RWMF 2012: Highlights

The 15th Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) has ended, but apart from the fact that the Festival was (and always is) AWESOME – see and listen for yourself:

Video source-superadrianme1 : intro by Le Trio Joubran followed by Danyel Waro playing the kayanm/kayamb or as I described it – “winnowing” 😉 , Diplomats of Drum, Le Trio Joubran playing the oud, the String Sisters, Khusugtun‘s throat-singing, Raiz de Cafezal, Cankisou, Mamadou Diabate’s Percussion Mania, Kanda Bongo Man and ending with the Finale!

 it’s also the experience and memories made there that make people come back year after year.

I had expectations (and for the record, every single one was met! 😉 ), but personally, it’s the unexpected that made the sweetest of memories! 😀

Like when meeting new people and they end up being good friends:

(L-R) Fiqah, Fatimah, me [Photo c/o Ben]

The @SWKBLOGS media team! I know who to look for the next time I’m in Kuching! 😉

Or bumping into/meeting old friends you hadn’t seen in a while, mainly by chance:



Fab & Domi

I was at RWMF with Fab 4 years ago, and it was good to see him again on Day 2. Apparently, he has never missed a single RWMF for something like a decade! WOW! Au contraire, this was the first time for his friend whom I just met, who was involved in the Capoeira Workshop.

Other first-timers included:

My own sis-in-law (and bro who took this photo)

And Ben, who went with me this year:

By the looks of it…

…it won’t be his last either. 😉

There were a few others like my ex-colleague, friends from Brunei and friends-that-are-practically-family, but I forgot to snap a photo with them. Heh.

But the most unexpected and most memorable experience happened on Day 3.

I had just arrived at the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) and was waiting in the performers’/media van to take me to One Hotel Santubong (OHS). A few minutes later, a performer climbed into the van and he sat beside me. It was a Hey-I-Just-Met-You moment. 😉

As the van brought us the short distance to OHS, I managed an unofficial interview with him. I was gushing about how talented a sape player he was and he was very humble about it. He shared how “someone” had brought a sape back to the States and how he had learned to play it and that it is not played like a guitar and that these instruments should not be played as if they were one and the same. Care to guess who he was?

Meet David – incredible sape player and Zee Avi‘s bandmate! 😉

And he was so kind to introduce me to the “someone” who had brought a sape back to the States – Zee Avi herself! 😀

As you probably know already from Day 1, I really enjoyed their performance so it was quite an honour to meet her in person. Fondly referred to as Zee, this Mirian singer-songwriter, guitarist & ukelele player is a Sarawakian treasure, putting Malaysia (and especially Sarawak) on the musical map – all the way from the United States where she is based.

Zee & her “sapelele” (sape-designed ukelele)

Apart from a photo with her, I also got her autograph. 🙂

And if that ain’t enough, I was even able to chat with her for a bit – she’s such a sweet lady!

Prior to the RWMF, she was in Miri for a Homecoming Concert but before that she said she’d been away for 13 years!

Zee Avi & JC, her bass player

Those few minutes spent with her was priceless.

“Balit sitok gik kelak. Iboh tunggu 13 tahun…” I said as I left her to enjoy her privacy. 🙂

*in the local Sarawak Malay language, meaning, “Do come back again. Don’t wait for 13 years…”

Thus, I would like to thank Sarawak Tourism Board and Sarawak Bloggers again for making the experiences of the 15th RWMF a possibility for me!

While going for all 3 days was nothing impossible in itself, the media pass really opened up a whole new side of the Festival for me.

Perks of the “job” – I LIKE!

Too bad I wasn’t able to claim the free drinks from Day 1

Then I’d get 3 of these instead, but 2 is cool. 🙂

The only photo taken inside the Heinekebana apparently. 😉

For a more in-depth coverage of the 3 days (and a behind the scenes look), do check out my RWMF 2012 series of posts and for videos, do drop by my youtube channel. Last but not least, here’s a photo that I think says a lot about the spirit of the RWMF:


Photo source: Travillion’s FB compilation album


RWMF 2013 anyone? 😉

Note: ALL photos/videos in my RWMF 2012 series of posts are those taken by me, unless otherwise stated as that from the Sarawak Tourism Board, the @SWKBLOGS Media Team or other sources.

RWMF 2012: From Day to Night


So the second day of the 15th Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) was pretty interesting.

After a sorta random morning, I reached One Hotel Santubong (OHS) alone and brisk walked up to the Media Centre to “report for duty”. All of a sudden, someone jumps in front of me exclaiming: “Are you Marg???” And that guys, was how I met Lindy (fellow Sarawak Blogger). 😉 She promptly introduced me to Garner (another Sarawak Blogger), right after I collected my wristband, finally meeting Gustino in person, and getting a VIP Invite to the Heinekebana (which comes with a cool and eco-friendly tote bag!).

A very productive day, I thought, considering I hadn’t even been there for half an hour. 😉

We three bloggers proceeded to wait for the media/performers van – I just found out that as media we get free transport between OHS & Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) 🙂 – while deciding on which Workshops to attend. I won’t go into details  as you can read more on the workshops from Lindy and Garner, but basically, there are 3 workshops happening simultaneously in 3 different venues, thus, one can only choose to attend 3 workshops (out of 9) a day. So while I was only in time for the main (night) concerts just a few hours before, Saturday gave me the opportunity to have a better understanding of what happens during the day.

And so I decided to join Lindy for the “The Voice” workshop (on vocals) at the Iban longhouse.

We got to see the performers up close – especially since we sat in the front-most row, right by their feet hehehe…

Can you spot us? 😉 [Photo courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board.] 

