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Monday 9 June 2014

New for Rainforest World Music Festival 2014

Three new elements have been added to inject freshness into the festival. The Malay House will be used for the first time, giving the workshop there an intimate feel. It is limited, however, to fifty persons for health and safety reasons. In the comfort of the Theatre, two daily chamber-styled concerts will be presented instead. To keep the festival mood going by another hour, there will be the RWMF COMMUNITY DRUM CIRCLE conducted by 1DRUM.ORG. Beat your socks off from 5.00 – 6.00 pm daily in front of the Jungle stage. (see pic)

The other two workshop venues remain at Dewan Lagenda and Iban Longhouse respectively.

Lighting check at the Jungle Stage of the Rainforest World Music Festival

And of course, there will be another exciting lineup of performers for 2014. Here are the twenty two of them.

English folk song is usually about loneliness, death and misery.

However, this young group of six young, brash and innovative musicians have taken the traditional songs of England and layered it with tongue-in-cheek rock-based energy and dance grooves. The lyrics are, in true British tradition, dead-pan witty and shameless.

They were voted best live band in the UK at the 2011 FATEA Awards and will be Friday night’s closing act at the festival.

Tarantella music from Southern Italy is compelling, irresistible and passionate.

This band brings the frenzy of pizzica tarantata with their heart vibrating tamburello or frame drums, beautiful songs like only the Italians can do, and a beautiful fiery dancer.

They were voted best Italian World Music band at Babel Med Music 2011, GlobalFEST 2012, Womex 2012, SXSW 2013 and WOMAD 2013.

DAKHA BRAKHA   (Ukraine)
This stunningly visual quartet of brings the soundscape of mysterious Ukrainian folk melodies, witchy voices, compelling percussion and a mix of old and new sounds. Their laments are dark and trance like, and then they explode with hypnotic rhythms.

Their music has been described as ethno-chaos – wild and primitive.

They are the winners of the prestigious Kuriokhin Grand Prix prize in the sphere of contemporary art in 2010.

DEBADEMBA   (Mali / Burkina Faso)
An amazing golden-voiced singer from Mali and a virtuostic blues guitarist from Burkina Faso – this partnership between Mohamed Diaby and Abdoulaye Traore became Debademba – a knock out, spine-tingling band.

This is urbanized African music but saturated with the dust and secrets of the deserts of Africa and the dances of its people.

Debademba is down as the last act for Saturday night.

Traditional Chinese music with all its refined elegance, spiritual context and skilled musicianship.

This ensemble plays a wide range of repertoire taken from different regions of China, layered with the mixed cultural heritage of Singapore and coloured with contemporary touches.

They were the winners of the 2008 Singapore National Arts Council Chinese Music Competition, the 2009 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Wales and the Silver Award winner in the 28th Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.

GEMA SLDN-SCV   (Sarawak, Malaysia)
A group of very young musicians with a vivacious performance using movements, drums and percussion instruments of Borneo.
GENG WAK LONG  (Kelantan, Malaysia)
The state of Kelantan in Peninsular Malaysia is rich with musical traditions like the Mak Yong, Wayang Kulit, Silat, Dikir Barat, Tari Inai and more.

Mohammad Kamrulbahri bin Hussin has spent much of his life immersed in this culture and now fiercely nurtures and protects the music and arts he has inherited. Winner of many awards, either solo or with an ensemble - among them the Boh Cameronian Art Awards 2004 & 2005, 2009; and the 2011 Selangor Young Talent Award for Performing Arts.

He brings to the Rainforest World Music Festival a wonderfully crafted insight to music of the North-Eastern regions of Malaysia.

Foot tapping old-time roots dance music from Prince Edward Island.

They won the Galaxie Supernova Award at the Ottawa Folk Festival 2012 and voted the 2011 Music PEI Showcase Artist of the year.

Their music is fresh air, wholesome sunshine and happy smiley dance tunes.

HOROMONA HORO   (New Zealand)
Taonga pūoro are the traditional instruments of the Maori people of New Zealand. They are precious and intrinsic to the community – they tell stories, echo the sounds of the natural world and serves as the soul of communication, rituals and daily happenings that could be the rising dawn or the planting of crops.

Horomona brings echos of Mother Earth and stories from his ancestors.

JAGWA MUSIC   (Tanzania)
Mchiriku came from the poor suburbs of Dar es Salaam. It is street wise, cynical, hard-edged – telling stories of urban survival, misfortunes of daily life and voodoo.

The vocals tell the tale, but the strength of the music is in the hands of the master drummers, inciting all into an accelerating frenzy of dance and excitement.

