Esplanade Presents


RATA: new grounds, new sounds

An Esplanade Commission and Production

RATA Orkestra
Directed by Safuan Johari
Featuring Azrin Abdullah (oud), Andy Chia (dizi, vocals, electronics), Cheryl Ong (percussion), Safuan Johari (electronics), Rizman Putra (vocals), weish (vocals), with guest artist Nova Ruth (vocals) and visuals by Brandon Tay.

29 Dec 2022, Thu, 7.30pm

30 Dec 2022, Fri, 7.30pm

31 Dec 2022, Sat, 7.30pm

1hr 10mins

(Intermission: None)

Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

This event is over.

From left: weish, Rizman Putra, Safuan Johari, Brandon Tay, Cheryl Ong, Andy Chia, Azrin Abdullah
Nova Ruth | Photo Credit: Lilqueenr

Boasting an eclectic line-up of established musicians from diverse fields, RATA Orkestra makes its debut with RATA: new grounds, new sounds (RATA), a visceral audiovisual experience in the new Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade.


Named for the Malay word rata, meaning “flat” or “even’, RATA Orkestra is a project by Safuan Johari featuring Azrin Abdullah (oud), Andy Chia (dizi, vocals, electronics), Cheryl Ong (percussion), Safuan Johari (electronics), Rizman Putra (vocals) and weish (vocals). This new ensemble aims to create new aural topographies by gathering diverse local and international musicians to experiment with collaborative compositions, break old boundaries and new grounds across the traditional, the experimental, and the popular, and create a transcultural ambient soundscape of harmonious interplays and poignant discordances.


A production two years in the making, RATA also features  guest artist Nova Ruth (vocals) and multimedia designer Brandon Tay. Audience members will also move around the performance space, to experience and encounter the visuals and sounds from various corners.


RATA invites you to mark the end of the year and this season of change with an opportunity to discover something new and ground-breaking.


A programme of In New Light – A Season of Commissions, in celebration of Esplanade’s 20th anniversary.


Road closures around Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay for Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2023 on 31 Dec 2022. Read more


Mask-wearing is optional. However, audiences are encouraged to continue to exercise responsibility and caution, such as wearing masks when in crowded places.


Standing room only.

Admission Age:
6 and above.
Language: English
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Artist Information

Safuan Johari

Safuan Johari is a Singaporean sound designer and music producer. In the realm of sound design, he has worked on various multimedia art installations and performance productions. He has also composed and produced music for theatre, dance and film. Safuan is constantly reimagining the spectres of the cultural past through digital and technological lenses.


Safuan has exhibited and performed in Beijing, Paris, London and New York. In Singapore, he has showcased works for Singapore Night Festival, i-Light Marina Bay, Singapore International Festival of Arts and M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. Safuan is also part of NADA, a visual arts and sound project that summons hauntological soundscapes and seeks lost futures.

Andy Chia

Chia is a producer, director, artist and musician.


He is the first professionally trained Chinese flautist in Singapore and the first non-native Chinese to receive a Masters of Arts in dizi performance from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music as a National Arts Council (Singapore) scholar. Andy is also the Co-founder, Artistic Director, Producer, and resident artist of SAtheCollective Ltd—a Major Grant Company supported by the National Arts Council.


Andy’s pursuit is in the evolving relationship between humans, hature, and Technology. His study uses shamanic and ritualistic teachings alongside interdisciplinary and intercultural manners in search of a harmonious, unified existence between all three entities on the planet we call home. His art has been described as hypermodernism, drawing from ethnic roots yet remaining modern.


Besides an extensive resume as an artist and producer in the local scene with the Singapore International Festival of the Arts, National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, Andy is also well connected with international artists.He has been commissioned by major festivals such as OZAsia, Sydney Festival and AngelicA Festival Internazionale di Musica, which span across Asia, Europe and North America.


His latest works include the inaugural SIFA X: Oneirism—a mini festival within Singapore International Festival of the Arts—along with Poetic Pandemic, an interdisciplinary exhibition.

