Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Rainforest World Music Festival 2013: A Fine Gem

Based on Day 1 experience, I understood workshops would begin on time. So, I drove as early as 10.30 a.m. from home and reached One Hotel Santubong about an hour later. I was quite worried there would be traffic congestion because I pretty much disliked being late. From OHS my fellow blogger friends and I took a shuttle bus to Damai Beach Resort to collect our daily passes or wristbands. We were not allowed to park anywhere else except OHS compound to ease the traffic congestion that very likely to occur especially on weekend. The shuttle service was frequent and public had to pay RM5.00 per person for one way trip. 

Looking at the workshop schedule, I decided to attend all three workshops at Lagenda Hall from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. As expected, more visitors came to RWMF on Saturday. So, it was not a surprised to see the hall filled with people in no time. The first slot was reserved for Irish dance or Call of the CĂ©ili. Our dance instructor for the day was Mr. Rossa O'Snodaigh of KILA. He started off with throwing light upon the history of Irish dance which said to be continuously evolving. He also mentioned that this dance would be a very good workout. Well, it always seemed easy because we were the audience but not till you tried the Irish dance yourself! Believe me, it was like running fast on a treadmill for at least half an hour. Realising my lack of stamina and still healing from a torn ACL did not hinder me from having fun with complete strangers. The unique thing about RWMF's workshops was you can grab anyone nearby to be you partner provided he or she did not have one too. For a moment people forgot about their nationalities and differences by immersing in the pure joy which emanated from dancing. The funny part was when Rossa pointed out instead of doing it like the Irish folks, we were dancing like the 'Orang Utan'! I guess he was troubled by the sight of us not getting the dance steps right. In the end, we were asked to do the Gangnam Style and Orang Utan Style. Ha-ha. What mattered more in the midst of chaos was to enjoy the Irish music and dance. 

The second slot was handed over to members of Korean Performing Arts, Palsandae. Their leader, Mr. Kim Woon Tae, could not join us as he was sick. However, the show must go on. During the Pangut Fever workshop, we got to see the traditional farmers' dance as well as the traditional mask dance. The first dance was energetic which featured shamanistic influence and acrobatic manoeuvre. It also accompanied by Korean traditional music instruments such as gong, flute and double-headed hourglass-shaped drum played with one stick and one hand. Performers were most of the time dancing in circle. This dance was performed during planting, harvesting and on other agricultural events. It was to lift the spirit of farmers and provide them with working beat. The purpose of traditional mask dance was to ward off the evil spirit that may bring misfortune. It was believed to protect their properties, purify the village and to give thanks to the river and mountain spirits. 

Perhaps the much awaited workshop for Day 2 was The Art of War. It showcased the Australians and the Africans challenge each other to a war dance duel. The Ibuyambo Ensemble (Africa) versus Nunukul Yuggera (Australia). I was told by fellow blogger friends this kind of workshop never been held. So, it was a new experience for those who came to the RWMF this year. As the battle was featuring two different tribes from two different continents, I was expecting a fierce dance off. And guess what, I was right! The hall was packed with spectators and not much space for everyone to move around. Even the stage was fully occupied. The battle was refereed by performers of RWMF. They were Soren Lund (HABADEKUK), Thomas David (PINE LEAF BOYS), Ivan Levacic & Konrad Lovrencic (KRIES) and Edgar Arboleda Campos (REY VALLENATO BETO JAMAICA). The field referee post was assigned to Thomas David. The dance battle reached its climax when some spectators had to choose side to back up either the Australians or Africans. Of course the booty shaking Africans could make more noise because their advantage was having the drums choreographing their dance moves, which also heighten the competitive mood among their supporters and fellow opponents. On the other hand, the Australians had their spears and supporters chanting to their war cry. While recording the process, my mind slipped into the thought of how our weights and the hubbub could potentially get the hall fall off its stilts! Finally, referees announced both tribes won and the civilians lost! Ha-ha. No big deal, we had so much fun, didn't we? I personally would love if this tradition of dance duel can be carried on. May be next time we can get our local Dayak warriors meet the Maori people at the same hall for the battle? Where will we place our bets? 

I could not see what was going on in the middle.

The second day workshops ended with no civilian hurt. The crowd was indeed amazing. I stayed for the evening concert as I missed it the previous night. 

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