 6%, Muslims 3%, animists / traditional beliefs 11%, Hindus 2%, others 4%. Currency unit: kyat (100 pyas). Human Development Index: 0.524 (150th place). Borders: China (NE), Laos (E), Thailand (SE), Andaman Sea (SW), Bay of Bengal (W), Bangladesh and India (NW). Member of: ASEAN, UN and WTO. Visit ask4beauty for Burma or Myanmar.


Burmese theater, which evolved on the type of sacred dance and then ballet, was originally an eminently sacred show and has its roots in primitive forms of performances linked to folklore and animistic religious beliefs of the pre-Buddhist era. However, it was Buddhism that established the forms of sacred drama which were to be perpetuated through a repertoire that drew almost exclusively from the Buddhist stories of the Jātaka. Influences from India and Siam then led to the inclusion of the deeds of the ancient Indian epos, including the Rāmayāna, in the repertoires . Padethayaza, the oldest Burmese playwright known to us, was also inspired by Indian literature. His play Maniket Zattaw-gyi its protagonist is a fabulous “ruby eye” horse; it is in dialogue, but it seems it should have been read, not represented. Other “literary” comedies (zattaw-gyi) remained in vogue throughout the century. XVIII and XIX, until the works of U Kyin U and U Pon-nyaappeared, which were the first to enter the repertoire of shows regularly represented with puppets or actors. At the beginning of the century. XX the Burmese theater became so important that it was deemed necessary to regulate it with a special ministry. Its main forms are: the zat-pué, a drama on noble and classical themes imbued with farcical and operatic elements, with music and songs, which professional companies perform in special rooms or outdoors from 9 in the evening to 4 in the morning; the yot-thé, that is the puppet theater, for a long time the most popular and most typical form but in decline; the yein-pué, dramatic dance on religious themes; the nat-pué, or dance of the spirits; and, in Upper Myanmar, other types of dance whose performers imitate different animals or mimic war scenes (lai-ka).


Research on Burmese music allows us to identify two decisive elements in the formation of the repertoire and the playing techniques of this people. The first is of Indian origin and can be identified in one of the typical instrumental ensembles of the country, destined to accompany shows in which the shadows of two-dimensional puppets are projected on a screen; composed of two pairs of rattles, two pairs of cymbals, a gong carillon, a drum set of various sizes, two oboes, it is identical (with the exception of the gong carillon imported perhaps from Siam and Cambodia) to the ensembles orchestral music from South India. The second element, of Chinese origin, is much less evident; it is traceable in the pentatonic structure of many melodies that the natives themselves indicate as “Chinese”, but which in any case differ from the more typical music of the Far East for the rigidly symmetrical structure and for a strong sense of rhythm, of Indian origin. In general the music of Myanmar falls within the area of ​​Thai music (Asia) and has close affinities with the musical expressions of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.


Although it started in 1915 with the movie Love and Liquor, made by the “father of Burmese cinema” U Ohn Maung, and although its activity has always been constant (except in the period of the Second World War, when the Rangoon studios were destroyed), the film production of Myanmar is, among the Asian ones, one of the least known and consumption is almost exclusively internal, as well as often denoting a technical level that leaves something to be desired. Interesting is the trend towards animated drawing, affirmed since the Thirties by U Ba Gyan, albeit with an American imitation taste, in tune with the Hollywood counterfeits then in fashion in the subjects of the films and in the actors. After independence, new themes have emerged, such as the historical-epic genre, the dramatic one and even thrillers, but ample space is still left, as in other cinemas of the continent.

Myanmar Culture