12:24 GMT +317 October 2018
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    Sochi ASEAN cultures festival

    Russian Bells And Laos Dolls – A Perfect Blend

    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
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    While Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with the leaders of the ASEAN member states in Sochi, the Southern Russian city will also host a series of joint cultural events.

    Denis Bolotsky — The music of Brunei will be heard alongside traditional Russian folk songs, and the fiery Caucasus “lezginka” will receive the same “wow” from the audience, as the traditional dances of Laos and Cambodia.

    It used to be a daily dress in a small community long time ago, but now the rare colorful female attire can only be seen in the streets of Singapore during holidays, in a local museum… or in Sochi, where it’s currently on display at the Russia-ASEAN Festival of Cultures.

    “It’s only worn by a small community in Singapore, but it’s chosen because it’s multicultural” – says Karen Chin from the Peranakan Museum about the dress. Karen added that the tradition dates back to the late 1800s – “We had many immigrants from China at the time, and many members of community would dress like this.”

    Karen Chin is helping Anna, a tourist from Murmansk to try on the rare folk costume.
    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    Karen Chin is helping Anna, a tourist from Murmansk to try on the rare folk costume.

    “This one a bit too large for me” – laughed Anna. “But we also saw traditional Thai dresses here, and, Russia is represented quite well.”

    A group of boys gathered around a bearded Russian blacksmith to see him forge metal. A few meters away, bell ringers started playing a Russian folk tune. 

    Julia Shunina is the spokesperson for Sochi’s own cultural ethnographic center “My Russia” – a venue tucked away in the Caucasus mountains, with its 11 buildings representing architectural styles from all over the country.

    “We had a fun moment here today” – said Julia. “Puppet masters from Laos brought their traditional dolls to our bell ringers and together they’ve made quite a show.”

    But it’s not only locals or Russian tourists who stopped for a photo-op. Despite the busy schedule of the Russia-ASEAN summit, Naraporn Chan-o-cha, the spouse of the Thai Prime Minister visited the festival. She shared her impressions of Sochi with Sputnik.

    Naraporn Chan-o-Cha
    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    Naraporn Chan-o-Cha

    “You have everything. You have the sea, you have the mountains, and I’ve heard there are activities the year round. You can go skiing in the winter, and you have sea in the summer, so it’s a nice place for everybody.”

    Sochi – the city on the Russian Black Sea coast where the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics were held, hosted the Russia-ASEAN summit for the first time. 

    The ASEAN countries are comprised of: Brunei, The Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam, with Papua New Guinea currently being an observer.

    Since 1996 Russia has been a full ASEAN Dialogue Partner.


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