Azrin Abdullah

“The oud should not only be looked upon as just a musical instrument. It is an instrument of expression with the capability to convey your inner emotions.”
—Azrin Abdullah 


Azrin Abdullah started learning the acoustic guitar at the age of six. He gave his first musical performance when he was nine and never looked back since.


Azrin began his love affair with the oud, an Arabic lute-type stringed instrument, in 1999 when he was tasked to learn the instrument as part of an endeavour to master traditional Malay music.


Although he has faced considerable challenges and difficulties in learning to play the oud, Azrin continues to believe in sharing his valuable knowledge so the oud can be made accessible to all.


In 2014, Azrin was sponsored by the National Arts Council to pursue an advanced course at the National Conservatory of Arts in Kuala Lumpur to further his knowledge of the oud. After completing the course, he went on to produce the first Singapore Gambus Conference, which was held at the Malay Heritage Centre from 25 to 30 October 2016 in conjunction with the Malay CultureFest. The well-attended event saw speakers and gambus enthusiasts from Singapore and around the world gather to share their knowledge of the instrument.


Azrin was also instrumental in forming Singapore Oudists (SGOudists), an online oud community that provides local oud players from all walks of life with a platform to get together and share techniques and playing styles.


Azrin is currently an adjunct teacher with School of The Arts Singapore  and President of Oudists Association of Singapore. 

Cheryl Ong

Cheryl Ong (Singapore) is a percussionist who is active in music performance and education and regularly performs with avant rock group, The Observatory. Though classically trained, Cheryl consistently struggles with the fact that classical music can be divisive and limited to its roles. Tired of being a mere technician, Cheryl has gone on to explore improvisational and experimental practices in recent years, hunting down new ideas and sounds.


Her recent performances include All Ears Festival (2020, Norway) with the Guro (Dyna) Moe Revolution Sextet, AngelicA Festival (2019, Bologna) in a duo with Vivian Wang and Kombo, CTM Festival (2019, Berlin). Her solo composition Hejira was used in the closing credits of Singaporean filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua’s award winning film A Land Imagined.

Rizman Putra

Rizman Putra has been actively juggling performance, visual arts, and music for the past 20 years after earning a Master of Arts in Fine Arts from LASALLE College of the Arts in 2007.


In 2005, Rizman was one of the four artists selected for the President’s Young Talents Exhibition and was part of the Fukuoka Triennale. In the same year, the now dissolved arts collective he co-founded, Kill Your Television (KYTV), was awarded the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI) Singapore Foundation Arts Award. Rizman has performed locally and internationally and at the inaugural Singapore Biennale in 2006. Rizman is one half of the retro-futurist electronic duo NADA and is currently an Associate Artist with Cake Theatrical Productions.


weish is a composer, vocalist, writer and performer. A versatile artist whose work spans diverse genres and disciplines, she forms part of electronic duo .gif, progressive fusion group  sub:shaman and audiovisual collective and label Syndicate. She is also an associate artist at Checkpoint Theatre.  


Within her first year in music, weish helmed stages solo at the Formula 1, TEDx  Women, and opened for Canadian duo Tegan and Sara at the Esplanade Concert Hall.  Soon after, she moved on to lineups at St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Inside Out London,  Java Soundsfair Jakarta, BIGSOUND Australia, HUSH! Macau, Neon Lights, and the  Golden Melody Awards Taipei.  


With .gif and sub:shaman, weish has performed in Japan, Australia and  across Europe and Southeast Asia. She has also created multidisciplinary works in collaboration with  the likes of Bani Haykal, Ng Yi-Sheng, The Observatory, Dave Chua, and more. These soon  grew into international collaborations that include the building of sound art installations in London with  British artist Mileece, the development of original live sets with Japanese DJ Sapphire Slows in  Tokyo, and collaborations with Berlin poet Rike Scheffler.  


