Sunday, 20 July 2014

Rainforest World Music Festival 2014 (Day 1)

Photo credits to Sarawak Tourism Board 

Anybody would find it not easy to contain the excitement of being able to go back to Sarawak Cultural Village to enjoy another edition of Rainforest World Music Festival. It was my second time with seven other members of Sarawak Bloggers Society covering the award winning music festival. In fact RWMF is one of the top 25 international music festivals.

This year I had to shoulder extra responsibilities after being appointed by the Chairman of Sarawak Bloggers Society as the Coordinator for our team. Nevertheless, the task was gladly shared by the Assistant Coordinator, Garner. He helped a lot especially on the day of Registration, Media Briefing and Opening Ceremony since I was unable to make it due to work commitment. Although I was 300 kilometres away from Santubong, I followed them closely via social networks. I admit I envied them enjoying the Opening Ceremony at the beachside. That was something new since all these years it was held next to the poolside of Damai Beach Resort. By looking at their photos, I believed everyone really enjoyed the atmosphere at the beach party. I only could be there the next day.

Photo credits to Sarawak Tourism Board 

Photo credits to Sarawak Tourism Board

The festival kick started on the 20th of June with the day-time workshops which happened at different locations within Sarawak Cultural Village. Workshop is the real gem of the festival and it is not to be missed by all visitors. That is where all the fun begins as it offers interactive cultural learning experience. For the first slot I went to Pluck, Strummed and Stringed workshop which took place at the Iban Longhouse. Each performer from different countries brought forth the uniqueness in melody and techniques produced by their stringed instruments. Performers who were involved in this workshop were Martin Coumbe (Blackbeard's Tea Party), Nobuto Yamanaka (Ryuz), Emmanuelle Licci (Canzioniere Grecanico Salentino), Kamaruzaman Bin Bahari (Yayasan Warisan Johore), Randy Walter (Nading Rhapsody), Wei Ya Yi (Ding Yi Music Company), Peter Cann & Thomas Webb (Gordie Mackeeman & His Rhythm Boys) and Traore Abdoulaye (Debademba).

However, I did not spend the entire time at the Iban Longhouse. Before the first slot ended, I arrived at Dewan Lagenda just in time to watch some participants learning how to do the Joget and the Ronggeng. The instructor for the Mari Menari workshop was Zamzuriah binti Zahari with the assistance from musicians and dancers of Geng Wak Long, Yayasan Warisan Johore and Gema Seribu. 

The second slot workshop at Dewan Lagenda was probably the one that most people looked forward to, you could judge it from the huge crowd that gathered at this hall. The Big and Round workshop showcased frame drums from all over the world. For your information these performers had never played drums together. Although they came from different countries but they somehow found a way to work the magic and able to play their own drums in unison. This was possible under the spontaneous guidance by one of the Geng Wak Long members, he was a natural indeed. Groups which performed at this workshop were Lo Cor De La Plana, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, Jamie Smith's Mabon, Geng Wak Long, Yayasan Warisan Johore and Kalakan. Undeniably it was an interesting workshop, everyone was clapping and moving his or her body to the drum beats.  

I never got to attend the workshop at Malay House as it was a full house. So, for the third slot I went to watch a performance at Theatre Stage SCV Auditorium. It featured Horomona Horo from New Zealand. Horomona Horo is a composer, practitioner and cross genre collaborator who has fused the traditional instruments of the Maori, Taongapuoro (singing treasures), within a diverse range of cultural and musical forms. Each instrument has a specific use within rites of passage, storytelling and daily life of the Maori people. Though this was my first encounter of the Maori people, but I could feel the immediate connection with the culture. Perhaps it was due to the native tattoos and Haka dance which reminded me of my own Iban heritage. The Iban tattoos looked almost similar to the Maori's and the Haka dance was as intimidating as the Iban warrior's dance too. I could not help but wondering if our ancestors were somehow related. 

Surely there was no better way to end the workshop but to join the RWMF Community Drum Circle which began at 5pm. It was a wonderful celebration of rhythms and spontaneous interactive creation of music through drum and percussion instruments. Everyone was invited to join to create a musical experience where young and old alike could learn and play together. It was indeed a stress buster, a great way to meet like-minded people and an opportunity to reconnect with our inner rhythm. As Sam announced to the crowd, no drumming experience was needed! Everyone could drum with over a hundred instruments provided by I had a little conversation with Sam (facilitator) and I was informed that he bought all the percussions and drums himself and every session was assisted by his two friends. The RWMF Community Drum Circle was definitely a big hit at RWMF 2014. Everyone had a chance to hone their drumming skills as the Drum Circle was held every evening for three days in front of the Jungle Stage. 

For more photos on RWMF 2014 Day 1, you may have a look at them at

Friday, 18 July 2014


As the Prime Minister says, "This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year, for Malaysia." Another MAS Airlines tragedy has shocked the world even before the MH370 mystery could be solved. These tragedies are only months apart. MH17 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. As a person of faith, I find this hard to digest or comprehend. Why must this happen? Is there any blessing in disguise especially at the time when our country is divided due to some political issues? The thought of our national carrier being downed certainly never occurred in our minds and it was definitely far from our wildest imagination. However, on the 17th of July 2014 the ill-fated airplane was believed being shot down over Ukraine by Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile system killing all 298 onboard of MH17. We hardly get over the MH370 tragedy that went missing on the 8th of March and now we have to deal with another blow. I feel sad and sorry for those who have lost their loved ones. The only thing I could do now is offering prayers for the lost souls and those they left behind. As we all know there were some Sarawakians onboard too. Besides, there were some researchers and experts travelling to an international AIDS conference in Melbourne which due to begin on the 19th of July. This is truly a great loss to the world as they could be a group of people who one day can save millions of lives on earth from HIV and AIDS. This is the time we should be united in grief, pray for our country and for the world. Instead of playing the blame game, it is better for world leaders to sit down and talk about finding solution to end all political conflicts on this planet. There is nothing else worth fighting for other than peace on earth. Which is more important to you dear world leaders, losing or saving life? Last but not least, Russia, Ukraine and Ukraine separatists, have respect for the dead and their families. Return them to where they belonged. We should not even be part of your geopolitical problem at all. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Rainforest World Music Festival 2014 (Day 2 Night Concert)

These are some photos I took during Day 2 Night Concert at RWMF 2014. I also added some short videos of the concert in this article. More photos can be viewed at

Rainforest World Music Festival 2014 (Day 1 Night Concert)

These are some photos I took during Day 1 Night Concert at RWMF 2014. I also added a short video of the concert at the end of this article. More photos can be viewed at