Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival - When jungle beat meets folk songs

One of the four local bands which entertained the crowds

A foreign band at the show

Large crowds packed the venue

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Hj Ahmed Shaheeb and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd

By Hj Ahmed Shaheeb

More than 18,000 tickets to the three nightly concerts of the 11th Rainforest World Music Festival, which kicked off on July 11, 2008 at the Sarawak Cultural Village were snapped up well in advance.

Six delegates from Brunei Darussalam together with the writer, Rafidah Jumat from Media Permata, Rano Iskandar of, a popular social web site in the Sultanate, Luk Boon Hwa from Century Travel Centre Sdn Bhd, Chia Choi Nyuk Betty from Pan Bright Travel Service and Efarina Abang Haji Osman, Liaison Officer from TM Brunei were sent to the Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival 2008 on July 11-13, 2008 at the Sawarak Cultural Village in Santubong, a 45-minute drive from the state's capital, Kuching.

Organised by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and presented by Celcom, the award-winning festival is one of Malaysia's best known events. It is a unique festival that brings together on the same stage renowned world musicians from all continents and indigenous musicians from the interiors of Borneo.

Entering its 11th year, the Sarawak Rainforest Music Festival has evolved into a must-attend music festival. With 16 groups of local and foreign musicians performing this year, festival-goers can expect various genres of world beat ranging from celtic fusion, socca, folk, baul, fusion and traditional.

The festival site also had a variety of food and drink stalls, an arts and crafts area as well as a counter for festival memorabilia, Sarawak souvenirs and CDs by the performing artistes, all this contributing to a fun filled, wholesome festival experience.

The event had a country fair atmosphere in the midst of lush greenery.

The performers hailed from all corners of the world such as New Rope String Band (United Kingdom), Yakande (Gambia/Guinea), Pinikpikan (the Phillipines), Adel Salameh (Palestine), Ross Daly Quartet (Greece), Fadomorse (Portugal), Kasai Masai (Congo), Hiroshi Motofuji (Japan), Cholo Valderamma (Columbia), Oikyataan (India), Beltaine (Poland), Sheldon Blackman and the Love Circle (Trinidad and Tobago).

Malaysia was represented by four bands comprising Anak Jati Bisaya Orchestra, Kan'id, Senida and Tuku Kame. Senida and Tuku Kame are the resident bands and performers of the Sarawak Cultural Village.

The festival maintained its formula of afternoon informative workshops, ethno-musical lectures, jamming sessions and mini concerts, followed by evening perfomances on the main stage.

However, two fringe events - the Rainforest World Craft Bazaar (RWCB) 2008 and Folk Art Forum (FAF) - had been included to add more excitement to the festival.The RWCB was held on July 9-15, while the FAF was on July 9 and10.

Each daily ticket was priced at RM90 for an adult and RM45 for children aged between three and 12 years old. For a three-day pass, tickets were priced at $250 for an adult and RM100 for children aged between three and 12 years old. Tickets were made available online at and at the Visitor Information Centre in Kuching.

The Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival wass supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia and the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism, Sawarak. It is also the winner of the Heritage and Culture PATA Gold Awards 2006. Also attending the opening of the event's 11th edition was Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. His presence created history as he was the first prime minister to attend the festival.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

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