In 2018, she played at Sundance Film Festival and Sheffield Doc/Fest, having written the  theme song and part of the soundtrack of Shirkers by Sandi Tan, a film that won  Singapore’s first award at Sundance and soon premiered globally on Netflix.  


In 2019, she played Musical Director to Checkpoint Theatre’s celebrated Singapore International Festival of the Arts (SIFA) production,  Displaced Persons’ Welcome Dinner at the Victoria Theatre. Come 2020, weish wrote and  performed Beside Ourselves, a boundary-pushing production combining music, theatre  and live visuals, presented by .gif as a commission for the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.  The duo then launched their long anticipated new LP, Hail Nothing.  


More recently, she also wrote and performed an original script and music for Be Here,  With Me as part of Checkpoint Theatre’s digital festival Two Songs and a Story, and form-bending production Did You Want More Sleep? for SIFA 2020 and 2021. She has also  transformed plants into instruments for Vogue Singapore and Playtronica, composed to  choreography for a dance film by The Human Expression for the National Arts Council, and created A Taxi Uncle Symphony, a sound-art film commissioned by and exhibited at National Gallery Singapore.

Nova Ruth

Nova Ruth Setyaningtyas is a Java NEO-SOUL musician and an artivist. As co-founder and emcee of the female duo Twinsista. She explored genres ranging from jazz, R&B, noise and postfolk for over ten years before finally meeting Filastine, her longest music partner.


She co-created Arka Kinari — a sailing vessel and floating arts platform sounding the alarm on climate change, while carrying culture as its cargo. Combining method and message, the ship is voyaging through Indonesian waters to raise awareness among remote coastal communities about climate change through a floating audio-visual performance powered by renewable energy.


Reviving the involvement of female sailors in Indonesia, she included women art workers to join a residency program onboard Arka Kinari in collaboration with Peretas. Her focus on ocean subjects got her invited to become one of the founders of The Women Of The Seven Seas. Started as a naive artist who had fear of the ocean, after thousands nautical miles and three years of liveaboard she might be able to call herself a sailor.


Nova brought the waves of Java on international world stages such as Incubate Festival (Netherlands), Downtown Cairo Arts (Egypt), Indonesian Dance Festival (Indonesia), Les Vieilles Charrues (France), and Mona Foma (Australia). She has served as co-composer on a durational dance piece directed by Daniel Kok & Miho Shimizu, Xhe, for Esplanade Singapore and Live Works Sydney (2018), a performing art & dance piece directed by Choy Ka Fai, Post Colonial Spirits, for Indonesia Bertutur (2022) and a full dome performance produced by 4PI, Liminality for SAT Montreal (2019) and Arka Kinari Live Documentary for CULTVR Cardiff and Full Dome UK in Plymouth (2022).

Date & Time

29 Dec 2022, Thu


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

30 Dec 2022, Fri


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade

31 Dec 2022, Sat


Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade
Tickets & Prices

Students, NSFs, Seniors & PWDs

Price $38 $30.40

Note: Standing room only.

Esplanade&Me Early Bird Specials

In New Light Package of 4
19 Aug – 18 Sep

(Applicable to Standard tickets only)

Esplanade&Me members can enjoy 20% savings with purchase of 4 tickets to the same programme or across In New Light programmes. Terms & conditions apply.

Esplanade&Me Early Bird Specials

19 Aug – 18 Sep
(Applicable to Standard tickets only)

Black: 20% savings 
White: 15% savings  
Discover: 15% savings (min. 2 tickets, limited) 

Esplanade&Me Specials

19 Sep onwards
(Applicable to Standard tickets only)

Black: 15% savings 
White: 10% savings  
Discover: 10% savings (min. 2 tickets, limited)
U26 (Package of 4): 15% savings (limited)

Tote Board Arts Grant

All Secondary Schools (Upper Sec), Junior Colleges/ Centralised Institute & ITEs may use the Tote Board Arts Grant to subsidise up to 50% of the programme cost.  

For more details, please contact Esplanade Box Office at 6828 8389 or email


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