While the days were spent with extensive dancing and workshops, as the night falls that’s when all the magic happened. The musician lineup this year was truly exceptional. I really did had the best of time – basking myself in musical ecstasy, surrounded by the good company and good vibes. Compared to the past years I must say this year was one of the best – the lineups were just perfect.
And for someone who’s completely awestruck by the diversity of the different cultures around the world, the Rainforest World Music Festival really did served as a getaway ; on meeting various new people, new music and new interests that unites us all one way or another.
THE RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL 2014 MUSICAL EXCURSION
INTRODUCING THE WORLD THEATER STAGE!
Aside from the communal Drum Circle that took place in between the workshops and the main stage event, the Rainforest World Music Festival also introduced a new stage this year – the Theater Stage. Held at the infamous Theatre Hall in the Sarawak Cultural Village, this new RWMF stage offers a fresh new experience among festival go-ers, in which the performer gets to interact much more personally with the audience. Imagine a small enclosed stage with a limited amount of audience, and there you have it – a RWMF Theatre Stage.
I had the pleasure of meeting Horomona Horu (New Zealand) during the media launch and this guy is full of surprises! Not only he’s covered in kickass Maori tattoos, this Maori musician and composer also plays a mean taonga puoro and the Haka dance!
The only downside of the Theater Stage (aside from it’s limited audience capacity) was for the fact that it’s held concurrently with all the other workshops in the afternoon, and naturally I chose the workshops more. Had it been in a different time slot I might have dropped by a little more frequent than I did throughout the festival.
DAY 1 LINEUP
Like most festivals, the main event was definitely the nightly performance – and the first night was the one that stood out the most with their line up of musicians.
From the amazing percussion and hot vocals of Kalakan (Spain) to the Cuban beats of Son Yambu, to Karinthalakoottam of South India and Blackbeard’s Tea Party of England – it was a continuous string of awesome beats, contemporary music and hot percussion that made it a hell of one night.
There were a lot of dancing involved too – I was already grooving to Kalakan and when Son Yambu came on stage with their hot samba beats, it was mad, mad, mad samba partyyy! The crowd just went wild and it was one hell of an hour performance on Cuban beats and dancing alone.
Karinthalakoottam of South India was exceptional as well with their intense South Indian beats, flavoring the festival with their bombastic Malayali essence. The festival was Karinthalakoottam’s first ever performance in an international music festival, and they were obviously the crowd’s favorite (mine included). Although their genre generally hinges on ritualistic songs and hymns, Karinthalakoottam’s really did portray Kerala’s rich and diverse folk culture, and it was such a blessing to be able to watch these guys performing on stage.
And who knew the melodeon can be so cool? This British folk rock band totally rocked it with their Pirates of the Carribean-ish vibes and energy-packed performance, making the Blackbeard’s Tea Party a great ending to Night 1 of the Rainforest World Music Festival.
LINE UP DAY 2
The second night of the festival was a fresh twist of lineup, this time with the presence of the Dakha Brakha (Ukraine), followed by the colorful Zapin dance performance of the Yayasan Warisan Johor Zapin Group (Malaysia), Jamie Smith’s Mabon (Wales), Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (Italy), Nading Rhapsody (Sarawak), and Debademba (Mali/Burkina Faso/Fance).
Dakha Brakha (Ukraine) was just, mesmerizing. Out of all the performers this year they were my ultimate favorite, in fact I’ve never had that much chills and goosebumps as when these ladies hit the stage (and a man who somehow stayed behind the spotlight). Decked in bridal dresses and hats made from black-lamb fleeces, Dakha Brakha’s vibe is nothing if not revolutionary. The artistic template of a hauntingly rhythmic and melodic sound, Dakha Brakha was the epitome of a story telling deeply rooted into
the Ukrainian culture.
And despite all that these, Dakha Brakha is one remarkable quartet. While their homeland experiences such turmoil from war, thoughts can never be far from Ukraine as they strive to share their music, culture and roots to every depth of the world.
The second night of the Rainforest World Music Festival was always the crowd puller, bringing in more visitors compared to the first and the third night of the festival and this year was no exception. The night ends with a bang after Debademba (Mali/Burkina Faso/France), an energetic duo with their flair of fusion between both Africa and France.
LINE UP DAY 3
Night 3 of the festival was of course, a mix of bittersweet and excitement towards the grand finale and the ending of the 3-day festival. You’ll see past performers roaming around the ground site mingling with fans and music enthusiasts, fellow visitors reminiscing their best festival moments, and everyone else preparing to say goodbye, for every good things shall come to an end.
The final stage of Night 3 was concluded by Malaysia’s own Geng Wak Long, followed by the memorable performance of Lo Cor de la Plana (France), Gema Seribu (Sarawak), Gordie Mckeeman and the Rhythm Boys (Canada), and Jagwa Music (Tanzania).
And indeed for every night of the festival there will always be one favorite, and Lo Cor de la Plana (France) really did stole the show that night. Armed with mesmerizing polyphonic sound that reflects the eclectic culture of its hometown, the six-man vocal ensemble from France sings tight, high-energy vocals in the disappearing language of Occitan – the language of Medieval troubadours and it was simply kickass, high energy performance and these guys really know how to get the crowd going!
The night follows with more performance from Gordie Mckeeman and the Rhythm Boys (Canada), and Jagwa Music (Africa Tanzania), each bringing their own flair of rhythm to the crowd. Jagwa Music brought forth the ‘Mchiriku-Style’, a leading exponent originated from the poor suburb of Dar es Salaam and it was something really different. I would personally call it a jumble-of keys-all-mess-up-but-somehow-work, while others would term it as “Afro Punk”.
And the grand finale was one hell of a kind, with all the performers going on stage, each doing their own thing and ending the night with a massive bang concluding the Rainforest World Music Festival for this year.
BEFORE THE END
I really did had an awesome time this year, and the three day festival felt like an ongoing balls of happiness. Notable performers this year were definitely Kalakan (Spain), Dakha Brakha (Ukraine) and Lo Cor de la Plana (France) and it’s been such an amazing musical journey I was so sad when the day ended.
And it was all thanks to the generosity of the Sarawak Tourism Board and Sarawak Bloggers for the opportunities, which I’ll continue my profound gratitude for selecting me to be part of the media team this year.
It was also a blessing to be able to work with an awesome team this year, and to be able to meet and greet the rest of the bloggers who once was an internet comrades – thank you for the amazing memories, laughs and silly jokes. Though I wasn’t in the picture above as both Aliey and I were busy partying in the crowd, nevertheless it’s such fun to be able to meet you guys 🙂
Quick list of my fellow comrades, feel free to stalk them below and read about their RWMF experience!
1. Lindy Sim – http://www.lindysim.com/
2. Ophelia John – http://ophephotography.blogspot.com/
3. Ana Jonessy – http://www.helloanajonessy.com/
4. Khairool Adzeelan – http://www.qwertyreflect.blogspot.com/
5. Garner Wyne – http://preciousmadphoto.wordpress.com/
6. Aliey – http://www.ntgravityzone.blogspot.com/
7. Veronica Law – http://www.veyroniqa.com/