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KajoPicks: 5 performances we loved during RWMF 2019

If you were there during Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF 2019), chances are you may still be suffering from post-RWMF withdrawal.

Despite a claim on international media last year that the festival was a dying brand with no new stories being told, the festival has definitely proven the critics wrong.

The number of festival goers this year hit 23,650 people – the highest it’s been since RWMF started in 1998.

And if you were one of those thousands who danced beneath the moonlit sky with the Santubong mountain in the background, you might not have realised how big the crowd was.

It was definitely good to see the festival highlight more local Sarawakian performers such as Suku Menoa, Suk Binie’, Kemada, Staak Bisomu and crowd favourite, At Adau.

With so many performers from all five continents gathering at Sarawak Cultural Village for three days, it was definitely hard to choose our favourites.

But here are KajoMag’s picks for our five favourite acts during RWMF 2019 which took place from July 12 to 14.
1.Duplessy & The Violins of the World (France, Mongolia and Sweden) featuring Guo Gan (China)

The beauty of Rainforest World Music Festival has always been the ability to bring artists of different musical styles and cultures to perform on the same stage.

And this year, one of the performances which managed to do that beautifully and successfully was the performance by Duplessy & The Violins of the World featuring Chinese erhu musician, Guo Gan.

Four soloists- Mathias Duplessy, Guo Gan, Naraa Puredorj and Aliocha Regnard – came together for two different sets called “Marco Polo” at the Theatre Stage and “Crazy Horse” on the Tree Stage.

Inspired by the Italian explorer who travelled through Asia, “Marco Polo” gave the audience a crossover of Western and Asian classical music, while “Crazy Horse” truly reflected its name with fast-paced, cantering rhythms and swinging tunes.

Their performances might have been a fusion between East and West cultures, but there was no confusion among the audience who was listening.

It was definitely a nice eclectic mix of classical guitar (Duplessy), erhu (Guo Gan), traditional Swedish string instrument the nyckelharpa (Regnard) and the Mongolian fiddle (Naraa).

2.Otava Yo (Russia)

This group of seven musicians from St Petersburg had a goal: to shatter the stereotype that Russian folk music was boring and undanceable.

Judging by how the crowd danced on Friday night during their performance, Otava Yo definitely achieved their goal.

Using instruments such as the Russian fife, gusli (Russian psaltery), the bagpipe and fiddle, they gave a performance which transcended languages and cultural boundaries.

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Otava Yo. Credits: RWMF Official Photograph
3.Kila (Ireland)

If you are a veteran RWMF festival goer, then Kila might be a familiar act. They performed in RWMF back in 2013 and they were back again this year.

Kila is a musical ensemble of eight Dubliners centering around Irish classic, folk and rock music.

BBC World Review once described their music to be ‘one of the most beautiful euphoric live experience’ and we agree.

Kila gave a phenomenal performance as the last act on Friday night and they outdid themselves when they performed with Oki Kano, an Ainu Japanese musician on Sunday night.

Who knew a collaboration between the sounds of Dublin and Hokkaido would blend perfectly together?

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Kila performing on Friday night. Credits: RWMF Official Photograph.
4.Macka B (United Kingdom/Jamaica)
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Macka B. Credits: RWMF Official Photograph.

According to Macka B, Sarawakians have the reggae spirit in them and we couldn’t agree more: the moment Macka B took over the mic on Saturday night, the audience was immediately taken by his stage presence.

With a career spanning nearly four decades in the United Kingdom and Jamaica, Macka B was definitely a seasoned performer and an expert on working the crowd.

He brought the house down with songs you would expect a reggae artist to sing; peace, love, a tribute to Bob Marley and marijuana.

But Macka B’s hit “Wha Me Eat”, in which he raps a long list of food he eats as a vegan was definitely one of our faves.

Most RWMF 2019 festival goers might never have been to Jamaica but he had us screaming “Ya man!” all night.

5.Tabanka (Cape Verde)

If Tabanka could bottled up their energy and sell it, I would definitely be the first in line to buy it.

This band who performed as the final act during the final night of Rainforest World Music Festival 2019 had an infectious, excessive energy on stage.

They introduced funana, an accordion-based music and dance genre from Cape Verde.

The genre was once forbidden by the Portuguese colonial rulers but later became part of the post-Independence Cape Verdean identity.

Check out their official music video down below and you would understand why we loved them.

