A dancer in O Tahiti E.

Five bands you need to listen to after Rainforest World Music Festival 2017

Missed the 20th edition of the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF)? It’s okay because KajoMag has got you covered.

Here are the five bands you need to listen to even when the music and dancing has stopped in the Sarawak rainforest.

  1. O Tahiti E (Tahiti)

I would not only recommend this band for you to listen to – it is a group you have to watch.

Founded in 1986, O Tahiti E is one of the oldest dancing groups in French Polynesia. When the women dance, their rapid hip-circles and powerful hip slides are mesmerising to watch. The men are equally captivating as they move their legs to beats faster than the naked eyes and ears can follow.

A dancer in O Tahiti E.
A dancer in O Tahiti E.

This group made the crowd scream “I am moving to Tahiti!” during their performance on the second night of RWMF 2017 from Aug 14-16.

Watch their video below and you might be screaming the same thing as you stare at your screen.

  1. Okra Playground (Finland)

What made Okra Playground stand out during the RWMF was the harmonisation of its three vocalists – Päivi Hirvonen, Maija Kauhanen and Essi Muikku.

Their voices immediately catch your attention from the first note. Added to the melodious tunes of this band are the sounds of the kantele, a Finnish plucked string instrument, and jouhikko, a stringed bowed lyre.

As you close your eyes and listen to their songs, you can almost feel the freezing winters of Finland.

Watch their video here.

  1. Achanak (UK/India)

It is fun, upbeat and makes you move your shoulders to the beat of Bhangra music.

Achanak is a multi-award winning, six-piece band based in the UK but still holds true to the band members’ Punjab roots.

The result of this east meets west concoction is a nice blend of traditional Indian percussion and Western rhythms.

The band also sings in traditional Indian vocal style, transporting listeners to the sets of Bollywood movies.

Watch their video here.

  1. Calan (Wales)

Grab your clogs and step dance along to the traditional Welsh tunes of Calan.

It is easy to tell this five member band is proud of their Welsh background, as they sing Welsh folk songs and play traditional instruments such as the fiddle, pibgorn (an early Welsh musical instrument similar to the clarinet) and harp.

One member who really stands out is Bethan Rhiannon. She easily draws the audience attention in with her vocals, clog dancing and accordion playing.

Bethan Rhiannon from the Welsh band Calan.
Bethan Rhiannon from the Welsh band Calan.

Listening to Calan will make you jig, step and hop to the vibrant sound of the Wales. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Watch their video here.

  1. Hanggai (China)

If you think that playing the morin khuur is not cool, Hanggai from China will prove you wrong.

And if you have no idea what that is, allow me to enlighten you: also known as the horsehead fiddle, the morin khuur is a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument.

What makes this instrument buck the trend of other traditional musical instruments is how it surprisingly fits in perfectly with the punk rock genre.

This Mongolian folk music band from Beijing successfully combines Mongolian throat singing (khoomei) with rock music, making their songs almost like nothing you have heard before.

Watch their video here.

About Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF)

The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is an annual three-day music festival celebrating world music. It’s been held in Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching, Malaysia every year since the music festival’s debut in 1997.

It has daytime workshops, a crafts bazaar, food stalls, and main-stage evening concerts.

If you were there during RWMF 2017, let us know in the comment box which band was your favourite!

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