Penang World Music Festival 2013 Opens at the Khoo Kongsi

Khoo Kongsi in Penang

Khoo Kongsi in Penang – Photo by Angel Romero

The official opening of the Penang World Music Festival took place on March 29, 2013 at the historical Khoo Kongsi. Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi, or Khoo Kongsi for short, is a large Chinese clan house with elaborate ornaments and architecture, a symbol of the Chinese influence and heritage in Penang, Malaysia. It is renowned worldwide for its extensive lineage that can be traced back 650 years ago.

Penang’s Chief Minister, Mr. Lim Guan Eng, welcomed the artists, media and other guests to the Penang World Music Festival. Participants were treated to a delicious selection of local food that included char koay teow (flat noodles), curry mee (noodles in a bowl), roti canai (flat bread with gravy), satay (chicken kebabs with peanut sauce), nutmeg cordial (nutmeg juice), nasi lemak (coconut rice wrapped in a leaf with sambal, anchovies or egg) and a desert called ais kacang (shredded ice).

Oranitza members and Kipri at the opening ceremony

Oranitza members and Kipri at the opening ceremony – Photo by Angel Romero

The Penang World music Festival is an annual international event held in the island state of Penang, which is part of the Malaysian Federation. Penang is an attractive tourist destination, known for its world heritage architecture, beaches and commerce.

As an appetizer, two of the artists scheduled to perform at the festival played a few songs. The first was Andean band Inka Marka. The group plays melodic music from the Andean region of South America.

The next act was the impressive Bulgarian band Oranitza. They perform an engaging mix of Bulgarian traditional music with global music elements such as Australian didgeridoo and Peruvian cajon. The group includes musicians four male musicians and singers accompanied by two members of the vocal group called Kipri. In this case it was mother and daughter Sanka Grozdanova and Iliyana Naidenova respectively. The female vocalists displayed the mesmerizing western Bulgarian-style of singing.

Oranitza TV performance

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About ARomero

Angel Romero has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusicportal.com, worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. In the TV area, Angel co-produced Musica NA, a music show for TVE (Spain) that featured world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina.