Drum and dance dominate first night of RWMF 2016

By Patricia Hului
@pattbpseeds
[email protected]

Alena Murang, one of the 17 sape players that made up Sape Sarawak which was part of last night's musical line-up.

Alena Murang, one of the 17 sape players that made up Sape Sarawak. -Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

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.

Dancer from Naygayiw Gigi Dance Troupe (Australia).

Dancer from Naygayiw Gigi Dance Troupe (Australia). -Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi.

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.

Performers from Unique Art Academy (Negeri Sembilan) dancing and playing music in the same time.

Performers from Unique Art Academy (Negeri Sembilan) dancing and playing music in the same time.-Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi.

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.

Oisin Mac Diarmada from Teada (Ireland).

Oisin Mac Diarmada from Teada (Ireland).-Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

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.

Percussionists from Dol Arastra Bengkulu (West Coast of Sumatera Indonesia).

Percussionists from Dol Arastra Bengkulu (West Coast of Sumatera Indonesia).

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.

Bagpipe music by Auli (Latvia) ended the first night of RWMF.

Bagpipe music by Auli (Latvia) ended the first night of RWMF.

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.

The first night of RWMF 2016 started with a miring ceremony.

The first night of RWMF 2016 started with a miring ceremony.

Krar Collective performer playing East African lyre.

Krar Collective performer playing East African lyre.

RWMF audience clapping and dancing away the night.

RWMF audience clapping and dancing away the night.-Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

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