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Malaysia Travel Guide

SAN SALVADOR – THE HYPNOTIC VOCALS WITH OCCITAN POETRY

KUCHING: The iconic Rainforest World Music Festival has spawned new ways of thinking about music of other cultures and indeed music from our own backyard. World music, considering its unique features, over the years, promoted intercultural communication between diverse communities within and beyond Borneo. It is a wonderful opportunity to listen to sounds from all corners of the world and learn about different and unique musical instruments.

Take San Salvador for instance, musicians from Correze in south-western France which is part of the Limousin province. The 6 member band combines Occitan poetry with hypnotic vocal harmonies propelled by surging percussion. Occitan is a Romance language spoken in southern France, Italy’s Occitan Valleys and in parts of Spain and Monaco. Their music is rooted in the region’s medieval troubadour traditions and yet circulates between different cultures and musical genres and reaching deep into the region’s folk tradition. Their Occitan polyphony and percussion collective with two tom-toms, one tambourine interspersed with rhythmic clapping, exude energy with skillful, sophisticated orchestration.

Trained by Gabriel Durif who leads in vocals and the tambourine, the band members include Eva Durif on vocals, Thibault Chaumeil and Marion Lherbeil on vocals and tom bas, Laure Nonique Desvergnes on vocals and Sylvestre Nonique Desvergnes on  vocals and drums. There is never a dull moment as their music is full of light and shade. Festival goers will be seduced by their whispers of intimacy, subtle alchemy of sweet vocal harmonies and will be swept away by their rhythmic force. The fact that one doesn’t understand the Occitan language does not even matter – the expressiveness and exuberance of these modern day Occitan troubadours overrides everything.

The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place from July 12-14 at the Sarawak Cultural Village and is organised by the Sarawak Tourism Board, endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth Sports Sarawak.

RWMF2019 SAN SALVADOR

For further information on tickets, festival activities and logistics, please log on to https://rwmf.net/

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Tourism Malaysia

THE WONDERS OF PULAU DUYUNG, TERENGGANU

 

Terengganu, situated on the east coast of Malaysia, is well known as the cultural state of Malaysia, rich in practising traditions, a seafaring history and platefuls of delicious cuisine.

In the state capital of Kuala Terengganu, a riverside city facing the South China Sea, you will find a village community that lives among a maze of inlets and islands such as the one at Pulau Duyung.

Pulau Duyung – literally, Mermaid Island – is not short of wonders as its name suggests. The small village surrounded by rivers is just a 10-minute drive from the city of Kuala Terengganu. In this calm oasis of shady trees and labyrinth of narrow lanes, ordinary village folk, fishermen, event artists and talented craftsmen call it home and welcome visitors into its sanctum.

Artisan boatbuilders

Accessible by road or by boat, the area is well known for its boat-making heritage. At least three main boatmakers remain much sought after on the island, namely, Pak Lah, Pok Awi and Hassan Ali. The craftsmanship of these fine carpenters is much in demand not only among Marang fishermen, but also by boatmen from around the world including Italy, Denmark, Australia and Algeria.

Touted as a vanishing legacy, the result of modernisation, vanishing forests and lack of interest by the younger generation to learn the trade, boatmaking is very much alive in their hearts. It is believed that there are only three boatbuilding yards on this island when just a few years ago, there were a thriving 38!

Working without any physical plans, these craftsmen rely only on their decades-long experience and skills taught to them by their forefathers. Traditional methods and local materials, such as the tree bark of the gelam tree for caulking and water-proofing the vessel, are used. Throughout the year, domestic and international tourists seek out these artisans in their boatyards to admire how they turn sturdy cengal timber into fine handmade boats that cut through the rough South China Sea effortlessly.

Today, these old hands still take in orders to build entire 40-foot boats by hand. You may want to book a handmade yacht once you see their skillful handwork, but mind you, the waiting list is a few years long, and the price is not for ordinary sailors!

Art for the times

Art lovers will be enthralled with the existence of the relatively new Pulau Duyung Gallery in the area, which is as much a cultural commune as it is an art gallery.

Modest in size but not short of talents, the jetty-front gallery organises exhibitions and conducts art workshops, as well as houses many works by local artists.

One of their core successes was in organising the Duyung Art Festival from 2015 to 2017. The festival has since been regarded as the force that connects and welcomes people through culture and arts.

