Rainforest World Music Festival Kicks Off at Kuching Waterfront

Joaquin Diaz - photo by Angel Romero
The opening ceremony of the 2011 edition of the Rainforest World Music Festival took place in the evening on July 7th, at the Kuching waterfront. The event was attended by state government dignitaries, performers, media, staff and volunteers. Artists were honored with mementos as appreciation for their participating in the festival.

Two artists were invited to perform at the event, the Joaquin Diaz band and the Sape All Stars. Montreal-based Dominican accordionist Joaquin Diaz has become one of the most popular and ubiquitous figures in this year’s festival. The tireless musician can be found jamming late in the evening at the hotel lobby and joining other musicians on stage. On July 7th he played his fiery merengue, accompanied by a group of seasoned musicians from the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Panama. Members of the audience got into the Latin rhythms quickly and people started dancing. Members of Victor Valdez’s band joined Joaquin Diaz and his band, in an all out Latin music fest.

Masters of Sape - photo by Angel Romero
The evening concluded with a laid back performance byf the Masters of the Sape, a local band band formed by the best performers of the sape from the Orang Ulu ethnic group of Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo). The three members of the band include Asang Lawai, Tegit Asat and Matthew Ngau Jau. The sape is the beautiful boat-shaped lute found in Borneo that has a sweet melodic sound.

Dancers - photo by Angel Romero
The Masters of the Sape performance included the presentation of a much different style of dance, indigenous to Sarawak. Two female dancers dressed in traditional outfits showed the graceful and mesmerizing slow type of dancing from the Orang Ulu folk tradition.

Read the whole Rainforest World Music Festival 2011 series:

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