This year’s Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF 2022), happening in a hybrid format from 17th to 19th June 2022, welcomes performers from all over the world, with some injecting a unique stance of traditional music from their respective countries.
RWMF 2022 Musicians Highlight
All with a distinctive sound to call their own, these artists put a spin on traditional instruments, whether in lute form, strings or even through language.
Representing Sarawak’s neighbouring state, Sabah is a multi-award-winning vocalist and gambus performer, Fauziah Gambus.
Considering how Fauziah was forbidden to play the gambus as a child, she has come a long way from when she would sneak her grandfather’s gambus out to practice behind her house. There were many reasons she wasn’t allowed, with one being how there had never been a woman to play this particular lute instrument.
But she was determined and, after secretly honing her skills, participated in a solo gambus competition in her village dressed up as a boy. It all paid off because she won and accepted the prize as a girl. She even defeated her grandfather in the competition, but he congratulated her with pride instead of being disappointed.
Fauziah’s bold move was only the start of things to come. Her colourful journey of touring the world and performing for royalty inspires young women to explore the world through music. At the same time, her beautiful voice and presence on stage will surely captivate audiences.
She will be joined on stage by her husband, Firlany, a multi-instrumentalist playing more than 30 instruments, and percussionist Achik Walid. Collectively as Fauziah Gambus & the Geng, they will reveal the beauty and wonder of Sabah’s best-kept musical secret.
From Italy and returning to RWMF is iBeddi. This prize-winning folk music group from Sicily was founded in 2005, and its songs are a mix of the Sicilian dialect and Italian. But as their latest album, Non-Chiamateci Folksinger (Don’t Call Us Folksingers), aptly suggests, they are more than just a “folk music” group.
They are more like a peculiar kind of Sicilian folk music described as innovative and modern. But that is expected from a band built around multifaceted musicians from different artistic and musical worlds.
What you get is described as “light folk that borders blues, the most celebrated songwriting in Italy, American country, jazz and many other musical expressions far from traditional Sicilian folk.”
Founded by Sicilian musicians Davide “Tamburo di Aci” Urso and Simona Di Gregorio, the band has released several albums but the song Tarantella Blue, from their 2010 release Siciliazero, won the first prize at Sicily’s New Sicilian Song Festival.
Although co-founder Simona left a few years after the group formed, iBeddi continued to perform and even toured across Italy and several other countries. Today, the band consists of guitarist Mimì Sterrantino, flautist and accordion .player Giampaolo Nunzio, double bassist, Pier Paolo Alberghini and tambourine man, Davide “Tamburo di Aci” Urso (the othe founder).
Also putting a twist on “traditional” music from their country is Dongyang Gozupa from South Korea. They call themselves a progressive rock band based on Korean traditional music accompanied by a Yanggeum (Korean hammered dulcimer), bass and percussions.
This trio is a force unto its own! As expected, the group was formed by Dohyuk Jang, an award-winning percussionist of a rock band in Korea. Also, along with him on this explosive ride through music is celebrated Yanggeum player Eunhwa Yun, and on bass guitar is Minhwi Ham.
Their unique sound has won them a spot at the prestigious Seoul Music Week in 2019 and 2020. They were also invited to perform at Portugal’s 2021 World Music Expo (WOMEX). This year, they will impress at RWMF 2022 and remind you that there is more to music in Korea than just K-pop.
Warsaw Village Band
The music of the Warsaw Village Band could be described as contemporary Polish folk-rock; favouring an ap roach that is rootsy yet experimental, combining Polish folk with a wide variety of non-Polish music — some of it from other parts of Europe, some of it from North America, some of it from Africa and Asia.
The Warsaw Village Band have not been afraid to take chances, and their long list of non-Polish influences has ranged from funk, soul, hip-hop, rock, and the blues to African music
and Indian raga.
Members of the Warsaw Village Band include founder Maciej Szajkowski (drums), Maja Kleszcz (lead vocals and cello); Magdalena Sobczak (lead vocals and dulcimer); Sylwia Swiatkowska (lead vocals, suka); Wojtek Krzak (violin, hurdy-gurdy, and drums) and Piotr Glinski (on drums and percussion).
They have incorporated Swedish Polska and have shown an awareness of Middle Eastern, Arabic, Jewish, Turkish, and North African music along the way.
Rainforest World Music Festival 2022
The Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is back once again, celebrating its 25th anniversary as a hybrid event for the first time since the beginning of the music festival in 1998 from 17-19 June 2022, with the physical concert taking place at Sarawak Cultural Village while viewers can also livestream it from their homes via an online platform.
With the theme “25th Legendary Rainforest Celebration”, RWMF will feature a host of international performers from Canada, India, USA, Finland, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Madagascar, Ukraine, China, Bhutan and Seoul.
And RWMF is showcasing a string of Malaysia’s talents such as Alena Murang, At Adau from Sarawak, Bamboo Woods from Tamparuli, Sabah, Bourbon Lassi from Kuala Lumpur and many more.
Activities at the Festival
The festival is back with its familiar format of daytime workshops and evening concerts with various activities planned throughout the festival. Festival-goers can enjoy craft fairs featuring the best Borneo handicrafts or savour a diverse choice of traditional delicacies from the food bazaars.
The musical workshops bring together diverse musicians from many disciplines, drawing together these talents under unifying themes to showcase, jam and create unique music in the setting of the Sarawak Cultural Village.
Among the activities to look out for are a Sape Gathering’ that brings together anyone who can strum a sape in Sarawak and a kiddie’s workshop to bring on the next generation where they can play with instruments, create art and enjoy the festival ground t their hearts’ contents.
Rainforest World Music Festival Tickets
- Adult 1-Day Pass (RM165)
- Adult 3-Day Pass (RM405)
- Child 1-Day Pass (RM85)
- Child 3-Day Pass (RM195)
- 1-Day Family Package Pass- 2 Adult and 2 Children (RM440)
- The virtual tickets are priced at RM25 per one-hour block
The Rainforest World Music Festival 2022 is its 25th anniversary and is a hybrid format where visitors will experience live and telecasted performances throughout the event.
The RWMF 2022 Musicians Highlight is a special article focusing on selected musicians performing at this world-renowned music festival, held at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong, Sarawak.