Their previous exhibition entitled “Postcards to Duyung” in 2017 attracted participants from Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Australia, France and Sweden to exhibit about 800 postcards made from original art works. The upcoming one held until January 2019, “Duyung: Kenangan Lalu Mengusik Jiwa” (“Memories of Old Duyung”) is a nostalgic look at Duyung Island in the 1990s and earlier through photographs, artworks and oral expressions.

Built to Last

Among the collection of wooden houses in the area, one building stands out for its unique architecture, the Duyung Old Fort.

Built originally in the 1920’s by the owner and local leader Dato’ Biji Sura, the building curiously combines Malay traditional wooden architecture with European influences. Marvel at the sturdy pillars with Greek and Egyptian influences, the tendrils of Islamic motifs cut into the wooden lattices on the verandah, and the thick walls surrounding the building, believed to have been constructed of bricks and cemented with a concoction of fine sand, lime, honey and egg white.

Within the wall is a complex of houses interconnected in various styles of the Terengganu architecture such as the gabled roof, the five ridge roof, and the Dutch roof. Elements such as rain-water harvesting through ingeniously simple architectural planning, and how the morning light casts shadows through the woodcarvings, are just some of the admirable features to be admired.

In 1986, though, a big flood destroyed much of the house but the Terengganu State government took the effort to restore it to its original glory and opened it as a heritage museum under the auspices of the Terengganu State Museum.

The entrance is free, but do not expect a full-fledged museum as you enter. The display is modest, but enough to give you a glimpse into the lifestyle back in theolden days.

Note: Pulau Duyung is accessible either by the water taxi, car or the Heritage City bus. The water taxi departs from Shahbandar Jetty with the crossing taking less than 10 minutes.

Duyong Art Gallery
Venue:           GP 5, Pulau Duyung Kecil, 20100 Terengganu
Email:            [email protected]
Tel:                 +6019 6340214

Entrance fee: Free

Duyung Old Fort
Open:             Every day except Friday
Time:             9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Fee:                Free
Address:       Pulau Duyung Kecil, 20100 Terengganu
Contact:        National State Museum
Tel:                 +609-622 1444

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Malaysia Travel Guide

CABOCUBA JAZZ Coming To Borneo Jazz

CABOCUBA JAZZ Coming To Borneo Jazz

KUCHING, Thursday – CaboCuba Jazz is coming to the Borneo Jazz Festival this May 12 to 13, at ParkCity Everly, Miri.

Based in the Netherlands, these eight musicians originate from Venezuela, Cape Verde, Colombia, Spain, Puerto Rica and Cuba, led by powerhouse Dina Medina, who won the “Best Female Singer of Cape Verde” in 2012.

Their CD “Rikeza y Valor” was nominated in four categories for the Latin Grammy Awards and was nominated four times at the Cabo Verde Music Awards in 2012, while the band itself has been touring the world and performing in the Havana Jazz Festival in 2014 and an Israel tour in 2016.

Their name describes it all – a fast-paced mash of Cuban and Cape Verde melodies and dance rhythms, seasoned with plenty of on-stage improvisations.

CaboCuba Jazz will be joined by bands from Japan, South Africa, Italy, USA, Taiwan and countries from around the world will be performing at the Festival.

The Festival will be expanding its musical outreach programme, where aspiring musicians can learn the basics of Jazz Keyboard from professional musicians, by introducing additional classes for percussions.

The Festival includes night performances with sitting and dancing areas and a wide lawn for night picnics surrounded by arts, crafts and food stalls.

Further information on tickets, outreach programmes and performers can be found at www.jazzborneo.com.

Borneo Jazz is organised by Sarawak Tourism, endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and is jointly supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Sarawak and partnering with Malaysia Airlines as the presenting sponsor.

Photo credit to Eric Van Nieuwland

Photo by Eric Van Nieuwland

Photo credit to Eric Van Nieuwland

Photo by Eric Van Nieuwland

Issued by:

Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

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Malaysia Travel Guide

MICHAEL VEERAPEN: ARTISTE, MENTOR, STUDENT

MICHAEL VEERAPEN: ARTISTE, MENTOR, STUDENT

KUCHING, Friday – Michael Veerapen, an acclaimed Malaysian Jazz musician, will be performing with the Michael Simon’s Asian Connection at the Borneo Jazz Festival on May 12 to 13, at ParkCity Everly in Miri.

