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Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Short Talk:

My tickets are booked. I'm flying in to Singapore again this Friday. Yeah baby.

Rainforest World Music Festival 2005

I heard of the Rainforest World Music Festival amidst all its media hype, but I never bothered much about it. That is, until every second friend I have pestered me with questions like "Ehh... are you going to rainforest?"

I thought they meant jungle trekking.

The music festival attracted a lot of hippies. Not sure why Sunsilk sponsored this event since hippies don't usually wash their hair anyway.

The Rainforest World Music Festival is an event that brings together traditional cultural musicians from all over the world. It is held at the Sarawak Cultural Village, itself a living museum amid lush rainforest located some 30 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Kuching city.

Cultural performances usually bore me to tears, but I was curious when I learnt that people were coming from Miri, KL and even overseas just to attend this cultural bullshit.


The beer ran out, so Joyce started to nibble on the can.

Joyce the Fairy, whom I met at the PPS Bash, was one of those who flew to Kuching to see me to join in on the fun. She was here on an unapproved business trip, taking photos of the event for the magazine she was working for.

I wanted to catch up with her 'cos we've met too briefly in KL. Besides, I wanted to witness for myself her acclaimed alcohol drinking prowess.


The audience pretends to be interested.

The afternoon workshops at the RWMF weren't particularly interesting. There were three classes running simultaneously at the different auditoriums around the village. Most of the time the musicians were trying in vain explaining aspects of their music. Too bad the audiences just wanted to hear music / don't give two hoots about their instruments / don't fooking understand what the hell they're talking about.

Seriously, their accents are so bad they make characters in The Sims sound like English teachers.

Sarong Party Boy sighted in Kuching.

The Colombian musicians are slightly more entertaining. For some odd reason, they would get so excited hitting their drums, they would start stripping, jump around madly, chase all the girls, and justify it by calling it 'the Colombian dance'.

Kinky Blue Fairy goes to work.

I find this Polish Celtic band called Shannon more suited to my musical taste. Its Irish music pumped up with drum and bass - think 'Riverdance'. Its very unique. Check out the video clips I took here or here.

I really wanted to get their CD, but the frickin' thing costs RM75. Heck, I don't care how much I like their music, but to charge someone RM75 for a CD is blatant abuse, man. Just 'cos Sarawak has lots of trees doesn't mean our money grows on trees.

There's a break between the afternoon shows and the evening's major concert, so I joined Joyce and her mates by the beach to catch the sunset.

"ARGH! My face is stuck onto the camera! HELP!"

Joyce is such a social butterfly and a lot of people she hang around here are from the local media, arts and music scene. I swear she bumped into more people she knows than I did, and I'm supposed to be from Sara-bloody-wak dammit!

Joyce, Shal and Brandon. The innocent looking bottle on the sand was actually filled with Evil Joyce's Malibu.

As soon as I was introduced to him, Brandon recognised me and asked "You're that guy who blogs, right?"

Shal Sagan was a little quiet. She's a talented singer/songwriter from Kuching who recently released her alternative rock debut album "A Special Note". It should be available at Tower Records now, so go check her out if you're into that genre of music.

Drunk people fooling around. I think they forgot the 'woman' was supposed to be the one 'blowing', not the other way round.

The Village turned into a rather dodgy place by the time we returned. There were lots drunk people loitering around, some even smoking weed joints out in the open. It definitely wasn't a very family-friendly place, despite the fact that it was a government-organised cultural event and that children were allowed into the area.

The musical performances for the early part of the evening was fairly forgettable, but amazingly the crowd was HOT - both figuratively and literally speaking. It was a rare sight for a place like Kuching where major staged events were far and few in between.

The crowd bought the whole act and they were crazy throughout the night like it was some sort of rock concert or rave party (replace DJ with American folk music and you get the idea). The atmosphere was simply awesome.

Download crowd video here.

The Yelemba drummers from Ivory Coast at the end just stole the whole frickin' show away. I'm still amused at how they can make the mad rush to the toilet seems so interesting.

Download Ivory Coast dummers' video here.


I don't know if that's meant to be a tiger or a bumble bee.

By the time I parted with Joyce she had already consumed more than ten cans of drink, only two of those were non-alcoholic. Yet, that woman fairy was still sober. She must be right - fairies run on alcohol.

The show ended at around 12:30am. It was definitely an entertaining evening, but the rowdy and sometimes unruly crowd wasn't what I expected. I wonder how many girls emerged that night ungroped and unscathed. Still, I appreciate the performers who dedicate their life and soul preserving and sharing their cultural music with us.

