A final night to remember
THE 17th EDITION OF Sarawak’s most celebrated music festival, the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2014 ended successfully with memorable performances of Kelantanese Malay traditional music, French Meditteranean sounds, the beatings of Sarawak bedok (drums), Canadian old-time roots music and Tanzanian sounds, at the Sarawak Cultural Village on June 22.
The concert started at 8pm and the first band to performed that night was Geng Wak Long, a band from Kelantan bringing elements of the state’s traditional art forms including the Shadow Play (Kelantan leather puppet theatre), Dikir Barat, Kelantanese Silat, Makyung, and Tari Inai, all blended into a music of its own.
Geng Wak Long is made up of six family members originating from Kelantan and this is their first time performing for RWMF.
It has been an exciting experience for them to introduce and share their music which has been passed down through their generations with other parts of the world, said founder Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin.
The band from France, Lo Cor de la Plana, a polyphonic vocal ensemble made up of five percussionists, Manu Theron (leader), Benjamin Novarino-Giana, Denis Sampieri, Rodin Kaufmann and Sebastian Spessa, brought music incorporating French cultural elements from Pierre Schaeffer to the Ramones, from Bartok to The Velvet Underground which brought an element of uniqueness that could relate to the universal hearts of the audience.
Their acapella singing with their powerful voices caught the attention of the crowd and got the revellers holding hands and jumping around the field to the beats of Lo Cor de la Plana’s music.
Gema Seribu, a local Sarawakian band, was the third band on stage. Comprising dance and music apprentices from the National Dual Training System, Department of Skill Development at Sarawak Cultural Village, the band did their own renditions of ‘Puteri Santubong’ together with some ethnic folk songs from Sarawak accompanied by bedok and Zapin Bedok dancing.
From Prince Edward Island, Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys, a Canadian band made up of vocalist Gordie MacKeeman, guitarist Peter Cann, and multi-instrumentalists Thomas Webb and Mark Geddes was the fourth band to perform.
This band was recently named the ‘Best Discovery Band’ at the 2012 East Coast Music Awards, which is no wonder since their great musical skill, love for music and spectacular showmanship pleased the hearts of those who listened and indulged in their performances.
Last but not least, to perform the finale of RWMF2014 was a band from the streets of Dar Es Salaam called Jagwa Music.
Jagwa Music is made up of eight members; a keyboard player, dancers and vocalists, and they are the leading exponent of the Mchiriku style that originated in the poor suburbs of Dar es Salaam when cheap Casio keyboards became available, drawing the attention of bands who were playing Chakacha dance music.
Mchiriku is the gritty, edgy, distortion-laden sound produced by hooking up the Casio keyboard to vintage amps and megaphones. Although it has been deliberately ignored by the masses in Tanzania due to its association with thuggery and the city’s low life, the Mchiriku has been thriving.
The three-day festival finale saw 22 bands gathered together on stage to bid farewell to the audience and close the festival.
RWMF has been a tremendous success this year reflecting the well-prepared organisation of the Sarawak Tourism Board with the continuous support from the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak and the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia on the accomplishment of the festival.