The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) may be held in Kuching but it’s fame is not just confined to the borders of the Cat City.
The long queue at the departure hall of Miri International Airport – without a doubt, I wasn’t the only one flying off for the RWMF!
Fresh off the plane in Kuching at 3pm that Friday, I wasted no time in getting to the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) where the RWMF was held. But first I had to report at One Hotel Santubong (OHS) to get my media pass and goodies at the Media Centre, met up with fellow Sarawak Blogger, Fatimah, and from there took the public shuttle provided (as I was with my bro and sis-in-law) for RM5/way to the SCV.
Arriving at SCV, we separated: them to check out the booths and stalls etc; me on the hunt for some friends.
By 7pm, my friends and I were already “camped” right in front of the main Jungle Stage…
…only to run to the smaller Tree Stage at 7.30pm when the darkness was shattered by the Iban warrior cry, followed by the Sape & Warrior Dance of Sarawak from that stage.
We were pretty much running between stages all night, not wanting to miss out on the best view possible.
The opening act for the night was Nading Rhapsody, whom I am proud to say hail from Sarawak!
They were the winners of the RWMF Talent Search Competition 2012, and rightly so!
They were simply amazing!
“Tum Ketumba” is a traditional Iban folklore
I never heard our traditional songs (Iban/Bidayuh/Orang Ulu) sung in such a way before…further making me proud to be a Sarawakian. They also sang their version of Burung Kakak Tua, a Malaysian children’s song, which I thought was pretty cool.
Next up were siblings Le Trio Joubran from Palestine.
Photo courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board
Photo courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board
This was followed by the gorgeous String Sisters (Scotland, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, USA) and their equally handsome “String Misters/Brothers”.
Singing from their hearts about their love for their country, of their culture and of life. Music surpassed language, and although I didn’t understand a word of any of their songs, I truly enjoyed them.
Rythm of Borneo, winners of the previous year’s RWMF Talent Search Competition, came up next with some local flavours like the joget. It was interesting to note how young this band and its members were – leader Ainal Bustari made his debut at the Rainforest not too long ago, when he was just 6 years old! Here’s a video (not mine) of them. You could really tell that they were enjoying themselves in their music.
Second to last was La Zikabilo from France.
Sorry the photo is from afar…no photographer pass for this assignment =/
Fancy gypsy music? Or rock & roll? Or jazz? Or reggae? This band has it all covered! Here’s a link to a video (not mine) of them performing – don’t you just feel like dancing?
And last, but most definitely not the least, was the final act of which many people (myself included) were waiting for – Zee Avi!
Fondly referred to as Zee, this Mirian singer-songwriter, guitarist & ukelele player made a special appearance courtesy of the Sarawak State Government, a first time in the 15-year history of RWMF (and maybe the first of many more?). Her bandmate opened up with a strong sape piece, playing the traditional instrument oh-so-naturally. It was nothing short of impressive!
Click here to see the sape intro (prior to the video above).
I must admit, before this, I only knew 3 of her songs and while she didn’t perform Bitter Heart she did perform the other 2 :
Kantoi – a Manglish word for busted or caught doing something wrong
This is a unique song as it combines Malay, English, and Manglish. The song is about a guy busted for cheating on his girlfriend – with a twist at the end of the song. Click here for the full lyrics.
You can drop by my youtube channel for these and other videos:
For those without song titles, do help name the title of the song(s) in the video comments too yaaa…
- Zee Avi performs Milestone Moon, The Book of Morris Johnson & Siboh Kitak Nangis
- Zee Avi entertains the crowd with a joget number
- Zee Avi performs Mi Kolok Sigek (with Puteri Santubong intro)
- Zee Avi sings in Bahasa Melayu Sarawak
- Zee Avi (final song)
- Zee Avi’s Encore – Swell Window
Need I say that by the end of Day 1, I was truly looking forward to the next 2 days of the RWMF 2012?!