Borneo Word Music

Playing Sarawak traditional instruments

Borneo World Music Expo consists of a trade fair, musical showcases, conferences, exhibitions and networking sessions. It brings together the world of traditional, ethnic, folks and roots music to Kuching, Malaysian Borneo, for a 3 day event. The expo in itself is the first of its kind organized in South East Asia, it is in its second year and is the prelude to Sarawak’s iconic music festival, the Rainforest World Music Festival.

The expo kicked off with a bang on June 16th at the Hilton Kuching as artists from Borneo and peninsular Malaysia took the stage to perform musical showcases that enthralled an audience from all over the world. Guests were treated to a repertoire of traditional music supplemented by percussions, gongs and violins, as well as Bidayuh roots music by an Orang Asli musical and dance group who performed clad in their remarkable native costumes with an assortment of gongs, drums and bamboo shakers.

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) CEO Dato’ Rashid Khan stated that they “have no doubt that this expo will have an enormous benefit to the local and international music industry as it provides a platform for these showcases to move to the international arena.”

Borneo Word Music

Ding Yu Ling member playing at the expo

Groups performing during the 3-days event hail from India, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore and Indonesia. Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tung Openg said that this expo is specifically designed to expose Asian ethnic musicians to the international market, and reminded participants that some artists from last year event were later invited to perform in France and Germany.

Borneo World Music Expo director Gerald Seligman praised the event as a great way forward for local musicians to improve their music so it can be accepted by the community at large, as well as introducing their indigenous culture to the world. Dato’ Rashid Khan, the organizer of 17 Rainforest World Music Festivals added that the expo is about trade, networking and business behind the entertainment industry, creating business while conserving local music. Borneo World Music Expo is bound to become Asia premier world music exhibition within the next five years.

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on

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