One of the main highlights of the Rainforest World Music Festival is of course the great workshops it had to offer. Sure, the music was great. But my favourite part from the RWMF was hands down the afternoon workshops; as it allows the audience to engage with the performers, and learn a few things or two. In fact it’s what sets the festival apart from the rest, so be sure to spend your afternoons at the festival!
RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL 2014 WORKSHOPS
Strategically held within the various locations in the Sarawak Cultural Village, each workshop was filled with great fun and interactive activities led by the festival performers themselves. Whether it’s situated within the Iban Longhouse, the Malay house or the Lagenda Hall, the workshop brings forth different elements where you can sit, watch and participate as the performers do their magic.
My favourites were of course the percussion workshops. There’s nothing more entrancing than watching these people do what they know best, with the different beats of their respective origins and blends of musical melting pot.
The frame drums were one of the best percussion workshop I’ve ever attended throughout the years I went for the festival – despite the tendency of the frame drums looking oddly like tambourines. Lo Cor de la Plana (France) with their bendirs and Kalakan (Spain) with their pandereta were the ones that stood out from the rest – the magical beats they portrayed with the works of their fingers and their frame drums was truly exceptional.
Kalakan from Spain also brought forth the txalaparta ; a specialized wooden musical instrument originating from Basque. What was one used to make cider from pressed apples, the same board was used to summon neighbors and played for celebration.
And of course, there were loads of dancing involved as well! Being a dancer myself it was fun to explore the different culture of the dances. Canadian Gordie Mckeeman & His Rhythm Boys brought tap dancing into the plate and watching him work them crazy legs (and me trying to catch up) was real fun and work of sweat.
Adding on to the lists of workshop was the string instruments, vocals and many more I didn’t get to attend as these workshop was held concurrently throughout the festival, but each year the festival brought different workshop all together so it’s wise to plan through which workshop you would like to attend to nab good seats.
THE DRUM CIRCLE
Held right after the workshops, was the latest addition of the Rainforest World Music Festival. The Drum Circle is an interactive drum percussion portal where it allows festival go-ers, families and kids alike to experience on various percussion instruments provided.
The percussion were fairly simple and you don’t need to be a pro to participate. Heck, you’ll even find little kids clanging alone to the beats and it was real fun trying to go along with the samba, drumline and the African beats when you know shits about drumming 😉
Of course, I spent the whole session clanging along nonsense while trying to stick to beat and the facilitator’s conduct but it was all pure fun 🙂
AROUND THE FESTIVAL GROUND
The best part about the festival was indeed meeting new people around the world, and I was blessed enough to met these two beautiful ladies from Austria and the Philippines! We met back at the hostel and commute to the festival together, and I ended up spending a lot of time with these ladies when I was supposed to go round doing media work.
The festival itself also offers a whole array of neat stuffs ranging from the World Craft Bazaar, to the interactive cultural houses, stalls and the Food Mart – and there’s really nothing short to do as you kill time between the workshop and main stage event later at night.
The food this year however was plainly disappointing. There were very little food choices and my vegetarian friend had a really tough time. Another vegan friend had to travel back to the city centre just to grab a bite, which is unfortunate in my opinion.
Despite all that, the Kolok Mee and the Sarawak Laksa was exceptional. Throughout the 3 days festival all I had was the Laksa plus an occasional serving of ice cream and good fries. Perhaps next year, try a little bit better? (and more vegan and vegetarian choices please! #constructivecriticism haha!)
I had an exceptionally good time throughout the festival that I wish I could relish it all over again. And the festival doesn’t stop all there yet as the night falls, that’s when all the music came to life and the magic happens.
Till next time!