Who were your personal favourites during RWMF 2019? Let us know in the comment box.

Which type of RWMF goer are you? Here are 10 types that we usually see during the festival.

Here is throwback to who we loved during Rainforest World Music Festival 2017.

5 things to do at Danau Sentarum Festival in West Kalimantan this October

Danau Sentarum Festival is an annual event organised in Kapuas Hulu District which was started in 2012.

The festival is aimed to promoted the rich culture of people in Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan particularly around Danau Sentarum.

This year, Danau Sentarum Festival will be held on Oct 25 to 28 at three different locations including Lanjak, Batang Lupar and Putussibau.

With the theme “Stimulate Cross-Border Ecotourism in the Heart of Borneo”, the festival was launched as part of 100 Wonderful Events Indonesia by Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia.

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The Danau Sentarum Festival will spread out in different locations including Putussibau.

If you are heading to Danau Sentarum Festival this year, here are five things to expect during the event:

1. Join in the Danau Sentarum Cruise

During the festival, visitors are more than welcomed to join the Danau Sentarum Cruise which they will be taken on board Bandong boats to explore the lake.

It is a unique boat with the bottom designed by the Malays and the top designed by the Dayaks. The boat is used as both transportation and accommodation.

There will be two trips daily; one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Visitors should take this opportunity to observe the daily activities of people living in Danau Sentarum.

Plus, do not forget to bring your binocular just in case you can spot any birds along the way.

2. Watch traditional boat parade

Boats are important assets for the local communities of Danau Sentarum. Each tribes living in their area has its own unique traditional boats.

This year, the Dayak Tamambaloh tribe’s Parau Tambe boat by will lead the Traditional Boat Parade. The event will start from Lanjak town to Kedungkang, Melayu Island and Sepandan island, all around Danau Sentarum. 

It is definitely a sight to see with each boat will feature its own traditional music and dances. This activity will be held on Oct 27.

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An example of a Malay village at Danau Sentarum.

3. Enjoy the music of Sentarum Ethnic Music Festival

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Dusun Kedungkang, an Iban longhouse of Batang Lupar district, West Kalimantan.

What do Kalimantan and its Malaysian neighbour, Sarawak have in common when it comes to music? The sape.

This Dayak traditional lute will be featured together with rebana, sitar, gambus with other musical instrument at the Sentarum Ethnic Music Festival (Lanjak, Oct 26).

This is a golden opportunity to hear and compare the different sounds of various tribes in Kapuas Hulu regency, West Kalimantan.

4. Watch the one-of-a-kind Arwana Super Red Contest

Heading over to Putussibau, the contest to be held over the course of the festival aims to promote the conservation of the ‘dragon fish’, the Arwana Super Red (Scleropages formosus). Also called Ikan Siluk Merah in Indonesia, this fish in its vibrant colours ranging from red to chili ted is endemic to Danau Sentarum and has a reputation as one of the most expensive fishes in the world.

5. Have some honey at Culture and Honey Festival

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An example of traditional tattoo of a Kayan Mendalam woman.

Beside arwana fish, another special commodity from Danau Sentarum is its honey. The honey is traditionally farmed and harvested by the Malay communities of Danau Sentarum.

The event will see a parade of 2,000 people drinking honey from bamboo cups.

And the best part is the local people will be donning their traditional attires during this festival. The Culture and Honey Festival will be held at Lanjak on Oct 25.

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Are you up for a blowpipe challenge this coming Danau Sentarum Festival?

Other activities include a blowpipe competition, carving contest, traditional tattoo demonstration, dragon boat and bidar boat races and many more.

For more information on Danau Sentarum Festival, contact the organiser here or here or download the booklet here.

PHOTOS: Music and more during the Rainforest World Music Festival

This year, the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) made its 21st appearance at the Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching Malaysia.

A one-of-a-kind festival, RWMF succeeded in bringing world musicians from different part of the globe to rock at the foot of Mount Santubong.

On top of the world-class music, there are plenty of activities to participate from the afternoon mini sessions to its craft bazaar.

The Rainforest World Music Festival will be coming back in 2019 from July 12 till 14. Meanwhile, here are some photos taken on the second day of RWMF 2018.

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A batik crafter showing his skills at the Rainforest World Craft Bazaar.

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Some of the batik works displayed at the Malay House.

