July 26, 2007
Rainforest World Music Festival 2007
I recently returned from a wonderful weekend at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2007, in Kuching, Sarawak. It was a wonderful affair, particularly because this year happened to be its 10th year anniversary as well. I have been wanting to visit their cultural village and Festival for many years now, and finally got myself there.
It was a fantastic amalgamation of cultures and languages, both from the stage and its audience. I had Australian friends telling me that they never have these kinds of performances in Australia, where such a wide range of music can be feasted upon. Indeed, we had artistes from Afghanistan, Scotland, Vietnam and of course Malaysia. Highlights for me were the massive crowd moving together in love for music, celebrating their passion for music and life, yet differentiated enough in their backgrounds and cultures.
What I liked about the Festival was that it was exotic in nature, right in the very heart of the Rainforest. The stage couched within the forest itself, backdrop no fancy schmancy stuff but with nature’s pure raw energy that drives you to feeling whole. The cultural village also offers a glimpse into the indigenous Sarawakian world, where each home is labelled and furnished appropriately with its respective cultural heritages – Rumah Melanau, Melayu, Kelabit, Dayak and so on. I played on their guitar – equivalent (not quite the same), and played the bamboo stick game. Fun.
The final night was amazing personally because I had an extra mini concert, having followed my friend back to the hotel in which most of the musicians stayed. By the pool, all musicians whipped out their respective instruments and played the night away as if there was no tomorrow. They came together, colour and language aside, just with their guitars, double bass, banjo, percussion instruments, and made music all night long. Till the sky turned a shade of light blue and grey. And then I went to bed.
Here’s to June 11-13th Festival next year, 2008! All you people who have been wanting to go but never made it, please I implore you – go for it! It’s an experience not to be missed. Only in Sarawak. (The Sarawak Tourism Board better be paying me. But then again, do I want Taib’s money? I don’t think so.)