Rainforest World Music Festival


The Rainforest World Music Festival had its origin over a decade back when Randy Raine-Reusch, a Canadian national visited Sarawak to record some traditional music of the region. There, he met another Canadian national Robert Basiuk. They discussed at length about the dying tradition of local music. It was during this meeting that birthed the Rainforest World Music Festival They were assisted by two Sarawakian brothers Edric and his brother Edgar Ong.

The Rainforest World Music Festival, which is the largest earth concert in Borneo island aims to promote peace and brotherhood by assembling world famous artists from around the world. The musicians come from as far as Maldives, USA, Ireland, Poland, Afghanistan, Japan, Philippines, UK and even from Africa. Some reknowned group that has performed there were Umfolosi, Ross Daly Quartet, New Rope String Band UK and many more. Thousands of music lovers from all over the world congregate there each year for this three day event organized by Sarawak Tourism Board.

Borneo Rainforest World Music Festival

Borneo Rainforest World Music Festival

Take a drive 45 minutes drive west of Kuching and you will reach Sarawak Cultural Village, the site of the Rainforest World Music Festival. It is set amidst an incredible backdrop of green mountains, the jungle and lake, hospitable people and excellent music which makes the festival one of the most sought after by tourists.

The event is usually held in the month of July when the climate is hot and humid, but that does not dampen the spirit of music lovers. During this 3 day period, various workshops like storytelling, ceremonial dance circles and craft fairs offer plenty to do during the day to get visitors to learn and understand more about the traditional music and its origin.

Borneo Rainforest World Music Festival

Borneo Rainforest World Music Festival

Rhythmic drumbeats of traditional Malaysian music lighten up the already charged up atmosphere as you enter the cultural village. In the evening, when the concert is held, the visitors will have a ball in such an atmosphere. You will see music lovers dance to the loud rhythmic and beat of the music and just enjoying themselves.

In the 11th Rainforest Festival held in 2008, a record turnout of more than 7,000 people congregated on the first day itself. Most people visited in the evening, eagerly anticipating the evening concert where all great musicians performed.

You would also find many more people come at the last moment hoping to find tickets. The events are usually sold out each year and last year, there were almost 20,000 people that attended the event.

Besides great music, have a taste of traditional Malaysian and Asian cuisine in one of the temporary shops set up especially for the event. Hang out with your family and friends in the many bars that serve cocktails, spirits, wines and beers.

For 2009, the event will be held on 10-12 July 2009. 21,000 tickets are on sale but almost 10,000 tickets have been snapped up. A new and bigger stage has also been set up to cater to the ever growing numbers of attendees every year.

There will be 15 groups performing this year. Red Chamber from Canada will straddle traditional Chinese string music from the Tang Dynasty to contemporary composition of blue grass, jazz and a host of other folk fusions.

AkashA, Malaysia was in great demand in 2008. They will be back again this year performing hot Indian fusion percussion with lightning fast guitar licks with Malay and world influences.

POUM TCHACK, France will bring you French-folk-gyspy-jazz-world madness.. Their music combine so many styles in one set that it is almost impossible to define. This is French music for you.

LAN-È TUYANG, Sarawak. 3 innovators will play you the most beautiful hypnotic music you have ever heard from the traditional sape musical instruments.

ZAWOSE FAMILY AFRICA, Tanzania. The Zawose Family Africa carries on the tradition of one of World Music’s biggest star, Dr Hukwe Zawose, Tanzania’s foremost master of traditional Wagogo music. Since his demise, the Zawose Family has carried on his legacy with rapturous, joyous, polyphonic singing accompanying buzzing thumb pianos, soaring izeze fiddle and exuberant rhythms with all the power and passion of their mentor.

NOREUMMACHI, Korea combines driving percussion with evocative traditional winds. This is modern music with traditional echoes to inspire the new generation.

MOANA & THE TRIBE, New Zealand pushes the boundaries of Maori music. It presents a wild fusion of contemporary and indigenous music, dance, songs, poi-rhythms and movement, melding traditional and contemporary styles without compromising either. It brings their deep cultural roots into a new millennium.

JOUHIORKESTERI, Finland also known as the “Horse-Hair Orchestra” is a four-member ensemble whose main instrument is the ancient and unique jouhikko bowed lyre. Like a swarm of raspy fiddles with a slithering, edgy pitch, the sound of the quartet ranges from a large string orchestra to an intimate chamber group. Jouhikko is the oldest bowed instrument of Europe being played by only a handful of musicians in remote villages of Finland and Estonia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Jouhikko is rarely heard outside of Finland.

MUZSIKAS, Hungary is the most renowned and popular Hungarian folk music ensemble in the world. Playing in the style of old traditional Hungarian folk bands, their performances transport the audience back to remote Hungarian villages where traditions survive through the centuries. Their songs are rhapsodicous and fiery fiddles over driving drones.

JEFF & THE VIDA BLUEGRASS BAND, USA ranges from Appalachian bluegrass to alternative country with roots from New Orleans and Nashville and influences from mountain music, old-timey and blues.

DAZKARIEH, Portugal is a blend of traditional Portuguese music with influences from around the world played on original and contemporary instruments.

OUDADEN, Morocco has been performing in concerts around the world for over twenty years. They draw their inspiration from traditional Amazigh (Berber) music which is a mix of traditional percussion combined with banjo, electric guitar and drums. Their lyrics speak of the subtleties of love as well as the difficulties of their region.

ASIKA, Malaysia combines traditional music from wayang kulit, mak yong, cak lempong and gamelan to create a truly unique Malaysian sound. Asika will enchant you with youth, energy and power as you immerse yourselves into their music.

SEKAA JAYA JENGGALA, Bali Indonesia performs a host of rare forms of traditional music from gamelan. They will bring beautifully intricate forms of bamboo music to this year’s festival. Music instantly transports you to a place of beauty, tranquility and magic of a different time, place and out of this world.

THE ST. NICHOLAS ORCHESTRA, Poland is dedicated to reviving all aspects of folklore. Hiking in the Polish mountains through abandoned valleys and forgotten paths, they were inspired to bring the sights and sounds of the past to the present, and on to the future. The Orchestra has performed in over 1,000 concerts at many top festivals in Europe but this will be their first performance in Asia.

So what are you waiting for? Hurry, book a ticket and spend a night in one of the entertaining environments and relish the authentic Asian cuisine. Visit it once and you would want to come back again and again and stay at one of the best kuching hotels available either in Kuching City or Damai and you will have a Blast!

That is a GUARANTEE!

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