In June 2014, the city of Kuching will resonate once again with the entrancing sounds of the sape. Yes! the Rainforest World Music Festival is here again and it will not be what it is today without the sape, the boat-shaped lute that has become the symbol of the Rainforest World Music Festival.
Music from the lutongs, jatong utangs and the haunting nose flute, traditional and highly valued gongs from the Bisayah community who come from the North of Sarawak will be heard. Complementing these will be old folk tunes from the different indigenous communities in Sarawak which have been improvised with a contemporary stamp on it but without losing the mystique and simple beauty of the way of life in Borneo. Moving from mystical Borneo to the North-Eastern & Southern regions of Peninsula Malaysia, we will experience a wonderful crafted insight to musical traditions of that region such as the ‘shadow play’ and ‘zapin’ a specific dance style accompanied by the gambus, oud, violin and traditional drums.
From here we move to an award winning band from neighbouring Singapore with traditional Chinese music taken from different regions of China, layered with the mixed cultural heritage of Singapore and coloured with contemporary touches. Then there is music from the Minangkabau people of Sumatra with its mystical Highland music with the influence of the Islamic religion and the more contemporary leanings of the coastal regions.
All these you will hear alongside music from across the globe. – a knock out, spine-tingling band from Mali/Burkino Faso. There will also be new dimensions of meditative music, full of mystic. From Japan, Min’yō, the traditional folk music reflecting everyday life – working songs, religious songs, children songs, songs of birth, death, weddings. From New Zealand, listen to the Taonga pūoro, the traditional instruments of the Maori people which brings echos of Mother Earth and stories from the ancestors. Mysterious Ukrainian folk melodies, witchy voices, compelling percussion and a mix of old and new sounds.– wild and primitive, Jagwa Music with its stories of urban survival, misfortunes of daily life and voodoo. From Spain, music from the txalarparta with lyrics in the mysterious Basque language, gorgeous voices and percussion from France. Then there are songs, dances, rituals and drums from the region of Kerala in South India sung in a dialect from an archaic past.
If you are into foot tapping old-time roots dance music, there will be an award winning band from Prince Edward Island with music that is fresh air, wholesome sunshine and happy smiley dance tunes. Then there is salsa music and a mix of latina vocals, sweet sweet brass and African rhythms which makes sitting down impossible as they bring to Borneo the groove right off the streets of Santiago de Cuba. You will listen to traditional songs of England layered with tongue-in-cheek rock-based energy and dance grooves. The lyrics are, in true British tradition, dead-pan witty and shameless. Then there is tarantella music from Southern Italy – compelling, irresistible and passionate and Celtic music from Wales with elegant dances and mad jigs.
A thousand harmonies seemingly at odds and yet in unison, a world apart but here, one world, together…… a real adventure in Borneo!
Every year, thousands and thousands of music lovers travel across the globe for that annual pilgrimage to Sarawak on the island of Borneo. The event has found its home in Santubong, a 45 minute drive from Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak. It has once again been voted among the top 25 international festivals for the 5th consecutive year by Songlines, a renowned world music magazine. Nearer home, the festival has been awarded the BrandLaureate Country Branding Award 2012-2013 by the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation for its efforts in bringing the country to the international stage. This annual event, now in its 17th year, is organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board and is a 3 day celebration of music workshops and action-packed stage shows. The event this year will be held from the 20 to 22 June 2014.
Under the imposing shadow of Mount Santubong, and in the midst of a virgin rainforest at the edge of the South China Sea, the Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique festival that brings together on the same stage renowned world musicians from all continents and indigenous musicians from the interiors of the mythical island of Borneo.
The kinship and spirit among music makers and music lovers alike as they celebrate one another in the cradle of Mother Nature is unique to the green haven where thousand-year old trees reign. An annual communion whose spirit is as timeless as the intricate ecosystem that celebrates the diversity of life. This year, concurrent with workshops, there will be shows beginning in the afternoon at 2 pm in the theatre stage, making it a total of 3 stages throughout the festival days. For festival-goers who wish to interact with the musicians and experience the music and dance of the different cultures up close, the workshops will continue at the same time at various ‘houses’ at the venue. The nights are five-hour concerts that take place on a main stage and smaller “Tree Stage” that carries on past midnight.
Nighttime concerts are held on a stage built by the lake, under the open sky and in an informal ambiance, sitting on the grass lawns and dancing to entrancing world beats. The festival then culminates in a huge finale on the final night, where all performers are invited to play onstage as one.