Jagwa Music will be the closing band for the festival.

The first Welsh band to play at the Rainforest World Music Festival - this is happy, full of joie de vivre music.

Jamie Smith with his amazing dexterity on the accordion, leads the band through gentle melodies, exuberant reels, elegant dances and mad jigs – all the ingredients of Celtic music at its best.

They have just been awarded “Best Group” in the Spiral Awards Nominations 2014.

A heady mix of entrancing male voices, beautiful polyphonic harmonies, lyrics in the mysterious Basque language, thudding drums, enticing pipes and the wonderful texture of the txalarparta conjuring up images of the old country.
Spine tingling stuff.

They have also performed with the most unlikely of stars – the Labèque sisters, and in 2012, they toured with Madonna.

They bring songs, dances, rituals and drums from the region of Kerala in South India.

The songs have been passed down by oral tradition. The dialect they sing in comes from an archaic past.  They sing of raw emotions – earthy, human and real.  Propelling trance rhythms take the show from the spiritual to accelerating and pulsating hypnotic energy.  

Occitan was the language of the troubadours in 10th century Provence area who spoke of love, war, political satire, everyday life.

Lo Cor de la Plana, led by Manu Theron, bring their gorgeous voices and percussion, be it on their frame drums or body percussion. Listening to them is like being seduced into a schizophrenic mix of medieval church choristers and bawdy pagan revelers.

In 2003, their first album “Es lo Titre” was awarded the Grand Priz de l’Academie Charles Cros, and in 2005, the Prix SACEM des Musiques du Monde”.

NADING RHAPSODY (Sarawak, Malaysia)
Winner of the Rainforest World Music Festival Talent Award in 2012, these young musicians have gathered old folk tunes from the different indigenous communities in Sarawak and put a fresh contemporary stamp on it without losing the mystique and simple beauty of the way of life in Borneo.

They chant from verses learnt from their elders, sing in Bidayuh, Iban and in the words of the Orang Ulu.

RYUZ (Japan)
Japanese art of music and singing is in a completely different pulse from usual Western art forms – it is often governed by the nature of human breaths rather than a metrical pulse. 

Min'yō   , the traditional folk music reflected everyday life – working songs, religious songs, children songs, songs of birth, death, weddings.

Ryuz gives a powerful performance from the unique voice and taiko drumming of Shigeri Kitsu, the virtuostic manipulation of the tsusgaru-shamisen by Nobuto Yamanaka and the compositions of Kazuki Kunihiro.

Fiesta dance time with the band playing Son Cubano which gave rise to all salsa music.

The mix of latina vocals, sweet sweet brass and African rhythms makes sitting down impossible as they bring to Borneo the groove right off the streets of Santiago de Cuba.

Feel good music.

Multi-instrumentalist and explorer in traditional instruments of many countries, musical techniques and spiritual soundscapes.

He combines styles from different countries, breaks down the barriers of what is expected, and produces new dimensions of meditative music, full of mysticism.

TALAGO BUNI (Indonesia)
The Minangkabau people live along the coasts of Sumatra and have their own code of life, culture and music.

This band merges the mystical Highland music with their Islamic religion and the more contemporary leanings of the coastal regions.

YAYASAN WARISAN JOHORE (Johor Darul Tazim, Malaysia)
The zapin travelled to the Malay archipelago hundreds of years ago, brought by Arab traders. It was based on a specific dance style accompanied by the gambus, oud, violin and traditional drums.

Yayasan Warisan Johore was set up to protect the state’s cultural heritage and it has one of the best professional zapin musicians and dancers in SE Asia.

A musical and visual show. 

LAN E TUYANG (Sarawak)
The entrancing music of the Orang Ulu straight out from the village of Long Semiyang.

Mathew Ngau, master musician and maker of the sape, the boat shaped lute of Sarawak performs with musicians on lutongs, jatong utangs and the haunting nose flute.

They come from the town of Limbang in northern Sarawak, performing on the highly valued gongs of the community.

This is the sound of the longhouses from the rainforests – ceremonial, reverent and sometimes festive.

They are led by Peter Sawal who champions the preservation of the old traditions in Sarawak.

To be held at Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching from the 20th to 22nd June 2014, the festival will celebrate its 17th edition. It has been recognised, for the fifth consecutive time, by SONGLines magazine as One of Top 25 International Music Festival 2014. The Rainforest World Music Festival is organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board.

For more of the festival, logon to
Sarawak Malaysia Borneo… where adventure lives