TRAD. ATTACK! from Estonia are first time performers at the RWMF this year.
THIS YEAR’S RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL (RWMF) from July 12 – 14 is expected to draw a capacity crowd of over 24,000 with world music fans converging at the iconic Sarawak Cultural Village and at Damai Central. More than 100 satellite events lined up over the 3-day festival. And it all morphs into nightly concerts with some of the best contemporary world music and musical styles that find their roots in far flung corners of the world. Performances – The 22nd edition of RWMF will feature more than 30 bands with 30 nationalities and more than 200 performers. They are from far reaches of the world such as Rapa Nui/ Chile, New Zealand, Spain, China, France, Vietnam, Colombia, Morocco, Ireland, Scotland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Mongolia, Japan, Russia, Madagascar, Iran, Cape Verde, bands from Sarawak, and West Malaysia.
There are also bands and cultures from countries that have never performed at RWMF such as Nagaland, Bhutan, Canary Islands, Mauritius, Jamaica, Estonia, Ainu from Japan and West Kalimantan Dayaks. Closer to home bands from Sarawak and West Malaysian bands join in this heady mix of musical cultures. 5 Stages for RWMF – Daytime concerts are held at the indoor Theatre Stage in the afternoons. The music performed here is more chamber-style with small and intimate groups. The nightly shows are held at the two main outdoor stages, the Jungle Stage and the Tree stage where shows alternate smoothly without breaks. Last year, the Emerging Band’s Stage was created and this year, an additional stage, the Indigenous Stage will offer more colour and intensity of activities that include a glimpse of tribes and culture from different parts of the world.
Mini Sessions – These encompasses everything from themed music demonstra- tions to interactive workshops to unex- pected mini performances and one-off collaborations, are spread throughout the afternoons. There will be diverse interactive mini sessions to choose from. This year, festival goers can observe unique customs and rituals of the tribal groups of Sarawak such as a series of Bidayuh Gawai Ritual and Iban blessing rituals. Lifestyle & Wellness in the Rainforest
This year’s Lifestyle & Wellness Programme at RWMF is all about a celebration of the body and soul. Festival goers can stretch in yoga or Pilates classes, space out with meditation, dance in zumba and belly dance classes or join the fun in line dancing or even embrace the gentle movements of Tai Chi. For fitness enthusiasts there is shadow boxing classes and a whole gamut of self defence classes such as Brazilian Jujitsu, Silat, Capoeira, or Muay Thai. There is even tarot reading sessions thrown in the mix. These activities, held at designated venues start at 11am until 1pm, and continue in the evenings after the Mini Sessions finish. Cultural Snippets – The Cultural Snippets @ RWMF organised by Friends of the Sarawak Museum (FOSM) is a superb glimpse into gems of Sarawak and its traditions and beyond.
Topics this year range from costumes of Chinese women to weaving methods of the Austronesian culture to the coffee culture in Sarawak. Gathering of the Tribes and Drum Circles- These are interactive sessions where the audience joins in. Gathering of the Tribes is a get-together of different yet related tribes from Nagaland, Kalimantan and Sarawak’s indigenous groups. A different tribe will lead in a long dance each day. This is followed by highly popular Drum Circle led by 1 Drum.org. Tutorials – Sape’ tutorials are held at the Rainforest Music House and attendees must register ahead of time. Percussion tutorials by 1 Drum.org are held at the Chinese House on Friday and Sunday afternoon and open to the first 20 people who register. Sarawak Biodiversity Centre @ RWMF –
The Sarawak Biodiversity Centre @ RWMF bring their research and products and knowledge of Sarawak’s flora along with information on their medicinal and aesthetic qualities. What About Kuching (WAK) @ RWMF – WAK @ RWMF make their debut this year as artists, artisans, poets, sports trainers, and filmmakers from the Kuching community liven up the atmosphere at Damai Central located right next to the Sarawak Cultural Village. There is also a Fireside Chat by Cat Sound on Saturday featuring a panel of international festival directors who are coming to the festival. Rainforest World Crafts Bazaar (RWCB) @ RWMF – RWCB @ RWMF organised by Craft Hub is a suk of arts and crafts and activities by local, regional and inter- national artisans.
The RWCB takes place from 10.30am to 8.30pm and adds a vibrant dimension of browsing, souvenir- shopping, hands-on experiences of Borneo crafts and world-wide links to the music festival.DJ After Party Stage – After parties are held at The Big Tent. These start after the main performances of the night end and will go on till 2am. DJ’s who will take turns each night are from UK/Jamaica, Kuala Lumpur and Russia.
RWMF is not just about the music. A stunning location by the beach and the organic element of being right smack in a tropical rainforest – the mix of holistic events in the day, a diverse world music line-up, top notch production, the incredible culture, the crowd, and the overall experience are all the factors that makes the RWMF truly memorable.