But hey, at the end of the day, people enjoyed themselves and if there's a similar event next year you'd definitely see me there.

Other people writing about the RWMF:
- Joyce the Fairy [Kuala Lumpur] has tons of pictures.
- This So Called Life was amused.
- Arthur [Miri] gave it 10/10.
- Irene [Kuching] was disappointed.
- Michelle @ syntaxfree [Singapore] looks forward to next year's.



thanks to kenny and his downloadable clips, now i've saved those bucks and don't feel left out/ sorry for myself for not going there~ =D


went there last year, and I swear almost half of KL was there. There were more peninsula Malaysians than sarawakians! :)

best part? cheap cheap beer. :)


kenny, i was so looking forward to meet you. urgh.


ehh jeles nye..i also wanna go!!!


I would expect these events to attract the HIPPIES.

But nowadays it seems to attract the druggie-chic crowd.

And maybe a few HIPPIES.

You should checkout WOMAD. Something like that too.


Good that Kuching has such annual event to pull in the much needed tourism industry but it sounds to me that RWMF is replica of Woodstock!

West Malaysians are so jealous of our cheap and good "imported" beers every time I tell them we only pay RM10 for 3 cans of Heineken.


I wasn't trying to be silly as i hv no idea why there was a few entries of my comment...so solly!


Was that Yelemba drummer using his hands? Wow! He sure did maintain a high tempo. I like the drumming. Lotsa energy and rhythm, like after a while, the noise becomes music and you can't help but be drawn into the beat. Thks Kenny for the video.


woot! coming to singapore!


Man seriously looks like fun.


Looks awfully fun. Wished I could be there.


Eh. A bit shy right. Why can't you write about my lovely personality... or my charming smile... or my wicked sense of humour. Always must mention the alcohol the alcohol the alcohol!!!



Was it Sunday night that you were there? Gosh, it sounds much rowdier than when I was there on Friday and Saturday. I had a fantastic time, it was way more fun than the 3 WOMADs I've been to, and everyone I met in Kuching was super friendly and helpful. I'll definitely be returning to your lovely hometown next year. :)


I wonder how many girls emerged that night ungroped and unscathed.

I've been going to the RWMF for about four years now and I've never felt so safe, despite my attire. I actually relish the freedom to wear whatever I wanted and sure, you may get some looks but no one really cares. I feel more unsafe walking around India street clad in shorts and a tank top!

We must have attended different workshops because I certainly got learnt a lot, be it the appreciation of different ethnic instruments from all over the world or learning how to gypsy-dance. I'm not at all bothered that most of the musicians didn't speak fluent English because hey, you know it's a big multicultural world out there. I've heard worse English spoken right here at home, than from any of the musicians.

p/s give the audience a little more credit, we certainly enjoyed the music a lot more than you did. ;)



"got learnt a lot". Brilliant! I just confirmed that bad English is also spoken here. LOL.



Guess who wanted to go for that but couldn't.....sigh.


The Chulalongkorn University Ensemble was the best of the whole lot! ^_^


Tess, now pay me RM60!

eyeris, beer for RM5 per can inside, or 3 for RM12 outside. Yeap, that explains why there were so many drunkards that night. :)

Victoria, yaloh! Bad, bad timing! :( Its alright. I'll contact you next time I'm in Miri.

Chrissie, to be honest, the performances were not that much different to those at the Multicultural Weeks that we attended. Maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it as much. I had an overdose of cultural shows when I was in Perth.

neurotica, I honestly didn't know there's so much hippies in Malaysia until Sunday. Shows how ignorant I am. *bows head in shame*

Tan Silly Latuk, its a good thing of course. I'm really impressed by the enthusiasm of the non-Sarawakians who attended the event.

vandice, the drum beats are very trance like. You gotta witness it to feel the energy of it.

nad~, yay!

ShaolinHarimau, actually I'd rather attend Zoukfest. :P Cultural musical shows aren't exactly my cup of tea.

Jon Choo, you're in LONDON! You got events like the Live 8 Concert to attend! What are you talking about!? :P

Joyce, ok ok ok ok ok....

syntaxfree, yea I was there Sunday. I'm surprised you came here all the way from Singapore! Thanks for popping by our humble little city though. :)

cayce, yes I admit I didn't find the RWMF as enjoyable as most others have. *sheepish* To me, the best parts of the fest were Shannon, the Ivory Coast drummers, the company I was with and the fanatic crowd at the evening show. I heard the gypsy dance was great but I wasn't there on Saturday. Regarding the groping comment: it was a comment from a female friend of mine, and I witness a lot of molestation going on at the dance floor as well. Of course, these were merely actions by the minority instead of the majority. I'm glad you find it fun. :)

Lainie, you? :D

Mirei, eh? The only thing I enjoyed about them was the Thai dance.


