On the final day of the music festival, I only attended the Maori Songs, Dance and Movement workshop. It was a semi-interactive workshop on the Haka and other traditional movement and symbolism. Horomona Horo created a special lyric by blending in local culture to accompany the Haka dance. The lyric included words such as 'Santubong', 'Borneo', 'Kapuas' and 'Oh ha!'. The performer did explain why he incorporated local elements into the lyric, it was to honour the Maori and Dayak ancestors as they were related in some ways. He elaborated further there was similarity in terms language, specifically in the Iban and Maori Language. During the workshop, he also taught us how to do the hongi. A hongi is traditional Maori greeting in New Zealand. It is done by pressing one's nose and forehead to another person at an encounter. It serves the same purpose to a formal handshake in modern culture.
I also had the opportunity to mingle with the members of Nading Rhapsody right after the workshop. I was informed by Royston (leader) that the band will perform at JB Arts Festival 2014 on the 6-8th of September representing Sarawak. Their performance during the RWMF second night concert had a little surprise in stored for the festival-goers with a special appearance of Horomona Horo. I had seen Nading Rhapsody performed before and they never failed to impress me especially with their songs and costumes. Songs they sang that night were Munyi Kesulai Kesuling Lemai (Pantun Pembuka), Ngerintai Tuai (Pantun Besanggai), Sada Nading, Nimang Silimba, Gambong, Sabak Pulai and Umbas (Enough). What really caught our attention was the Sabak Pulai which was an adaptation from Pengawa Beserara Bungai or in other words the poem of lamentation for the dead. They did some changes to the lyric and the arrangement to suit their performance at RWMF. Moreover, what they really wanted to convey through Sabak Pulai was the expression of grievance for the passing of their relatives and ancestors so that their souls may rest in peace in batang mandai or heaven. Usually the Pengawa Beserara Bungai can only be carried out by the tukang sabak or a crier with broad knowledge of the rite, Nading Rhapsody however dared to give it a try at a world music stage with the intention of making it known not only to the younger generation, but also people around the world. I was once told by my Iban elders sabak was important to help build the stairway to heaven, our cries and tears would escort him or her to the other world peacefully therefore it should be continuous until the dead was buried. I used to feel awkward watching Iban women weeping endlessly while talking about the deceased like they were singing a very sad song, it made me wonder if this was necessary. Until I understood the purpose of such practice that I ceased to question if their crying was real. Sabak is not just to show we are deeply saddened by the passing, but it is also part of Iban's fading custom.
I wished I could stay for the grand finale concert and other workshops but that was not possible. Perhaps next year I should have a different plan. I was reluctant to leave Sarawak Cultural Village but no doubt I had an incredible time at the festival this year. See you all again on 7-9th August 2015. For more stories on Rainforest World Music Festival 2014, you may visit other Sarawak Bloggers' sites:
Ana Jonessy - http://www.helloanajonessy.com
Aliey Eyezie - http://ntgravityzone.blogspot.com
Alyssa Jaren - http://alyssajaren.wordpress.com
Lindy Sim - http://www.lindysim.com
Khairool Azelan - http://qwertyreflect.blogspot.com
Veyronica Law - http://www.veyroniqa.com
Garner Wyne - http://preciousmadphoto.wordpress.com
For more information on Nading Rhapsody, do visit their sites http://nadingrhapsody.com and https://www.facebook.com/NadingRhapsody .
Nading Rhapsody and friends
With Christ Sheldon (Nading Rhapsody) and Nicholas Mak (CLEO Most Eligible Bachelor 2013)
Thanks a lot Sarawak Tourism Board for the invitation!