Borneo World Music Expo 2014


After a successful inaugural event last year, the Borneo World Music Expo 2014 is back again and this time around, held at the Hilton Kuching in Sarawak from the 16-18 June. If you have been an ethnic and world music lover, or better, been to the Rainforest World Music Festival, this event showcases some of the amazing musicians and performers that are yet to be discovered, and it is scheduled just a few days before the RWMF too. 

In general, if you are heading over to Sarawak for the RWMF, you can also catch the Borneo World Music Expo and see some of the new talents showcased. Overall, instead of spending just four or five days here, you can put in a full week in Sarawak to catch both events. 

Last year at the first Borneo World Music Expo 2013 which was held at the Pullman Hotel in Kuching, a number of performers who played here for the first time, impressed a lot of people, including me. I believe almost everyone who came for the BWME showcase did not expect to see some of the performers shine on the two nights of performance and a couple of them continued to perform at the Rainforest World Music Festival, where they played a different set of music too. 

BWME is also the brainchild of Sarawak Tourism Board's CEO Datuk Rashid Khan and this expo was created to work hand in hand in bringing world music lovers, professionals, programmers, buyers and musicians together in one main event that would follow through to the Rainforest World Music Festival. 

Below are some photos taken during the BWME 2013 at Pullman Kuching. They include most of the musicians and performers throughout the three days. 

BWME Workshop
Borneo World Music Expo Workshop
Shangyin Chinese Chamber Musicians
Shangyin Chinese Chamber Musicians on stage
Chinese traditional instruments in Sarawak
Close up of Chinese traditional instruments 
Highland Bamboo Band from Bario Sarawak
Bario Highland Bamboo Band performing 
Bisaya Gong Orchestra from Sarawak
Bisayah Gong Orchestra with their traditional instruments 
Oikyotaan Band
Members of Oikyotaan on stage at the BWME 2013
Oikyotaan
Intense singing from Oikyotaan 
Rhythm in Bronze Band Malaysia
Rhythm in Bronze, a Gamelan group from west Malaysia
Sandeep Chatterjee from India
Sandeep Chatterjee tabla player in a moment at the BWME 2013
Palsandae Korean Group
Members of Palsandae, a Korean performing arts group that impresses the audience with their moves
Rafly Wa Saja Indonesia
Rafly Wa Saja mesmerizes the audience with his unique style of singing
What happens at the Borneo World Music Expo 

Rhythm in BronzeGenerally there are multiple things going on such as conferences, case studies, workshops, meetings, networking, music showcase and a trade fair so music programmers, musicians, music buyers and visitors from all over the world congregate here for this unique expo. 

Conferences - During these conferences which are closed doors and only for registered delegates, much is discussed and shared here. Talk include artist professionalism, how to brand a band in other countries, how to use the internet to sell a band, how to market a destination and even how to organize events and so on. 

Case Studies - A closed door session with delegates that highlights various case studies of other music festivals, government involvements, music institutions and so on are discussed. 

Workshops - Musicians share knowledge, history and even in-depth explanation to the instruments and so on. Demonstrations are conducted to the audience as well.  

Networking - Throughout the three day expo, many delegates from the world over will stay at the same hotel where there will meet one another to do casual or business networking. Friend are made while business deals are also tightened and some even sealed. 

Music Showcase - Spread throughout the three days, a grand opening performance to welcome delegates is one of the highlights while other invited performers play in the late afternoons and evenings to the delegates and public. Tickets for the showcase are also sold at the event for public who want to see them. 

Trade Fair - Only open to registered delegates, one of the halls are converted into a mini trade fair where buyers meet sellers for this expo. 

Sarawak Sape Musician
A performer from Sarawak with his Sape instruments
For this years Borneo World Music Expo, the organizer has invited 25 international world music programmers to discuss and share international experiences with delegates. 10 local and regional musicians and performers have also been selected to showcase their unique music throughout the three days. Some of them are also performing at the RWMF 2014 too. 

Music Showcase Performance for BWME 2014

  • Mah Meri from Pulau Carey in Selangor, West Malaysia
  • Madeeh from Sarawak
  • Gedang Melayu Sarawak 
  • Barmer Boys from Rajasthan, India
  • Korphai from Thailand
  • Aye Su Kyaw Ensemble from Myanmar 
  • Ding Li Music Company from Singapore 
  • Gen Wak Long from Kelantan, West Malaysia
  • Majalin Raso from Java, Indonesia
Talago Buni Indonesia
A female member of Talago Buni, a band from Indonesia sings some unique vocals
For more information on this event, or if you wish to register as a delegate, you can visit the official website of Borneo World Music Expo 2014. If you are just a interested visitor, I recommend you come for the music showcase as it is quite interesting. Just head to the Hilton Kuching and purchase your daily tickets from the counter in front of the showcase. Tickets are priced at RM30.00. (US$10).

If you are an ethnic and world music lover, you can also check out some of the other music festivals in Sarawak. Note that the Sarawak Tourism Board organizes the World Rainforest Music Festival, Borneo Jazz Festival and also the Asia Music Festival. 

For this year, I am headed there again as a journalist to see what the BWME 2014 has lined up. I know that expectations are quite high as this involves international delegates therefore I am sure that the expo will be much better than the last one. With that, I most definitely look forward to the Borneo World Music Expo 2014. See you there! 


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