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Review of Rainforest World Music Festival

Rainforest World Music Festival  Review

This review of the Rainforest World Music Festival highlights what happens at one of the most interesting music festivals in Malaysia, held at the Sarawak Cultural Village near Kuching.

The 2012 line up promises something different as local Malaysian star Zee Awi makes her debut here for the first time here at this festival.

This is one of the biggest and longest running unique festivals in the history of Malaysia, and held in the heavily cultured state of Sarawak.

Branded as a show not to be missed, many international performers make their way here to showcase some of the best cultural and ethnic music in the world.

Review of Rainforest World Music Festival

Poster of Rainforest World Music Festival 2012
Official Rainforest World Music Festival poster for 2012
Every year in July or August, thousands of music lovers travel across the globe to the Land of the Hornbill otherwise known as Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Converging at Santubong, a 45 minute drive from Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak, it is like an annual pilgrimage for these music lovers who come to attend the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF).

The festival has been voted by SongLines, a renowned world music magazine for three consecutive years as the top 25 international festivals to attend in the world.

This annual event, now in its 15th year, is organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board and is a three day celebration of daytime music workshops and action-packed nightly shows.

RWMF 2011 Workshop - Photo Credit to: Parochial Sarawakian

This very unique and special festival is a not-to-be-missed occasion which takes place in the heart of the Borneo rainforest.

It is here where people regardless of their ethnicity, cultural backgrounds and music interests come together for three magical days for a fun filled, wholesome festival experience with a country fair atmosphere amidst lush greenery.

Below are the list of confirmed performers for the Rainforest World Music Festival 2012.

RWMF Performers for 2012

The list of performers below is provided by the official RWMF website. For the actual performance time, please visit the website.
Zee Avi - Malaysia
Malaysian singer-songwriter, guitarist and ukulele player who was born in Miri, Sarawak but lives in the United States now. She was first discovered from a song she had posted up on YouTube for a friend. Zee Avi has since then released several albums and is making a special appearance at the festival. 
The Music of Sarawak - Malaysia 
The music and instruments of Sarawak are as diverse and lush and poly-layered as its rainforests. Gongs, from the large hanging ones that represent the standing of the owner to the small melodically tuned ones; huge log drums to the hand-held frame ones; all kinds of innovative bamboo instruments; and of course the majestic sape,

Hata – The One - Malaysia, Korea, Turkey, Taiwan

They encapsulate the many facets of Asia – capturing, molding, fusing, and coming up with a unique sound yet completely enchantingly Eastern. Usually a 24 member group, they are coming as a 9 piece with musicians from Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. 

Rhythm of Borneo - Malaysia

Between the years of 1998-2008, Ainal Johari joined several well-established bands from Sarawak such as TUKU’ KAME’, TABUH PAK AINAL and JERRY KAMIT & FRIENDS to perform in the world-class Rainforest World Music Festivals. 

Mamadou Diabate - Mali / Burkina Faso

I was born in 1973 into a West African “Jeli” family in Burkina Faso. In my family there is a long tradition of practising the profession of story telling and music making  (playing the balafon).  
Le Trio Joubran - Palestine
Three brothers descending from a family of « Oud » makers and players since four generations… the grand grand-father, the grand-father, the father and now, Samir, Wissam and Adnan have transformed this instrument into a passion, a skill, a life. 
Samuel Dass & Prakash - Malaysia 
Samuel J. Dass, or Sam as he is fondly known in the music circle, was born on the 16th of March, and started his love affair with the Sitar at the tender age of 7. His first guru was his father, Mr. Jabamalai Dass, who drilled in him the basics of sitar playing. 
Khusugtun - Mongolia
The meaning of the name ‘Khusugtun’ The word khusug mean a cart of pastoral nomads. ‘Khusugtun’ means nomads, or more precisely people who move with carts. 

Diplomats Of Drum - Malaysia

Spreading the love for beats and rhythms across international shores, The Diplomats of Drum has received universal acclaim as Malaysia’s chief world music percussion troupe. 
Raiz De Cafezal - Brazilian Amazonian Indians
The Carimbó is one of the rhythms from the Brazilian Amazonian Indians, however, as diverse other Brazilian cultural manifestations, it was mixed and received other influences, mainly African. 

