The highly anticipated Rainforest World Music Festival 2013 had a successful run this year, filling the Sarawak Cultural Village with eye-opening workshops and exhilarating performances from June 28 to June 30.
The music festival puts the world global village into a literal sense. It’s a school for the global citizens who become students when they step into the village—the workshops are their classes, and the international performers teach and share their culture with glee: this year’s schedule saw a hall full of visitors being taught the ancient Irish, Scottish and South African dances as well as breathtaking demos of traditional musical instruments, and outbursts of folk songs being sung in harmony by strangers who have just met moments before. It was an experience saturated with an eagerness for cultural understanding and acceptance, a passport for traveling the globe without leaving the village.
In the evenings, music lovers were treated to a lineup of some of the world’s best performers: a showcase of hidden gems in the genre of traditional and folk music all on one stage. Highlights include the humbling showcase of Matthew Ngau from the local group Lan E Tuyang on the sape (traditional lute), who looked truly happy to be able to perform and share his music with the audience; the young, highly skilled dancers from Korea who hypnotised the crowd with their homeland’s nongak (farmer’s music) and displayed their mastery of the Chaesang Sogo dance; the entrancing Rafly Wa Saja from Aceh, featuring vocalist Rafly’s improvisational scatting that both surprised and impressed the audience; and the final closing act that was an explosion of joy for the dancing feet – Danish folk band Habadekuk gained immediate fans from the audience on their first trip to Asia as they played “made for dancing” tunes of folk, salsa and big band jazz from their debut album Hopsadaddy.
Organised by the Sarawak Tourism Board in partnership with Heineken, the sixteenth Rainforest World Music Festival is a celebration of nature, culture and tradition. Over the years the festival has become an important platform for the preservation and showcasing of world music and dance not only because of the scale of the event, but especially due to its attraction to the younger generation, putting fading culture back onto the map.