Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Asian Moon Festival

The season of Milwaukee Ethnic festivals kicked off June 13 with Asian Moon Festival, and we went down to the lakefront on Saturday the 14th. We got there before the grounds opened as we particularly like the Asian Fashion show, which was to start at noon. Asian Moon Festival is a pan-Asian event that brings together the Milwaukee area's Asian ethnicities and interest groups from Turkey to Japan. it has consistently been the smallest of the fests, and this year had a smaller portion of the grounds than past years, with only three event stages, plus the obligatory martial arts and cooking demonstration areas. Turnout unfortunately seemed low also, which was a pity since the weather was both warmer and drier than years past.

The Asian fashion show is a parade of ethnic garb, including Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian and Thai this year. As usual, the Thai women, who exhibit a variety of formal and court attire representing several dynasties of Thai royalty, were most beautiful and elegant, although all were interesting.

As for performances, we made it a point to take in Kerry Leung, who demonstrated Traditional Chinese Musical Instruments, The Chicago Matsui Daiko group, who performed Japanese dance, songs, and music, and the very interesting Tuvan throat singing, a Central Asian style in which the singer is actually to produce two tones simultaneously, a bagpipe-like drone low in the throat, (hence the name) and a higher mouth-voice. The effect is very singular and hard to describe. The performers were Americans from Chicago who had taught themselves the technique from studing native recordings, but who are going to Central Asia for study on site later this year. We also caught part of a performance by a Siberian woman, which had striking parallels to native american styles in tonality, drumming, and her feathered headdress.

Dealers and food were another major attraction: there were tons of silver jewelry, jade, statuary, Hmong needlework, and facinating books to catch the eye. We enjoyed Vietnamese spring rolls, Chinese lemon chicken, pork buns, and Hmong barbecued duck with fried rice--all very good.

We had a good time as we usually do, but we are concerned about the future of the festival, since it seems to be struggling.
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