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The differences and sameness of RWMF’s mini sessions

Slobodan Trkulja from Serbia teaching the crowd about the kolo dance.

Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) internationally known for its melting pot of different cultures and music was held for the 21st time recently from July 13 till 15.

While the audience reached its peak number on Saturday night, those who had attended the whole three-day festival would agree the real fun and magic happens during the afternoon sessions.

Now rebranded as ‘mini sessions’, the activities still carried the essence of RWMF workshops.

It had everything from interactive learning about world music instruments to impromptu jamming among the musicians.

RWMF 2018 Mini Sessions

Rainforest World Music Festival would not be complete without the dance interactive workshop.

This year, RWMF saw an increase from the usual 27 to 50 sessions and even spread out from its official venue of Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) to nearby Damai Central.

Since its first installment in 1997, the afternoon sessions have seen a number of improvements and changes over the years.

One of its usual sites for the afternoon workshops, the Malay house had been completely dedicated to children sessions; a thoughtful move since the Malay house can only cater to a small crowd and it has usually been packed and hot during the afternoon workshops in previous years.

Festival goers participating the traditional hoop dance of the Lakota (a Native American tribe) workshop.

Speaking of changes, the drum circle session by saw a change of scenery from its usual spot in front of the jungle stage.

For the first two days of RWMF, the circle took place at the Big Tent Damai Central before it was moved back on the final day to where it has usually been held since 2014 .

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The first two days of RWMF saw the drum circle by flocking the Big Tent at Damai Central.

However, the mini sessions still carried on its crowd favourite activities especially the themed music demonstrations and dance workshops.

For example of themed music demonstrations was the “Rhythm’s Gonna Get You”, a workshop featuring an array of different percussion.

This year’s percussion demonstration was conducted on Saturday showcasing a bedok (a Bidayuh drum from Sarawak), darbuka, conga and even a human percussion, a beatboxer.

Other themes music demonstrations were wind instruments, plucked stringed instruments and lutes from two continents Africa and Asia.

During these demonstrations, each musician had a chance to introduce their instrument before all of them coming together to produce an impromptu performance.

A percussion-themed demonstration organised on Saturday (July 14) at the Dewan Lagenda.

Another crowd favourite every year and usually packed with participants is the dance interactive workshop.

Every year, SCV’s Dewan Lagenda and Iban Longhouse had played host to many dances from all over the world.

This year, these locations had witnessed cumbia (folkloric dance from Colombia), traditional hoop dance of the Lakota (a Native American tribe), kolo (a Serbian circle dance) and among others.

After 21 years in business, RWMF overall had its tweaks here and there yearly and some tweaks stay while others don’t.

Evidently the organiser, Sarawak Tourism Board gave the best to cater to all types of festival goers every year including those families with small children and fitness enthusiasts.

Apart from the mini sessions, there were also programmes for wellness and lifestyle such as yoga, zumba and belly dance as well as children sessions which were started a couple years ago.

Each location now has its lineup activities displayed.

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Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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