Sounds of Asia Ruled on Saturday at Rainforest World Music Festival 2012

Khusugtun
Photo by Pein Lee, courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board
Saturday is the main day at the three-day long Rainforest World Music Festival. Saturday brings the largest crowds and July 14th, 2012 was no exception. The night opened with the local flavor of the gongs of Malaysia. Next came one of the highlights of the festival, Mongolian group Khusugtun. The Ulaanbaatar-based group celebrates the nomadic heritage and expansive green pastures of its native homeland with an exquisite selection of musical pieces that showcase instrumental virtuosity and mesmerizing throat singing. Although the first throat singings acts that that became popular in the West came from the Russian republic of Tuva, nearby Mongolia is also renowned for its throat singers.

Khusugtun members include Ariunbold Dashdorj on horse head fiddle, double bass, and throat singing; Batzorig Vaanchig on horse head fiddle and throat singing; Adiyadorj Gombosuren on drums and throat singing; Amarbayasgalan Chovjoo on zither; Chuluunbaatar Oyungerel on horse head fiddle and throat singing; Ulambayar Khurelbaatar on tovshuur lute and throat singing

Danyèl Waro
Photo by Pein Lee, courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board
Danyèl Waro brought his award winning sounds of Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean to the smaller Tree Stage. He is one of the musicians involved in preserving a traditional island style known as maloya. The maloya rhythm accompanied plantation workers, who sand about their joys and woes.

Danyèl Waro lives in the middle of sugarcane fields in Saint-Paul and is one of the most famous maloya singers in Reunion Island. Waro sings maloya in creole, using traditional instruments such as kayanm, a flat instrument made from cane flower stems and filled with saffron seeds; bob, a musical bow attached to a calabash for resonance (known as berimbau in Brazil); rouler which literally means “rollers,” a big drum made from barrels with a cow skin head. Waro’s songs depict love, death or politics.

Diplomats of Drum
Photo by Pein Lee, courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board
Waro was followed by Diplomats of Drum, a group from the Kuala Lumpur area of peninsular Malaysia. The large multi-ethnic band combines a powerful mix of Punjabi and Malay rhythms with Afro-Celt style Celtic music and other global music elements.

Diplomats of Drum band members include Rav on sitar, didgeridoo, djembe, dhol, berimbau, cajon, darbuka, cuica, backing vocals, additional percussion; Param on bagpipe, surdo, additional percussion; Sanggat on dhol, tabla, darbuka; Satpal on surdo, tabla, dhol, guitar, additional percussion; Christy on saxophone, keyboards, snare, side drum, jembe, dhol; Harvey on bass, jembe, acoustic guitar, surdo; Rashidee on rebana, gendang melayu, conga, additional percussion; Charles on bass; Sat on dhol, tabla, dholki, vocals, additional percussion; Bhanu on lead guitar; Geeka on traditional Malay percussion; Ravi on drum kit, jembe, snare, side drum; and Perfs on bagpipe, clarinet, lead vocals.

Cankisou
Photo by Pein Lee, courtesy of Sarawak Tourism Board
Brazilian band Raiz de Cafezal, which hails from Magalhães Barata in Brazil’s northern coffee lands, brought a mix of carimbó rhythms, Brazilian songs from other regions and even a version of the popular Mexican song Cielito Lindo.

The headliner of the night was a group unknown to many of the festival goers. Cankisou (pronounced chankisu) is one of the best known bands from the Czech Republic and presented an energetic vision of world music, combining the power of rock with global music elements. The group is led by the charismatic vocalist Karel Herman.

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