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Danison Manium (centre) launched his first sape album on the second day of Rainforest World Music Festival 2018. Also present during the launching were Sarawak Cultural Village’s composer and music arranger Narawi Rashidi (left) and sape maestro Jerry Kamit (second right).

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A display of pretty accessories from local entrepreneur Candy Gems Chic.

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Festival goers hanging out at Damai Central.

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Two instructors from Level Up Fitness showing how to get down at Dewan Lagenda.

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Festival goers participated in RWMF Wellness and Lifestyle activity.

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U.S. Air Force Band of Pacific Asia performing in front of Orang Ulu Longhouse.

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A girl drummer from 24 DRUMS SMK Arang Road, Kuching.

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Slobodan Trkulja (left) and Raghu Dixit (right) belting it out on the second night of RWMF 2018. According to Dixit’s Instagram, he decided to have Trkulja from Balkanopolis (Serbia) joining him on stage only an hour before the performance. The result was one of the best vocal performances RWMF had seen in years.

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The Raghu Dixit’s bassist rocking it on stage.

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Oyme, an ethno band from The Republic Mordovia, Russia.

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Ezra Tekola from At Adau.

10 types of festival goers at the Rainforest World Music Festival

Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is like any other music festival where people from all ages and countries come together in the name of music.

Organised annually at Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching, Malaysia, the three-day event features performances from traditional music to contemporary world music.

As interesting as the performers are with their exotic outfits and sounds, the most interesting people at RWMF are actually the festival goers.

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Sometimes, the festival goers are more interesting than the performers themselves during a music festival.

Not to generalise people but here are 10 types of festival goers you tend to see at the Rainforest World Music Festival:

1.The Learner

Rainforest World Music Festival is not just about the music and dancing but it is also about learning different cultures.

How to spot The Learner? They are the ones who raise their hands and ask questions during the cultural talks.

Or sometimes you can see them at the Rainforest World Music Festival Craft Bazaar engaging with vendors and asking questions.

Sometimes, they are your typical university students who major in music or anthropology. Sometimes, they are the intellectual types who take the opportunity during the festival to learn more about other cultures.

You can also spot them looking diligently at the festival guide or sitting in the front row of the sape lesson session.

2.The Live Feeder

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Can you spot The Live Feeder?

These are the easiest to spot at the festival. They are the ones who have their smartphones raised during workshops, drum circles, and night performances for long periods of time, even just to take just a photo.

Or you can see traces of their live-feeding on their social media accounts even after the festival has ended.

3.The Selfie-obsessed

This kind of festival goer has a superpower ability. They can smell selfie opportunities unlike most normal people.

They know, for instance, which part of Sarawak Cultural Village gives the best photo ops, who to take wefies with and most importantly, which angle to take it form. Like I said, it’s a superpower.

4.The Spectator

Every music festival needs to have The Spectator. They are the ones who peek through the windows of the Iban Longhouse to watch a dance interactive session but never join in.

They watch the night performances from afar… such as the balcony of Dewan Lagenda or sitting at the back on their picnic mats.

Whatever it is, they are just there to spectate and enjoy the music.

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We came for the music!

5.The Solo Traveller

These are the lone rangers of the festival. They eat alone, participate in the mini sessions alone and they dance alone during the night performances.

Despite being alone, The Solo Travellers are the ones who look like they are enjoying not just the festival but also life overall the most.

6.The Party Animal

The Party Animal type dances the hardest, screams the loudest and drinks the most.

In times past when the ground in front of the stage could become a mud pit during a rainshower, they would be the ones dancing in the rain with mud on their feet and all over their bodies.

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Every music festival needs the Party Animals.

7.The Hobbyist

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I am here to do my own thing!

You have seen this type of festival goer, not just during the Rainforest World Music Festival but every music festival.

While the performers are giving their all onstage or in the mini sessions, they pick a spot and do their own thing.

Be it a yoga move or throwing a hoop or swinging a pair of poi, Rainforest World Music Festival has seen them all.

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“I come to share my hobby!”

8.The Herd

This type of festival goer moves in flocks. They usually have one tribe leader who decides which mini sessions to go or where to eat, one ideal follower who has no idea what is going on but happy to follow and the rebel who tends to break away from the group.

Plus if the herd is alcohol-inclined, they have a sommelier or beer connoisseur who keeps the alcohol level in everybody’s system in order.

Sometimes they have a babysitter who has a mother-like role in the group to make sure the herd is safe and sticks together.

