Slam-poetry-like "Thangyat" has been used for centuries in Myanmar to poke fun at politics and society and vent against injustices small and large.
A troupe of Myanmar folk singers and satirists are taking their new show on a jungle tour, hoping to rally anti-coup fighters far from their families with barbs against the junta and jokes about home.
In eastern Kayin state, the "Peacock Generation" activist troupe are trying to boost morale with traditional "Thangyat" performances of poetry, comedy and satirical songs against the junta.
Near the Thai border, their makeshift tour bus - with a three-finger salute popular with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and Thailand painted on one side - bumps along a dusty track en route to a camp.
"We are expecting the battle like we hope for rains," they sing, stepping in unison across a makeshift stage, accompanied by drums and cymbals.
"Let's start the bullets raining."
Slam-poetry-like "Thangyat" is traditionally performed around the new year, and has been used for centuries in Myanmar to poke fun at politics and society and vent against injustices small and large.
The few dozen at the camp are some of the hundreds, according to analyst estimates, who have trekked into border areas held by Myanmar's established rebel groups to receive weapons training.
"Thangyat gives us some freedom of expression in our culture," said veteran performer Zay Yar Lwin, 32, who fled to the jungle after the coup and re-founded the Peacock Generation group he had performed with in previous years.
"Most of what we're saying is targeting the military dictatorship," Zay Yar Lwin said.
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Limits on free speech
They also tease the shadow 'National Unity Government' dominated by lawmakers from Suu Kyi's ousted party that is working to overturn the coup for failing to secure the weapons anti-coup fighters say they need.
Thangyat performances were prohibited under the previous junta regime which ruled for almost 50 years, and it was not until 2013 that the ban was lifted.
But even after democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi's government was sworn into power, there were strict limits on free speech - especially when it came to the armed forces.
In 2019 Zay Yar Lwin and several other "Peacock Generation" members were jailed for a performance that a judge found was "disrespectful" to the military.
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