Monday, August 08, 2016

Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival 2016: Ethnic music resonates through the rainforest despite the rain

KUCHING: It was raining when the night performances for the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2016 started on Saturday, but it did not stop those present from swaying and partying away to the music.

First to perform was Sarawak’s very own sape players Matthew Ngau Jau and Alena Murang. After the soothing tunes of their sapes faded into the rainforest, the Stelios Petrakis Cretan Quartet from Greece took over with equally alluring tunes.

The night’s momentum picked up when Naygayiw Gigi Dance Troupe from Australia took over the stage. Naygayiw Gigi, which means Northen Thunder, hails from Bamaga, the northernmost town in Queensland.

Before starting their act, the dance troupe paid their respects to the indigenous people of Borneo with a dance routine, and the crowd responded with thunderous applause.

The dance troupe mesmerised those present with their fascinating costumes and enthralling dance movements. Every gyration seemed like they were telling stories of their journeys and livelihoods.

Next in line was something a little closer to home — the Band Girls from Sabah Cultural Board. Multi-talented and charming, the girls gave an alluring performance as they took the crowd on a musical journey through traditional music.

They used traditional musical instruments when introducing the dances of ethnic groups from Sabah, such as the Kadazan-Dusuns from Papar, the Bajaus from Semporna, Timurs from Tawau, and Muruts from Tenom.