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Everything you need to know about Getai

By EditorEvents - 16 August 2012 9:00 AM | Updated 11:40 AM

Everything you need to know about Getai

 Getai is a big part of our culture, but how many of us actually know the significance of the lively, sometimes rowdy, live stage performances?

A Getai (literally song stage, 歌台), is traditionally held during the Hungry Ghost Festival (also know literally as Zhong Yuan Jie) and is common in Singapore and Malaysia.

According to historical sources, Zhong (middle) Yuan Jie started in the Tang dynasty (618 – 907) as the middle part of the three related festivals during which people offer prayers and food to the tian guan (the Heavenly God),di guan (the Earthly God), and the shui guan (the Water God).

During this period, people believe that the dead need to be appeased and consequently burn offerings and pray to their ancestors to show their respect. If these rituals are not observed, some believe that this will offend the restless spirits and bring them bad luck.

In Singapore, the Hungy Ghost Festival has evolved over the years to include new traditions such as auctions, dinners, operas and live performances out in the open.

The performances, which have evolved over the years to its present state, are meant to entertain the restless spirits that are let loose when the Gates of Hell open during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. However, they also draw a large physical audience, especially in the heartlands.

Typically, temporary wooden stages are planted in open spaces or grassy fields, or indoors within temples and buildings. Performers are often clad in colorful, glittery costumes and perform familiar favorites to accompaniment of a live band. The younger performers are usually more bold in their dressing, favoring revealing outfits to the delight of the older male audience.

The stage is usually painted in bright colors and further compounded by colorful strobe lights. There is usually a host, who engages the audience with humor and the occasional crude reference. Some hosts are effectively multi-lingual, switching between various Chinese dialects and the 4 official languages with ease.

The performances are free and everyone is invited to watch, only that you are not allowed to sit in the front row as these are reserved for the night’s “special guests”. Widely accepted as a integral part of local culture, Getai has also been incorporated into the mainstream media with acclaimed director Royston Tan’s movies 881 as well as 12 lotus. Local citizen journalism portal STOMP also holds the Getai Awards annually to honor the most popular Getai artistes.

Popular Getai artistes

Lee Pei Fen (李佩芬)
Zhuan Qing Yu (庄清玉)
Zhong Yao Nan (钟耀南)
Mai Hui (麦卉)
Hong Xiao Ling (洪小淩)
Kiyo Ting Ting (婷婷)
Qi Xian (奇贤)
Tan Kai Qing (陈凯晴)
Zhang Xiong (张雄)
Sherraine Law (罗绮绮)

Cai Xiu Wen (蔡秀雯)
Lim Zi Yee (林姿逸)
Luo Mei Yi 罗美仪
Candy Tan (陈靖颍)
Chen Xiao Xin (陈晓欣 (小樱花))
Liao Wen Kai (廖文凯 (小王雷))
Hao Hao (皓皓)
Chloe Lim Shi Ling (林诗玲)
Cody Lee (李宜蔓)
Ming Zhu Jie Mei (明珠姐妹)

Babes In The City (宝贝姐妹)
Cerlyn Chan (曾馨仪)
Tian Yue (天悦)
Phine Ho (何佩霖)
Esther Ng (黄凯琳)
Wu Pei Zhi (吴佩芝)
Huang Mei Qi (黄美琪)
2Z Sisters (2Z 姐妹)
Jun Long (俊龙)
Serene Pan (潘唯优)

GetaiYoutube videos

gtqueen's Channel

Online Watch Getai (网上看歌台) Channel