Drum and dance dominate first night of RWMF 2016
By Patricia Hului
The first night of Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 19th edition went off with a bang last night (Aug 6) as the crowd danced away to the music against the lush Mount Santubong landscape.
Seven groups rocked the jungle and tree stages of Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) including Sape Sarawak, Naygayiw Gigi Dance Troupe (Australia), Unique Art Academy (Negeri Sembilan), Teada (Ireland), Dol Arastra Bengkulu (Indonesia), Krar Collective (Ethiopia) and Auli (Latvia).
The audience was entertained by different types of dances throughout the night.
Naygayiw Gigi Dance Troupe from Australia showcased their traditional dance from the Bamaga and Siesiasaibailgal cultures.
Although they are from the Australian continent, they share the same Melanesian culture with the people of Papua New Guinea.
Their dance told traditional and contemporary stories, customs and daily life through movement, song and props.
Meanwhile, Malaysian performers Unique Art Academy (Negeri Sembilan) gave the audience a taste of an entrancing dance that hails from the villages of Tamil Nadu in southern India where they dance as they play their instruments.
Traditional Irish band, Teada brought the house to their feet with their instruments – the fiddle, button accordion, flutes, guitar and bodhran (Irish frame drum) as they led the audience into a step-dancing routine they taught during the daytime workshop.
It was a sight to remember seeing foreign tourists and locals alike dancing to the tunes of Irish in the land of Borneo.
Teada’s bodhran player Tristan Rosenstock pointed out that as this year Ireland was celebrating its 100th year of independence from British rule, they played ‘Freedom for Ireland’.
Dol Arastra Bengkulu from the west coast of Sumatera Indonesia was the band that delivered the beat to remember for the night.
They played percussion instruments of different sizes, ranging from 70 to 100 cm non-stop, wowing the audience with their energy and drumming skills.
The group drew their musical influence from ‘percusi dol’ which is part of Tabot, an ancient ritual of the Muslim community at Bengkulu city.
Auli, a ten-member group from Latvia, wrapped the night up with folklore and medieval music from all over Europe as they entertained the audience with the sounds of bagpipes and drums.
According to the group, the tradition of playing bagpipes and drums was rare in their country but the instruments were often mentioned in Latvian folklore.
Their performance proved that bagpipes were not only meant for marching bands but could be definitely entertaining and enchanting.
RWMF has been voted as one of the top 25 World Music Festivals by Songlines Magazine for the sixth year in a row.
The event is supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MTAC) and endorsed by Tourism Malaysia with Malaysia Airlines Berhad as the presenting sponsor.