Michael Learns To Rock on a Stage in Burma

By Aye Kyawt Khaing 21 March 2013

RANGOON — After years of pop music isolation Burma is ready to rock.

Following the MTV EXIT charity show starring Jason Mraz in December, people in Burma have waited with baited breath for the next big mane to grace Rangoon’s stage.

Now the wait is almost over as Burma favorite Michael Learns to Rock, a Danish soft rock group, is due to perform in the People’s Park in central Rangoon on March 31.

Nyi Ngae, 26, a guitarist from the Burmese band Dusty Way, said people in the city were looking forward to the gig.

The concert, organized by Pastel Communications and Friendship Entertainment, will also feature famous Burmese rocker Zaw Win Htut and Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein.

The Danish band’s songs—“Sleeping Child,” “Wild Woman,” “Paint My Love,” “Blue Night,” “That’s Why You Go Away”—are some of the most popular songs in Burma, and have been translated and performed by local artists.

Zaw Win Htut said the band’s “songs were popular here as far back as 1998. I like their song ‘Sleeping Child’. They are the same age as me, so I think it will be amusing for me to perform with them.”

Tickets are on sale for between 19,900 kyat and 99,000 kyat (US $23-$114), prompting some people to question whether low-income Burmese would be able to afford to buy tickets.

Young people contacted by The Irrawaddy said the ticket prices were too high, adding that they wished Burma had affordable entertainment.

Shahbaz Qureshi, the head of Pastel Communications, said at a press conference on Wednesday that the gig would bring quality entertainment to music lovers in Burma.

“You have to pay more if you go and see MLTR in Bangkok or Singapore, so the price difference is fair enough for both of us, but we will reconsider the ticket price after early bird sales.”

The band is due to give a press conference on March 29 in Rangoon.