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Rainforest's Musicmakers

By Catherine Goh

Sarawak's Native Dancers

Sarawak native dance accompanied by drum beats

Music is a universal language. It transcends the boundaries of language, ethnicity and religion. Sarawakians certainly find it fitting that the Rainforest World Music Festival is staged in the state capital of Kuching as they have long prided themselves of having transcended boundaries.

"This is Sarawak's main international event in our tourism calendar and we except it to grow in stature every year to become a 'must see' event in the region," says Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Sri Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg.

He says the celebration of culture and music highlights Sarawak's cultural traditions as well as the majesty of its forest. Local artistes will also share the stage and workshops with fellow musicians from Africa, Europe, America, the South Pacific and Asia to make it a truly global festival.

Now into its fifth edition, it will once again held at the Sarawak Cultural Village at Santubong, about 35 kms away from July 12 to 14 this year. The State Tourism Ministry is expecting an even bigger response from local and foreign audiences this year.

Sarawak musicians like Tuku Kame and Jerry Kamit will be playing alongside the international groups while the sape being the emblem for the festival will make its special appearance. The Chinese traditional orchestra from Kuching will be bringing the largest troupe on stage to date.

Back by popular demand are the favourites of the 2000 Festival, the Andean group Inka Marka with their haunting tunes from the Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Bolivian and Chilean Andes.

Other exciting line-up of performers include the tarantelle dance music from Naples by Spaccanapoli, a capella singingand dance group Black Umfolosi from Zimbabwe, soulful songs and ancient from Belarus by a three-member group Troitsa, the warriors from Easter Island-Matato's and Turkish-Arabic music by Oriental Mood.

There will also be sarode and tables from India with Avijit Ghosh, Asian percussion by Asena Percussion Unit from Kuala Lumpur, fascinating Vietnamese instruments brought in by Khac Chi Ensemble as well as the highlanders, the Garifuna All Star band from Belize.

Source: Borneo Bulletin Sunday



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