True true, but I didn't attend Live 8 - did not manage to get tickets.

And this is a little different. I want to attend a little cultural festival, not always the usual rock festival seeing Pete Doherty attempting to look stoned.

Well, Notting Hill festival is coming soon.


I was there but I didn't see you... Hmmm... Guess Kuching's not that small after all. I mean I meet lots of people but accidental meetings with bloggers are rare for me. Hmmphhh...


Missed it, missed it... :-(


Wah! You also know Joyce?! Small world! 10 cans of beer is a lot? Wahlau eh... I think ah, you needs an alcohol lesson badly, dude! You know where Soho or Grappa is? Haiyoyo, go there and I'll give you an express lesson on alcohol drinking!

Another thing. The RWMF is our very own Woodstock, so accept the fact ler. Grow up and see the world as it really iz! I take it that u dun know that the world's round? LOL Sorryler... u juzt sound sooo GULLIBLE... No offence, Dude!


Whoops! Cacated page... Send, Error, Send, Error! Peelar! Dude, sorry that I'm takin up space, but... I freakin' dun care! NOT! Piss... man! LOL ;)


Xavier: do i know you? The way you post damn pei wei...


RWMF rawks ..
Too bad i missed this yr ..


shal sagan was best friend's and classmates with my sister Daph in standard three when we were still in sarawak.


SS very talented?? uh puh-leaseeee.. she's the most suck singer wannabe!!!! yucksss!!


And what are u? Some miserable jealous fuck face?


Brandon, looks like I'm not the only one being attacked here. :)


Yea man... We'll just have to ignore all those losers... G'day mate.


I've been there the time u were around but it was the previous two RWMF where i was so drunk...(it's a true story) dunno how i mange to climb up the stage half naked and started dancing on the finale....suprisingly some african dude gave the the bass to play with....and some cuban dude hugging me and giving me the mike to sing-a-long....i didnt manage to do the same thing this year....but i manage to smuggle 2 liters of red wine a gin and a vodka plus a cartoon of tiger with ice in a cooler....and still i didnt get drunk.


iam planin to such even in sabah but more to tribal thing. i need sumbody to comment about it. pls send and email to my email adress for comment flopyjoe@hotmail.com


I may be outdated with this post, but I do have both Shannon CD albums, which I spent miserably for RM75 each. Anyway, RWMF 2006's coming soon. Cya!


this comment is 2 yrs late ahhaa... but...
jeez i juz realised those "drunk fools" doing the
"blowing" thing are my drunk crazy frens frm singapore :p
actually wanted to go with them for the festival but too busy working :(


If you like Shannon - Polish celtic band, i'm sure you'll be like the BELTAINE too.



BELTAINE – one of the most interesting Polish folk groups. BELTAINE has made out its own unique sound thanks to the rare and brave skill of mixing traditional Celtic music with modern music.

BELTAINE's concerts are always rousing music performance, which attract by both unconventional instruments, professionalism, virtuosity of musicians, and passion, joy of playing, spontaneity or unparalleled contact with audience.

Since their beginning the group has gained ground not only in Poland, but also abroad. They play about 100 concerts a year, just to mention as prestigious as:

- Celtivales (France, 2007)
- Bustofolk Festival (Italy, 2007)
- Celtica Festival (Italy, 2006 oraz 2007)
- Festiwal Beltine (Czech Republic 2006)
- Ethno-jazz Festival (Moldova 2005)
- Przystanek Woodstock (Poland 2005)
- Festiwal Beltine (Slovakia 2005)
- Festiwal Folkovy Kvitek (Czech Republic 2005)
- FKC w Dowspudzie (Poland 2003)
- Zamek Festiwal (Poland 2003-2007)
- Maj Music Festiwal (Poland 2006 i 2007)

- Rockhill (relase year 2004)
- KONCENtRAD (relase year 2007)

In 2004 group has released their debut album "Rockhill". The audience all over Poland warmly welcomed it and the confirmation of that was a title of THE BEST FOLK ALBUM 2004, received in plebiscite "Wirtualne Gęśle" co-organized by Polish Radio S.A.

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