Veerapen is well-known in the Malaysian Jazz scene since his time in funk-fusion band Asia Beat with Lewis Pragasam and has established his place as a Jazz pianist, producer, record studio head and mentor, now with a new title to his name: Student.

Despite his 60 years of age and incredible achievements in the Malaysian Jazz arena, Veerapen intends to pursue his master’s degree in Music at Universiti Sains Malaysia with a research paper focusing on local Jazz composers such as Alfonso Soliano, Tan Sri P. Ramlee and Jimmy Boyle.

Veerapen will also be leading one of the Borneo Jazz Festival’s Outreach Programmes, where the Festival performers provide tutorials and talks with young aspiring musicians. His slot entitled “I Want To Break Free! The art of improvising at the keyboards” takes place on Saturday, May 13 at 9.30 am to 11.00 am.

“On the one hand, there is a group that lacks basic knowledge such as reading notes. On the other is a group with a lot of knowledge but little understanding of what’s happening on the ground,” Veerapan said during an interview with The Star Newspaper earlier this year.

Veerapen’s message of lifelong learning is inspirational in its own right, made more so by his goal in bridging the gap between passionate self-taught musicians and musical scholars, starting with himself.

Bands from Japan, South Africa, Italy, USA, Netherlands, Canada, Taiwan and countries from around the world will be performing at the Festival.

The Festival will be expanding its musical outreach programme, where aspiring musicians can learn the basics of Jazz Keyboard from professional musicians, by introducing additional classes for percussions.

The Festival includes night performances with sitting and dancing areas and a wide lawn for night picnics surrounded by arts, crafts and food stalls.

Pre-sale festival tickets are available now and more information can be found at www.jazzborneo.com.

Borneo Jazz is organised by Sarawak Tourism, endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and is jointly supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Sarawak and partnering with Malaysia Airlines as the presenting sponsor.       

MICHAEL SIMON - PubPhoto - Michael Veerapen

Issued by:

Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

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Malaysia Travel Guide

The Borneo Jazz Festival Is Back

KUCHING – The Borneo Jazz Festival is back celebrating its 12th anniversary year from May 12 to 13 at ParkCity Everly in Miri.

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This year’s Festival features international Jazz names like Laila Biali from Canada, CaboCuba Jazz from the Netherlands and Delgres from Guadaloupe/France.

Laila was named the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) Composer of the Year and Keyboardist of the Year at Canada’s National Jazz Awards, while her album ‘Tracing Light’ was nominated for a JUNO award in ‘Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year’ in 2011. Laila has since gone on to become an internationally acknowledged vocalist and pianist with words of praise from artists such as Sting who said “Laila is an exciting and unique talent, and I admire her greatly”.

CaboCuba Jazz has toured through various Jazz Festivals such as the Havana Jazz Festival in 2014 and Israel tour in 2016 and the lead singer Dina Medina was “Best Female Singer of Cape Verde 2012”. The band formed in the Netherlands but the members and their music is rooted in Cuba and Cape Verde melodies, creating a fast-paced subgenre that borders on adventurous.

Delgres from the Netherlands showcases traditional Blues with an afro-Caribbean accent from the days of Napoleon, which will take you from Louisiana to Guadeloupe and back.

Bands from Japan, South Africa, Italy, USA, Taiwan and countries from around the world will be performing at the Festival.

The Festival will be expanding its musical outreach programme, where aspiring musicians can learn the basics of Jazz Keyboard from professional musicians, by introducing additional classes for percussions.

The Festival includes night performances with sitting and dancing areas and a wide lawn for night picnics surrounded by arts, crafts and food stalls.
Early bird festival tickets are available now and more information can be found at www.jazzborneo.com.

Borneo Jazz is organised by Sarawak Tourism, endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and is jointly supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Sarawak and partnering with Malaysia Airlines as the official sponsor.

BJ2017 ©Pierre Danae

Image shows Delgres band’s album art. Photo Credit: ©Pierre Danae

BJ2017 laila-biali

Image shows Laila Biali, Jazz Pianist and Vocalist from Canada

Photo credit to Eric Van Nieuwland

Image CaboCuba Jazz, from the Netherlands. Photo credit to Eric Van Nieuwland.

 

Issued by:
Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

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