Saturday, June 25, 2011

Agung Beat to represent Sabah at Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival

One of Malaysia's two representatives performing at the 2011 Rainforest World Music Festival in the Malaysian state of Sabah is Agung Beat, a nineteen-member gamelan ensemble covering new arrangements of traditional Sabahan music, as well as their own contemporary compositions.

Led by composer and lecturer, Roslee Haji Wahid, the ensemble's members are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds that include Kadazan, Dusun, Chinese and Malay, all majoring in music performance at University Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

Agung Beat actively performs in numerous festivals and events in the region such as the Festival Gamelan IPTA, and the Festival Gamelan Sedunia. This is the first performance of gamelan at the Rainforest World Music Festival.

The gamelan is an ensemble of metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs native to Malaysia and Indonesia. Each region has its own particular style and repertoire, with gamelan ensembles ranging in size from five or six persons to more than two-dozen performers. Depending on the region, style, and function, gamelan music can range from trance inducing floating melodies, to fiery displays of virtuosity.

Agung Beat is scheduled to heat up the Rainforest World Music Festival stage by being the first performing act on the first night (July 8). Agung Beat will also perform at the daily Musical Workshop at Dewan Lagenda within the festival site and will involve drummers and dancers. This unique 'Drum Dance' session will comprise a mix of musical performances by musicians from Canada, Georgia, Kenya, UK and USA.

The Rainforest World Music Festival has been voted for the second consecutive year as one of the 'Top 25 Best International Festivals' by renowned world music magazine, Songlines, elevating its status in the international music scene as a festival, which has well and truly put Sarawak on the world tourism map and extends its appeal to the shores of neighbouring countries.

Special promotional tickets are currently on offer at the Sarawak Tourism Board's Visitors Information Centres (VIC) in Kuching (082-410944) located at the Sarawak Tourism Complex, Sibu (084-340980) located at Jalan Tukang Besi and Miri (085-434180) located at Jalan Melayu. A three-day ticket will cost RM180 and is only valid between June 20 and 26. The ticket price will return to its original RM300 price once the promotional period is over.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

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