Lineup for 2014 has been confirmed. On the Theatre stage in the afternoon, will be Talago Buni from Indonesia, Horomona Horo from New Zealand, Ding Yi Music Company from Singapore, Stephan Micus from Germany, Lan E Tuyang from Sarawak, and Ryuz from Japan.
On the main Jungle stage and Tree stage for the night performance will be Bisaya Gong Orchestra from Sarawak, Kalakan (Spain), Son Yambu (UK/Cuba), Karinthalakoottam (India), Blackbeard’s Tea Party (England), Dakha Brakha (Ukraine), Yayasan Warisan Johore Zapin Group (Malaysia), Jamie Smith’s Mabon (Wales), Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Italy), Nading Rhapsody (Sarawak), Debademba (Burkina Faso/Ivory Coast/France), Geng Wak Long (Malaysia), La Cor De La Plana (France), Bedok Ensemble (Sarawak), Gordie Mackeeman & his Rhythm Boys (Canada), and Jagwa Music (Tanzania).
The Borneo World Music Expo (BWME) will be again to integrate with the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF). After the inauguration last year, the event had shown potential resulting in some of the bands showcased being brought for tours in Europe and the United States. This event will bring together professionals from the international music scene who will converge in Sarawak just before the festival to share ideas. This music expo will integrate a trade fair, musical showcases, conferences, exhibitions and networking sessions which would promote culture and music. It is specifically designed to expose Asian and ethnic musicians to the international music scene. The 2nd Borneo World Music Expo will be held from 16 to 18 June 2014.
Sarawak – The Land of Adventure
Sarawak is a place for history, mystery, romance and exotic adventures, the land of the fabled white Rajahs, the Hornbills and the Orang Utans. Its rainforest houses the world’s richest and most diverse ecosystem. The ancient virgin forest is also home to 27 ethnic groups with their own distinct languages, culture and lifestyle. Their ancient cultures may differ but they have one thing in common, their warmth and hospitality.
Arrive in Sarawak and you step into adventure. Opt for a morning stroll in the national park near your hotel, trek through pristine jungle featuring breathtaking landscapes and the world’s longest rainforest-canopy walk or spend days exploring the world’s most extensive cave system. Visit caves that were inhabited 40,000 years ago, learn how Indian and Chinese merchants traded for Sarawak’s exotica centuries before the first Europeans came here, with tales of princes and pirates, of headhunters and explorers. Or simply relax on our beaches on the South China Sea, scuba dive off dramatic reefs or just enjoy a round of golf on one of our excellent courses. Sarawak has something for everyone and all are welcome.
What to expect at the Rainforest World Music Festival
Apart from the music, there will also be a smorgasbord of delectable delights at the Food and Village Mart set against the talismanic Orang Ulu and Iban longhouses which encircle the venue for the whole duration of the festival. Take back with you a variety of arts and craft, event memorabilia as well as CD and recordings of the performing artistes. There will be a showcase of the culture of Sarawak for you to experience and to bring back wonderful memories.
Music is not all about sound; it is an art-form, and with it comes culture, diversity, creativity, talent, and spellbinding performances. The Rainforest World Music Festival is a not-to-be-missed occasion in the heart of the Borneo Jungle. This is where people regardless of their ethnicity, cultural backgrounds and music interests come together for three magical days for a fun filled, wholesome festival experience with a country fair atmosphere amidst lush greenery. Come experience a truly memorable musical extravaganza amidst the lush green paradise that is the mythical land of Sarawak. We bid you, “Selamat Datai”! (Welcome!)
More updates on the Rainforest World Music Festival 2014 are available online at www.rwmf.net.
Entry Tickets to RWMF:
PRE-SALE promo ticket offers online or through ticketing agencies as listed at www.rwmf.net until 19 June. After the promo period, regular-priced tickets will be offered at RM130 adult p/day and RM340 3-day pass (above 12 years). Children tickets (3-12 years old) are RM60 p/day and RM160 for a 3-day pass.
Tips for an enjoyable Rainforest World Music Festival experience:
- Be there early. There are usually long queues at the gate for tickets or access to the venue due to ticket verification and other security measures.
- Please do not bring non-permitted items (knives, sharp items) as they will be confiscated
- No food & drink and animals are allowed to be brought inside the venue.
- Food, beverage, CDs, souvenirs and crafts will be on sale at the event. All items are sold on CASH Terms except where indicated and there is no ATM machine at the venue so please prepare accordingly.
- Limited car-parking facilities are available near the festival site. However, to avoid any inconvenience, you are encouraged to catch the shuttle buses which will operate at regular intervals during the event.
- You can bring your own lawn chairs or mats.
- Bring along a desire to be at one with nature and a yearning to celebrate and unite with kindred spirits from around the globe.