They are commonly groups of university students and young working adults who take Rainforest World Music Festival as a short escape from reality.

9.The “I-have-no-idea-what-is-going-on-but-I-am-here-to-dance”

Some people would call this type of festival goer a dancer…only if you consider their moves as ‘dancing’.

The difference between The Party Animal and The“I-have-no-idea-what-is-going-on-but-I-am-here-to-dance” is that the latter tends to ignore what is going on because they just want to dance.

A band could be delivering a touching performance like At Adau’s Jackson Lian Ngau who dedicated a song to his late mum (in RWMF 2017) or Raghu Dixit from India and Slobodan Trjulja from Serbia giving a once in a lifetime hair-raising duet (in RWMF 2018).

These are the ones who would dance in the middle of a themed music demonstration or a drum circle during the festival irrespective of what is happening around them.

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Raghu Dixit from India (right) and Slobodan Trjulja from Serbia performing a duet song on July 14 during the Rainforest World Music Festival.

10.The ones who were not there for the world music but created their own world

These are the festival goers who were there at the RWMF but not exactly “there” at the festival.

They could be young couples who find their corners and just enjoy these time-defining moments with each other. Or even groups of friends who form their circles at Dewan Lagenda to drink together as the music plays in the background and sets the mood and atmosphere.

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Festival goers who created their own world at Dewan Lagenda during the Rainforest World Music Festival.

Your Rainforest World Music Festival Practical Guide

The 21st Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is coming this July 13 to 15!

It is a music festival like no other with world musicians from around the globe under one roof.

The festival is formulated to have interactive workshops in the afternoon and mind-blowing performances in the evening.

With Sarawak Cultural Village as its venue and Mount Santubong in the background, RWMF is an epitome of how indigenous music should be shared and appreciated.

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Have you bought your tickets yet to Rainforest World Music Festival 2018?

If you are planning to go, here is KajoMag’s practical guide to enjoying the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) :

1. Be there early.

Avoid the long queue at the entrance by coming early to the venue. Don’t forget to print your personal copy of your tickets or download it to your devices.

2. Don’t bring sharp items

There will be a security check at the entrance so do not bring sharp items to RWMF. And of course, no drugs are permitted.

3. No outside food and drink

Security will also check your bags for food and drink at the entrance. Even little things like your favourite mints or chewing gum are not allowed to RWMF. Don’t worry, food and drink are available at the venue.

4.You can bring your mats

Make yourself comfortable and bring your lawn chairs or mats. Some sellers at the craft bazaar do sell the traditional woven mats but stocks can be limited or they might be too big.

If you don’t want to take any chances, bring your own lawn chairs or mats.

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You can always plop yourself on a mat if you want to.

5.Protect yourself from UV rays!

RWMF is held in Kuching, Malaysia which is obviously located in a tropical country. Men might not care about this tip, but girls, do protect your skin by slapping on those sunscreen.

6. And a raincoat!

Even though the monsoon, or landas season, isn’t until December to March, there have been times when Kuching has been deluged by rain during RWMF.

A raincoat is a saviour for when you want to continue to dance in the rain. You might not able to save your slippers while dancing in the mud but at least you can protect your body.

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If it raining at night, you might need to dance in the rain so bring a raincoat!

7.Stuff them all in a dry bag

Speaking of raining during RWMF, a dry bag is very handy during RWMF. You can put all your important stuff like your wallet, camera and handphone in your dry bag. The festival venue, Sarawak Cultural Village, is just a stone’s throw away from the beach, so you’ll be able to enjoy the sun, surf and sand in before, after or between the music.

8. Shoo away those insects!

If you do not want to be distracted by mosquitoes or sand flies, spray on some insect repellent.

9. Bring along that power bank

One of RWMF’s most practical guidelines is to bring along your power bank. A proper power source to charge your handphones during RWMF is usually hard to find.

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This fellow might not be there to provide you with a fully charged power bank this year.

10. Have fun!

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Participate in at least one of the dance workshops!

In the afternoon, there are so many workshops to choose from. Pick at least one dance workshop to participate in. Nobody will judge you for having two left feet at RWMF. Be respectful toward other festival-goers and keep an open mind on learning about other people’s culturse.

Last but not least do not forget to have fun, fun, fun!

We hope that you find these Rainforest World Music Festival practical guidelines useful!