La Zikabilo - France

This energetic brass band from France handles many musical styles with ease and infectious joy. Since their Beginning back in 1999, LA ZIKABILO transports through multiple horizons such as Jazz, Gypsy music, French chanson, Latino music, Rock’n’roll, Reggae rhythms. 
Oreka Tx - Spain
Nömadak Tx is a project by Harkaitz Mtez, De San Vicente and Igor Otxoa, Oreka Tx. These Basque txalapartaris had a dream: they thought up a project that was to mark a turning point in the history of thisunique musical percussion instrument. 
String Sisters - Celtic music from Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, USA 
Featuring some of the traditional music world’s top female fiddlers, the members of the String Sisters gather together for a concert Annbjørg Lien from Norway joins Catriona Macdonald from Shetland, Liz Carroll and Liz Knowles from America, Mairead ni Mhaonaigh (Altan) from Ireland and Emma Härdelin from Sweden. 

Kanda Bongo Man - Congo - UK Based

The man who single-handedly gave the world the infectious Kwasa Kwasa dance; Kanda Bongo Man is one of the most well known stars of world music, and one of the first pioneers of he African Soukous music. 
Cankisou - Czech Republic
No. 17th in the World music chart Europe in November 2011, performance at Sziget 2010 (world music stage). One of the top world music bands in the Czech republic which has already made audience in 14 countries dance with its original ethnic fusion full of wild rhythms and spiced with rock roots.  
Danyel Waro - Reunion Island 
Sega, a traditional Indian Ocean dance rhythm, is internationally known, but few people outside the island of Reunion have heard of maloya. Maloya is a compound rhythm on which plantation workers have long been singing their joys and woes. It’s a sort of réunionese blues.
RWMF Program
There will be a line-up of 12 international bands and 6 Malaysian bands playing a diverse range of world genres and the festival is featuring 7 different acts per night over 3 nights of pure music.

RWMF Workshops
Spread throughout the village, there will be afternoon informative workshops, ethno-musical lectures, jamming sessions and mini concerts, followed by evening performances on the main stage has proven to be a hit, with the audience, who come from near and far.

Food & Village Mart
A Food & Village Mart offers visitors local crafts, souvenir items. On the F&B part, choose from international to local food and drinks. A total of 30 stalls will be selling all of these throughout the village.

RWMF Store
The RWMF store is filled with Rainforest World Music Festival merchandize. A great place to get yourself a souvenir t-shirt or your favorite artist CD. You can also get some of the performing artist to sign your CDs during the signing times. Check with the store.

Ticket Prices for the RWMF 2012

Visit the official website for the Rainforest World Music Festival.

RWMF Organizer:
Sarawak Tourism Board
5th – 7th Floor, Yayasan Sarawak Building
Jalan Masjid, 93400 Kuching
Sarawak, Malaysia
Telephone : +6 082 423600
Fax : +6 082 416700


For those who are interested, come experience a truly memorable musical extravaganza amidst the lush green paradise that is the mythical land of Sarawak.

We bid you, 'Selamat Datai' (Which means Welcome in Iban) to all those attending the RWMF and if you have never been to this amazing festival and want to also explore Sarawak, here is your chance to plan ahead for the upcoming Rainforest World Music Festival.


Nate @ House of Annie said...

I went last year and it was awesome. This year's lineup looks even more exciting, though I notice a distinct lack of North American bands.

Malaysia Asia said...

Thanks Nate, I am not so sure if I will attend this years RWMF but we will see how.

Cheap Cruises said...

I was thrilled to be apart of the festival that was held on the 8th till the 10th of July 2011. The flight ticket to Kuching was bought last December 2010. Me and my friends decided to buy the tickets early as there was a great deal from AirAsia at the end of last year.

Haven't been rocking these pair of feets for some groovy moves for quite a long time.. well I tried and ended up feeling almost numb from hips downwards.. 3 hours of dances, jumps and mostly making fool of myself are the awesome things that I almost forgot to do. Well, whatever it is, I will surely be coming for the next RWMF..!

House said...

I am not able to think of a better place where music can be spiritual experience. The rainforest festival combines styles, peoples, cultures, colors- the protean face of our planet.

Sedetik Lebih said...

Anyone interested.. i have 1 ticket to let go.. i cannot make it due to work. 1 ticket on Opening Ceremony Friday 13/07/12.. interested?.. sms me..0123651965 discount price for those who interested... sms now...