Perak to Host Malaysia International Carnatic Music Festival, Celebrating Classical Indian Music

By: Aida Aziz

IPOH: After three years of being fully suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malaysia International Carnatic Music Festival (MYICMF) 2023 will now be hosted in Perak from June 30th to July 2nd, marking its inaugural physical edition.

Entering its fifth edition, the festival will showcase a diverse range of classical music and instruments from South India and is expected to attract over 3,000 visitors from both domestic and international locations.

Mohd Azlan Helmi, Chairman of the State Communication, Multimedia, and NGO Committee, stated that the prestigious event is part of the state government’s efforts to promote arts and culture while positioning Perak as a centre of artistic excellence.

He also expressed optimism that this endeavour would catalyze fostering unity through cultural arts, promising an extraordinary event that brings together artists and music enthusiasts from around the world.

“I have been informed that this year’s festival in this state will attract an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 visitors daily for three days. With the presence of visitors in Perak, I believe it will have a positive impact on the local economy, as well as promote Perak to the world,” he said.

“I am confident that expanding such events, regardless of diverse cultural arts, can foster unity among the community. This festival will serve as a platform for exceptional performances, creative collaborations, and the exchange of ideas and traditions,” he added.

He made these remarks during a media session held last night regarding the festival.

Also present was the Director of the MYICMF Festival, who is also the Founder and Trustee of the Sugam Foundation, Sujietra Jayaseelan.

Further discussing the festival, Sujietra mentioned that it was first introduced in 2019 and previously held in Kuala Lumpur.

She stated that Ipoh was chosen as this year’s location due to its rich heritage and history.

“For the past four years, we organized it in Kuala Lumpur (during the pandemic, it was held online until 2022). This time, we came to Ipoh as we received a warm invitation from this state, and this city is abundant in culture, so we decided to host it here,” she explained.

She further highlighted that the lineup of artists participating in the festival includes not only those from India but also from the United States.

“There will be approximately 15 talented and renowned artists involved, including both international and local performers who will showcase their talents on the same platform,” she added.

When asked if the festival can attract a multicultural audience, Sujietra expressed that art can connect people.

“Carnatic music is a classical music form from South India with intricate techniques, including its traditions. The language used in Carnatic music is not only Tamil but also Telugu and others. The language is not the crucial element in the music; it’s the rhythm that matters,” she explained.

“We have many songs that have been fused or blended. We don’t focus much on the lyrics, and some songs may not even have lyrics; it’s all about the music itself,” she concluded.

The festival will take place at MH Hotel, Ipoh, and for those interested, tickets can be purchased at

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