KUCHING, 3 May 2022: The Rainforest World Music Festival is back from 17 to 19 June 2022 to celebrate its 25th year with more heart-racing, foot-stomping world rhythms from the jungle stage of Sarawak.
Adopting a Hybrid format for the first time in Malaysian festival history returns to the Sarawak Cultural Village under the banner “Legendary Rainforest Celebration”.
The full festival experience will be simultaneously live-streamed worldwide so that everyone can feel the rhythm of the Rainforest wherever they live.
This festival has grown into one of the most anticipated World Music events on the international calendar, and this year will not disappoint.
It offers equal excitement for the world music aficionado and the fun-seeking festival-goer alike. Held at the Sarawak Cultural Village, it will blend Sarawak’s natural landscape and the sound of its many cultures with the music of the world, featuring 60 performers from a host of countries, including Korea, Canada, China, India, Mexico and almost everywhere in between.
This year sees more individual acts than ever before on the Rainforest stage, some live at the Sarawak Cultural Village, and some beamed in by the power of modern technology. This year, the festival welcomes Bluguru from Australia, a group that sets the soundwaves singing with their incredible blend of musical styles from Bluegrass to Blues, Indian to Celtic, Swing, Jazz and adventure too. The audience can enjoy the rapid switches from one genre and one instrument to another, backed by soaring vocal harmonies, blistering guitar and fiddle.
It will also feature Timo Väänänen, the leading exponent of Finland’s national instrument, the kantele. He will seamlessly blend the traditional model with the modern, electrical 39-string version to give the Sarawak audience a taste of a haunting and unique sound which has graced film, 25 albums and five solo CDs.
If that isn’t enough for today’s teaser, the organisers promise to fly in Randrianantoandro Clément, direct from Madagascar. Better known as Kilema, he burst onto the music scene as part of the Justin Vali Trio, playing his Marovany, Kabosy and Katsa, guitar and percussion, respectively. He blends the sounds of his rich and rhythmic heritage with his experience of the world, drawing from diverse musical styles to produce a sound entirely his own.
But these three are just a taste of what is on offer, to be announced as the weeks to the festival tick down.
The Hybrid Format
For those watching RWMF from home, online viewers will enjoy two hours of performances through the dedicated festival platform, combining live stream action at the Sarawak Cultural Village with original curated content. Sign up for one hour priced at MYR25, then extend for another when the rhythm moves you. Or just book two hours in advance over all three evenings.
Expect the same grand performances from global acts, but this time alternating with curated original video material, showing a range of local and international performers in their own environments.
This year is a celebration, but it is also about legacy building. Randy Raine Reusch, the founder of RWMF, returns to the stage and, behind the scenes, the guiding hand of the artistic content. He is joined by two rising stars of Sarawak music, Alena Murang and Bob Meldrick of At Adau, as Randy passes the baton to the next generation of musicians who grew up with this festival. Our two Sarawak performers share their award-winning experience of video production and international travel with the next set of performers to appear on the stage that first welcomed them.
Workshops and Activities
All the best of the festival returns for all those familiar with the format, alongside our many surprises. The Sarawak Cultural Village, itself an award-winning venue displaying all the traditional lifestyles of this amazing state, is home again to food bazaars from this newly-crowned Creative City of Gastronomy under UNESCO and Craft fairs featuring the best of Borneo handicrafts. Get an indigenous hand tap tattoo, enjoy a meal and learn something new under the shadow of our magic mountain, even before the sun goes down and the evening show begins.
The environment is the making of Sarawak, so food vendors will follow the highest standards in recycling and waste reduction. RWMF aims to be truly sustainable, avoiding single-use plastics and promoting environmental appreciation. All this is in line with Sarawak Tourism Board’s campaign for Responsible and Sustainable tourism, supporting communities and the environment that shaped them alike.
The festival’s workshops are the defining feature of the festival, bringing together musicians from many disciplines. Drawing together these talents under unifying themes showcases festival-goers can join jam sessions in the setting of the Sarawak Cultural Village. The Friday opening sessions will kick off the ‘Sape Gathering’. The organisers are recruiting anyone who can strum a sape in Sarawak for a grand sape jam session.
Early Bird ticket sale is happening now until 14 May 2022 for both the physical and virtual concerts. Those interested in the physical concert can grab tickets in the different categories – Adult 1-Day Pass (MYR150), Adult 3-Day Pass (MYR375), Child 1-Day Pass (MYR80), Child 3-Day Pass (MYR155) and 1-Day Family Package Pass- 2 Adult and 2 Children (400). The physical tickets are available for purchase via rwmf.net.
The virtual blocks will feature handpicked artists that will showcase the allure of world music from both Sarawak and the international stage. Audiences can choose to buy the virtual block of one hour each depending on their preferred lineup. Virtual tickets will be sold at a later date which will be announced soon.
(Your Stories: Sarawak Tourism Board)