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Malaysia Travel Guide

EXPLORE EXOTIC FACETS OF MOROCCO’S MUSICAL HERITAGE

Music is fundamental in the Moroccan daily life and it is at the heart of this nation’s cultural heritage. At this year’s RWMF, festival goers will have the rare opportunity to experience the music of Mehdi Nassouli whose passion for preserving Moroccan music is matched by his energetic and engaging stage presence.

Born in Taroudant in southern Morocco, Mehdi experienced the rhythms and sounds of traditional Moroccan culture while growing up. This inspired him to dedicate his life to studying instruments and the voice of his people. He immersed himself in the rhythms and spiritual trance of “Gnawa music practised by his ancestors.

Mehdi was also enamoured by the Malhoune poetic arts and deqqa, a traditional form of art from Taroudant and spent the better part of a decade learning several traditional musical styles across Morocco.

Drawn intrinsically to new rhythms, he took up the guembri, a percussive stringed instrument that is the foundation of Gnawa music and learned to master it from great musicians.

Launched into the international scene by festival director Brahim El Mazned, Mehdi now has many projects and international collaborations where he pushes those traditions ahead with enthusiasm. As a fusion artist, he has collaborated and shared the stage with many international artists. Mehdi was featured on French guitarist Titi Robin’s album Les Rives in 2012 and the two later collaborated on a joint album, Taziri in 2015, with both albums yielding extensive international touring. His collaboration with other genres, such as jazz and hip hop has earned him legions of followers.

Watch him perform at the RWMF 2019 – leading his traditional 5 piece, dazzling the crowd with mesmerizing dance and gnawa percussion, and endearing himself to the audience with his irresistible smile.

RWMF2019 MEHDI NASSOULI

The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place on 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.

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

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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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Malaysia Travel Guide

HA NOI DUO CREATING MAGIC AT RWMF

KUCHING: Ha Noi Duo are two celebrated Vietnamese musicians who were raised with different paths in their music journey. Their music is beautifully organic in essence, yet with unabashedly modern flourishes and they create inspiring work, that casts a lasting spell.

Nguyên Lê is an acclaimed jazz star who needs no introduction. Based in Paris, he collaborates with fellow countrymen. His work with pop singer Tùng Dương that won Best Song, Man of the Year and Best Show of the Year in 2013. His guitar prowess is legendary – elements of rock, jazz and African improvisations.

He has tirelessly built an identity that encompasses both the musical heritage of the East and West. In 1996, he released his first Vietnamese album  ‘Tales from Vietnam’ set the foundation for an amalgation of jazz and indigneous music. Since 2011, he has engaged in numerous collaborations with the music community in Vietnam where he has gained recognition and a legion of fans.

Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ngô Hồng Quang’s background is traditional Vietnamese music. Though is he more than two decades younger than Lê and his Vietnam is far from the war which haunted the previous generation, he has a natural affinity with Lê’s style of music. Moreover, he is a virtuoso in many Vietnamese instruments such as the Đàn Nh, a two-string fiddle he has played since the age of 11 and the Đàn Bu (monocorde), a unique Vietnamese one-string instrument played with bent harmonics. He also plays instruments from ethnic minorities such as the Đàn Tre, a fiddle with vocal resonator like an acoustic vocoder, Đàn Môi (Jews Harp) with which he delivers incredible sounds and also Đàn Tính, a fretless lute with the sounds of Central Asia.

Together, they create magic on the world stage and portray the diversity of Vietnamese music. The two entwine on the melodic heads, while Quang’s seductive vocals, powerful and lyrical, mirror Lê’s own dynamic range. Their performance is colourful, piognant and their music, like their country, is constantly evolving. It aims to raise questions, to excite the senses and capture the listener’s soul. Their resulting works are highly diverse and syncretistic, combining native and western influences.

RWMF2019 HA NOI DUO

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.

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

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Malaysia Travel Guide

MACKA B – STAGING THE REGGAE TO RWMF

KUCHING: UK’s most influential dancehall toaster and festival goers can work up a serious sweat during his most anticipated performance – Macka B will be one of the highlights at Rainforest World Music Festival.

A British-born Jamaican reggae artist, performer and activist with a career spanning nearly four decades in the United Kingdom and Jamaica. He also has built a career on his insanely unique delivery and stage presence, with rough and gravely vocals, complete with a voice unline few others on this planet, Macka B instantly indentifiable sound – rich and emotive. Moreover, He has used his music to push dancehall back towards Rastafarian political consciousness, while bringing elements from other branches of the reggae tree like roots, dub and lovers rock.

Jamaica’s music influence has spread throughout the world and almost everyone is familiar with this island’s reggae that is situated in the sub oceanic basin of the western Atlantic Ocean feature African musical elements that formed the basis of Jamaican music.

Dancehall reggae is described as modern Jamaican music and is a sub-genre of reggae. Often referred to as reggae’s rebellious counterpart, dancehall music first emerged as an underground genre attracting large crowds on street corners, thus resembling a dance hall, hence its name.

A Rastafarian with political consciousness, his songs are devoted to spiritual and social messages. He has many songs hit the No. 1 spot on the Reggae charts, won numerous awards and produced albums that display an ability to move between serious and lighter hearted subject matters. Earlier albums like the landmark Sign of the Times (1986) and Looks are Deceiving (1988) are marked by dark political undertones with a constant eye on the struggle and strive of everyday life.

While fans know him for his music with impressive fan base sprouted following his popularity, the currently on-going “Medical Mondays” web series where he shares his ever-growing knowledge of bodily health and veganism that spawned a surprise smash hit when his raps on the health benefits of cucumbers appropriately titled Cucumba went viral, racking up over a million views.

At Rainforest World Music Festival Macka B will take over the DJ set on the After Party Stage on the Friday night.

RWMF2019 MACKA B

The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place on 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.

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

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Malaysia Travel Guide

SOUND OF AINU FOR THE FIRST TIME

KUCHING: This year edition of RWMF is proud to host Oki Kano representing the Ainu (Japan) for the first time ever.

Growing up in Japan, Oki graduated from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music. He moved to New York in 1987 where he worked as a special effects artist on film productions and returned to Japan in 1992.

The multi-talented musician Oki never knew he was part of a “vanishing” race as many in the tribe chose to keep their heritage a secret. He was already an adult by the time he came to know of his origins. The discovery prompted him to learn Ainu and teach himself how to play the traditional “tonkori” and today performs and produces unique Ainu music influenced with a modern twist.

The Ainu lived for centuries on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido as well as the nearby areas including Russia’s Sakhalin and Kuril Islands. Like many indigenous people around the world, the Ainu have lost touch with their traditional lifestyle after decades of forced assimilation leaving the younger generation in the dark about their heritage.

The “tonkori” has played a vital role in the lives of the Ainu and was used by shamans to communicate with the spirit forces that control the wind, rain, hail and fire, or to disorientate enemies during battle. When Oki first discovered the “tonkori”, he said it was he was being led by his ancestors’ spirit and his feelings that one day Ainu culture would be part of his expression has now come to pass.

He has been on a mission to encourage other Ainu artists to promote their music to the world and is careful to strike a balance between introducing changes and keeping the tradition.

He likens playing the “tonkori” as a weapon “fighting for survival” and that Ainu music must be passed on to the next generation even though it has been filtered through him.

At RWMF, audiences will hear traditional “tonkori” music as well as Oki’s individual compositions highly blending ancient and modern influences.

OKI

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

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

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