The String Sisters: Mairead Ni Mhaoniaigh & Emma Hardelien

Abdoulaye from Mamadou Diabate’s Percussion Mania & Mr Kanda Bongo Man himself

The guys from Danyel Waro’s band (on the left is Danyel Waro himself)

Kaela Rowan (String Sisters), James Mackintosh (String Misters 😉 ) &…

…Karim Sanou from Mamadou Diabate’s Percussion Mania

After that, we met up with Garner at Dewan Lagenda for the “Hands On” workshop (on percussions).

This time, I’ll let the percussions tell the story:

I can’t remember what this instrument is called – I actually thought it was just a box-shaped stool until he started playing it 😉 – but I remember being suitably amazed by the sound coming from it! 😀

And this guy…

Well, he’s just AMAZING…*crush crush LOL!…from HATA – a band I could not wait to watch the following night!

There were a few other awesome display of percussions during the workshop. There was even an impromptu jam session! Sorry, I only  have 2 videos – was too engrossed in the moment to record. 😉

If you thought that was bad, after that was the “Hip Hip Hip” workshop on the Kwasa-Kwasa dance & other Congolese dances.

Forget videos! (except for the only one above) – I didn’t even take any photos as I was busy dancing ehehehe.

Here’s a photo of the Kibasa dance, which was a favourite of all of us! 🙂

Thanks Lindy for this photo! 😉

Me & Lindy @ Dewan Lagenda

Garner & I

It turned out that Priscilla & Yvonne (also Sarawak Bloggers) were also there, so after sweating it out with the Kibasa and the Koco-Koco etc, we all headed over to the Media/Performers Camp for drinks:

@SWKBLOGS media team! Clockwise: Priscilla, Yvonne, Garner, Lindy & me. Too bad Fatimah & Fazli wasn’t there.

Considering it was the first time most of us met one another, we sure didn’t take too long to click! 😉 I actually felt a little hesitant to leave the team then but I wanted to attend the press conference with the Minister of Tourism. Duty comes first. 🙂

Press Conference (PC) @ SCV Restaurant

Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, The Honourable Tourism Minister of Sarawak

Dato Rashid Khan, Chief Executive Officer of the Sarawak Tourism Board

Teaser: Next year’s Rainforest World Music Festival is gonna hit the streets! <- that’s what I learnt at the PC 😉

The PC closed with dinner, so I had the chance to meet other media representatives from other countries like Palestine, Indonesia and also our brethren from West Malaysia. It’s always interesting for me to hear how others came to be in the media industry. 🙂

After dinner, I went to the entrance of SCV to rendezvous with friends and look what I saw!

The crowd at the entrance at about 6pm-ish, no doubt ready to party. 😉

As for us, first thing first, was to claim 2 free drinks at the Heinekebana! 😀

Since we were given draft beer, we had to drink inside the cabana so we were only able to watch the opening by Gongs of Malaysia and the first half hour of Khusugtun (from Mongolia) shown via the TV there. Oddly though, the reception wasn’t too good and we couldn’t really hear much. 😦 But the chilled Heineken in a tall glass was nice! And so was the ambience. We were too comfortable until we forgot to take any photos inside. Heh.

Anyways, when we did reach the stage area, the front of the stage was packed! It’s normal that Saturday has more crowd than Friday…

Yes, this is “normal” alright! 😀 [Photo courtesy of the Sarawak Tourism Board]

So we opted to sit down near the big screen on the left side of the (main) Jungle Stage instead.

But fret not, thanks to Lindy, we have this:


After the “incredible throat singing from the Steppes of Genghis Khan” (per the Programme book) came Danyel Waro from the Reunion Islands. He was at The Voice workshop that morning so I knew some of his songs already. His vocals was, of course, impressive but what caught my attention was this instrument called the kayanm/kayamb:

Photo courtesy of Lindy

I couldn’t find a video of him playing it during that night, but I found this on youtube so you’ll get why I’m so puzzled. Ever since I saw them play it during the vocal and percussions workshop that morning, I kept wondering what it was made of, how it made such sound…and then be reminded of people “menampi padi” or winnowing (n. The process of removing husks or chaff from threshed grain.) 😉

Next up was our own Malaysian Diplomats of Drum, and weren’t they a force to be reckoned with!

Photo source: skjongphotography

Did you know that they were the only non-mainstream band to have performed at the Beijing Olympics 2008 musical showcase and…wait for it…the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa?! Waka waka eh eh~

Well, I didn’t need to remember those facts then because the music itself got me on my feet, along with everybody else. 😀

Next was Raiz de Cafezal from Brazil.

Photo source: RWMF website

They were at the Tree Stage which was pretty far away from where we were sitting/standing but from what I could hear, all their songs had quite a similar beat thus it kinda all blurred together into one song for me (especially since I didn’t understand the language). However, I was quite impressed by the performers:

Didn’t their arms get tired? 🙂 [Video source:]

Lastly, to close the second night of the RWMF was Cankisou from Czech Republic – and they rocked!


But don’t just take my word for it. 😉 Listen and see for yourself:

Too bad we weren’t able to stay till the very end like the night before though as we were taking the shuttle back to town (RM15/way) and it had been quite a long day…

Long queue for the bus back to town

I was impressed by the girl in the wheelchair – proof that RWMF is too awesome to be missed for whatever reason! 😉

Well, the bus is here!!!

And so, we’ve reached the end of Day 2. 😀

Updated: I’ve added a link to Rythm of Borneo’s performance in my previous post.

Note: ALL watermarked photos/videos in my RWMF 2012 series of posts are those taken by me, unless otherwise stated as that from the Sarawak Tourism Board, the @SWKBLOGS Media Team or other sources.