U Shwe Yoe

U Shwe Yoe


U Shwe Yoe, also known as U Ba Ga Lay was a prominent Burmese Actor, Comedian, Dancer and Cartoonist. He was a Burmese Muslim.

U Shwe Yoe and U Shwe Yoe dance

U Shwe Yoe dance was U Ba Ga Lay’s jolly joker dance sequence in, 1923 “Ah Ba Yae” (Oh Ah Ba. Ah Ba means old man or father in Burmese) which was one of the pioneer films of Myanmar movie history about rural life. The dance is full of fun and joy and it appealed so much to the Myanmar audience and is adopted as a dance for all festive occasions.

“Ah Ba Yae” movie was his second movie with Myanmar Asway (friend of Myanmar) company. The first was “Taw Myaing Soon Ka Lwan Aung Phan” (nostalgia effects of the jungle)in 1923. He later shoot another seven films with the same company.

With thick eye brows, long curved mustache, traditional Myanmar headdress (Gong Baung), long muffler around the neck, traditional Myanmar jacket (Tyke Pone), checked long sarong (Taung Shae Pasoe) and the small Pathein Umbrella. This became the trademark of U Shwe Yoe. Later the dancers easily copied his image by using special comical sunglass with artificial plastic nose and eyebrows.

The U Shwe Yoe dance has been an essential part of charitable and other ceremonies traditionally observed by the Myanmar. U Shwe Yoe dances to the music of the Ozi and Doebut troupes. He dances to the rhythmic sounds of the accompanying dobat or double-faced short drum, cymbals and bamboo clappers. U Shwe Yoe does a good job twirling his umbrella to make his performance more interesting. This dance is always performed to make amusement by village lads in procession at festival. This popular traditional Myanmar dance is presented with delightful and humorous movements to please spectators. It is also an entertainment component at Pagoda festival, at Shinpyu ordination ceremony, and other festive occasions. Myanmar folk dances developed together with folk music and songs. So they are inseparably linked with folk music and songs. These three performing arts are complementary and rural-based. The music is provided by ozi and dobat troupes.

Duet Dance of U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe

Originally U Shwe Yoe was an individual dance performance, but over time the Daw Moe Dance was created and appended to the original version. Now the art form is popularly known as the U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe Dance. U Shwe Yoe dances with his comic moustache and comic movements trying to woo the spinster Daw Moe. The U Shwe Yoe Dance has been an essential part of charitable and traditional ceremonies. U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe are the comic characters. They sing, they dance and they flirt, and make the spectators (audience) laugh. The dance is presented with humour in order to make the spectators merry and gay. No religious procession is considered complete without the dance of U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe.[1][2]

 Acting career

He acted in 18 movies during 12 years of his carrier. Fifteen were without voice and only three were with voice. His first movie “Taw Myaing Soon Ka Lwan Aung Phan” (nostalgia effects of the jungle) was from Burma Film’s first movie. Lead actor was Maung Nyi Pu (first Burmese actor) and actress was Ma Mya Nyunt. U Ba Ga Lay was a support actor, comedian. There was a scene in the movie, Daw Moe wanted to be splashed with water in the water festival but pretended not to be. He acted as a naive old man Shwe Yoe, trying to splash water with a short pump. In his second movie he rose to fame with his Shwe Yoe dance.

The full list of his movies_

  1. “Taw Myaing Soon Ka Lwan Aung Phan” (nostalgia effects of the jungle)1923

  2. “Ah Ba Yae”(Oh Ah Ba. Ah Ba means father or an old man.) 1923

  3. Pauk Kyine (Myanmar Folk tale) 1924

  4. Ta Khine Lone Shwe (The whole bunch of gold) 1924

  5. Ta Khine Lone Sein (The whole bunch of diamonds) 1924

  6. Mhine Wai Wai. Hazy or foggy 1925

  7. Pa Loke Toke Toke Sakya Shin 1925

  8. Village boy Shwe Yoe 1926

  9. Shwe Min Won 1926

  10. Where is Shwe Yoe 1926

  11. Shwe Yoe and San Phae 1927

  12. Shwe Talay 1927

  13. Khin Maung Gyi 1927

  14. Honeymoon period 1929

  15. Wai Lwin Lwin 1929

  16. Mr Batchelor 1930

  17. Love Triangle 1930

  18. Shwe Pay Lhwar (Golden Message)

 Personal life

U Ba Ga Lay was born in Bassein (now Pathein) in 1893 (9th waning of Tabodwe month 1254 Burmese calender). His parents were Bassein High School teachers U Pho Thi and Daw Thae Mhone.

He had head and back injury when the kitchen of his house collapsed in June 1938. Treated for three months in Rangoon and later shifted to Bassein. His mental condition deteriorated and when Cartoon U Hein Soon visited him with the donations from the friends in Rangoon, he asked about the famous journalist Zawana.

Later because of the bombings, he shifted to Hinthada and again to Gambi town. He passed away at the age of 52, on 5th June 1945.


  1. ^ U Shwe Yoe’s alias U Ba Ga Lay by Tin Soe. Al-Balag Journal, Published by Ko Min Lwin. In Burmese. Nov-Dec 2001. page 80,81 & 82

  2. ^ Ludu Daw Ah Mar, Shwe Yoe, Ba Galay – Artists of the same names in 2 volumes 1969

See also

External links

  1. U Shwe Yoe dance,Mintha Theater[1]

  2. U Shwe Yoe dance,Goldenland [2]

  3. U Shwe Yoe dance,Mandalay marionettes[3]

  4. U Shwe Yoe dance,Myanmar.com[4]

  5. U Shwe Yoe dance,Myanmars.net[5]

  6. U Shwe Yoe dance,htweoomyanmar.com[6]

  7. U Shwe Yoe dance,ibiblio.org[7]

  8. U Shwe Yoe dance,Myanmar.gov.mm[8]

  9. U Shwe Yoe dance,mrtv3[9]

  10. U Shwe Yoe dance,Mizzima.[10]

  11. U Shwe Yoe dance,mwaf.org.mm[11]

  12. U Shwe Yoe dance,Fascinating Myanmar[12]

  13. U Shwe Yoe dance,Sein Moottar[13]

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