Wednesday, 16 October 2013

WAG Music Festival 2013

"Yeah, let's swag the WAG!" I told a close friend as we entered the BCCK hall (Borneo Convention Centre Kuching). We were excited to be here for the music as well as supporting a good cause. The abbreviation of WAG stands for World Animal Groove, not World Animal Gathering. The annual event was organised by SSPCA (Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). This time it was the second edition and it has finally become an official event in Sarawak Tourism Board calendar. Tickets were sold at RM60 (adult) and RM30 (child). The donation will proceed to fund the good cause that is carried out by SSPCA. For more information about SSPCA, do visit their page at Facebook. 

This year's performers line-up were GAMELAN (SMK Matang Jaya), Avijit Ghosh and friend (India), Gabriel F. Louis (Iban singer), Bibi Kpoh (KL), Nading Rhapsody (Sarawak) and the Bottle Boys (Denmark). I have seen the GAMELAN performed last year at the #twtupkch. They never failed to impress me each time they performed on stage. Apart from playing fusion music which consisted of traditional instrument such as Gamelan and the modern ones, they also brought together their four best singers to wow us with both oldies and current hits. Another familiar performer at WAG Music Festival was Gabriel Fairuz Louis, who is a local Dayak singer.

The music festival kicked off with a performance by GAMELAN. The ensemble comprised of students from Matang Jaya Secondary School age 12 to 18. 

Next, we experienced the authentic classical Indian music performed by Dr. Avijit Ghosh and his friend, Arindam Chakravarty. They both were playing the Sarod (string) and Tabla (percussion). We were informed that Dr. Avijit Ghosh ever performed at Rainforest World Music Festival in 2002. 

The emcees for the event. There were giving out prizes for the lucky draw. 

Gabriel Fairuz Louis 

The event was indeed unique in its own way as we were not only entertained by singers and musicians, but also beguiled by a comedian based in Kuala Lumpur. She managed to make us laughed out loud with her raunchy and spontaneous jokes. Bibi Kpoh was invited to this event for the second time upon popular demand. I have not laughed so loud for a long time, so here I was with my friend laughing hysterically at whatever funny thing she said like it was nobody's business! 

Nading Rhapsody is a local avant-garde Borneo ethnic music band. Their performance was definitely one of those I looked forward to. The band consists of Boy Kevin (bassist/composer), Rawa (lead/acoustic guitar), Nigg (Sape'), Gai Ritchie (tribal percussion), Yen (Djembe/cajon), Roy (vocalist/lyricist), Chris (vocalist/ruding) and Opah (vocalist/chanter). Nading Rhapsody had performed at Rainforest World Music Festival in 2012. Their music is both eclectic and swanky, something I have never heard of in the Dayak music industry. They are indeed unique and distinctive in terms of genre, which is a fusion of both ethnic and modern music. In other words, unique tribal music. If we listened carefully, each song is related to a Sarawak ethnic folklore. For instance, folklores among the Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Melayu Sarawak and Orang Ulu. Their music was not just for easy listening at the festival but something that could get your groove on! I saw some of us on the floor were dancing and clapping to their music. Nading Rhapsody consisted of eight young members from different ethnic groups in Sarawak. Therefore, it came as no surprise their music resembled the origins and roots of each band member. The ethnic elements noticeable in their songs were folk songs, ritual chanting, lullabies, myths and folklores of various Sarawak ethnic groups. Judging from their ethnic avant-garde fashion and music arrangement, I would have no objection of the band being branded as part of the world music community. 

Lastly, we had the Bottle Boys from Denmark to entertain us with their very innovative and special musical instruments, the bottles. Yes, mainly beer bottles. The band members were Christopher Bog├ír, Philipp Brodersen, Johannes Ettrup, Kaspar Frederiksen and Martin Handberg. The band has covered many popular songs which can be watched on the Bottle Boys' Youtube channel. These boys sure knew how to get the party started at BCCK by playing some techno hits. Apparently we all grew up listening to the same kind of music although we lived on different continents on this earth. I guess what really shot them to the stardom was their audition for Britain's Got Talent in early 2013. It was ridiculous for Simon Cowell to say "NO" to these guys! While performing on WAG Music Festival stage, they were prone to make us forget the existence of One Direction, haha! They might be slightly older than 1D, but we could not deny they were adorable too. Hopefully we will get to see them again one day at WAG Music Festival. This is the special thing about WAGMF, unlike the Rainforest World Music Festival, Borneo Jazz Festival or Asia Music Festival. The other three music festivals are either music genre specific or region specific. Hence, I am hoping SSPCA will keep lighting up the WAGMF torch so that we could experience various music genres from around globe which other local music festivals do not offer. 

Poker Face cover

A video they made during their stay in Kuching 

Photo credits to Avijit Ghosh

 Crowds who were obviously enjoying the music festival by singing, dancing and mingling.