Friday, April 4, 2008

Black Umfolosi Videos is UP! Watch it!

This is their famous boot dance! IngQuZu! Enjoy it! The second one is their A-capella singing which was at RWMF 2007! Do you like it? Any opinions to share?

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Alright! I have talk about few popular performers from the RWMF and they are the performers who came back for the 10th anniversary of RWMF. Ya, it was started way way back on year 1997. So, how old were you at that time? Hm! I was only 13 yrs old. Young eh? Okay, lets have a little flash back of their history. I would like to talk about the first 3 years which are 1997, 1998 and 1999. Here will be the 1st year!

The 1st year (1997)
As we knew, the origins of this whole event were created by Randy Raine-Reusch. A little recap again about how he brought this event up. He was in Sarawak recording traditional music for a CD called "Sawaku" which is the music of Sarawak for Pan Records and in this process he had a numbers of meetings with fellow Canadian Robert Basiuk, who was the deputy chief executive officer of the Sarawak Tourist Board.

So, it all started with just 1 topic which is the rapidly dissappearing of local musical traditions and they wanted to recontextualize the music which were some of the no longer practiced headhunting rituals. Then, Randy suggested a festival of traditional music but Robert replied that he had already suggested that idea but there are no response to it. But then surprisingly, Edric Ong which was the president of the Society Atelier Sarawak took up the idea and presented it to the society which then decided to present a modest festival at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong.

So, the mandate of the festival was to promote and preserve the unique cultures of Sarawak which is to have the local artists stand side by side with International artists. Finally, the festival was approved and it is going to happen. At the first year, Randy Raine-Reusch have a comphrehensive plan for the fest which included details ranging from booking the artists to garbage collection and he decided to run the fest for 3 years only.

Randy then oversaw the creation of the 1st festival, with the support of a large number of volunteers, as well as numerous community and govt' agencies. The artist are mainly selected by committee which are the members of the Society Atelier Sarawak with Raine-Reusch in the lead. So, the fest was opened on a Friday night with a number of acts on the main stage and Saturday and Sunday's program feature 4 hrs of workshops on a number of small venues, followed by mainstage events in the evenings. The themes of the fest. range from “Sting Things” to “Songs I Never Sang”.


They are more emphasize on the combining of musicians from the longhouse with international artists in which at that time totally amaze the internationals with their skills and ability to improve (It's often for the first time always, right?) The very first year actually was about 1500 people in attendance, so it was very well received, right? Imagine the festival was a hit! It's 1st year artists included groups from Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, as well as many of the diverse indigenous communities of Sarawak, including the Iban, Kenyah, Kayan, Bidayuh, and Melanau peoples. Raine-Reusch performed with his group ASZA at this festival. I guess it was a BLAST, RIGHT? Something really new at that time. Eventually, to compare with today its already 10 years already but it is still a blast and it will be more than a blast year by year goes....


I will stop here for the 1st year and next will be for the 2nd year....there are few pics posted which is Randy in S'wak. Non of RWMF 1997 pictures able to retrieve. So sorry, friends!
Happy Reading! :D

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Khac Chi @RWMF2007 & Slideshow (Aware of the Instruments)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Vietnam's Duo Performer - The Khac Chi

The Khac Chi are the sounds of Vietnam which duo musician. They perform exquisite music on rare and unique instruments. The instruments will be introduced later at here. The rich musical tradition of Vietnam is 4000 year history. They are popular for their musical skills innovation throughout Vietnam which their musics take you an adventure in sound. They have also won numerous awards for excellence, as well as many invitations for international appearances is because of their rare talents and super musicianship.

The duo are couple and they are the duo who perform as the Khac Chi. Besides performing for the Rainforest World Music Festival, they perform for the World of Music Arts and Dance Festival and also play at National Symphony Orchestra of Latvia. Their very first came for the Rainforest World Music Festival was 2002 and last year they came again bringing instruments that have never seen anywhere before which some of them have existence of 4000 years. This shows the Vietnamese have very strong inclination of music, right? Can you imagine an instrument from 4000 years ago? Crazy? Amuse? Interesting? Amazing or Miracle? Gosh I couldn't believe too. Anyway, go on about the duo before we go into the instruments part I am going to intro.

Ho, Chi Khac (pronounced: Ho, Chee Kac)
He is the world premiere virtuoso on the Dan Bau (a one string zitter). He compose music and research about music. He attended the National School of Music iat Vietnam and he was heard at concerts throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His very first award was on 1982 Vietnam Competition of Professional Instrumentalists which is first prize. Follow on was the Golden Award at the1985 International Folk Festival of World Youth in Moscow, and First Prize in the government's annual Improvement of Traditional Instruments of Vietnam in 1988. So, think about it? 1982! Gosh I was not even in this world yet. Amazing guy who loves music so much that and he got the talent of it!

Hoang, Ngoc Bich (pronounced: wong, ngoc bic)
Now here, this is Chi Khac's wife (a beautiful Vietnamese lady) who is an exceptional vocalist, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. She also like her husband specializes on the Dan Bau and also variety of very rare instruments from Vietnam's rural and mountainous regions. The RARE instruments are such as t’rung (bamboo xylophone), k’longput (percussion tubles), and ko ni. She was the first woman to won the First Prize for Dan Bau in the 1988 Vietnam Competition of Professional Instrumentalists. Isn't she great? Wow! I guess she really makes a lot of woman proud at that time and of course till now.

The Famous ONE STRING zitter - Dan Bau
It's tall curved stem are made from water buffalo horn inserted at one end. It produces characteristic high clear sound but not a very loud instrument because it was traditionally used in more intimate environments. Isn't it sound romantic?

A special form of stick fiddle that can only found in Vietnam which is a one string violin. The specialty about this instrument is the player's mouth act as the resonating chamber and precise movements of the lips and the tongue creates a broad range of tonal colors and emotional expression which give the K'ni its unique sound. The sounds will altered which almost evoke like human's pronounciation. That shock you??? Well, I did not get to see them last year because they did not perform on d first night! So sad, righT? So got to go this year if they are coming again! :D

I have introduced 2 of their famous instruments and the rest will be put on a slide show after this post for you to have a look. If more information needed, you can go to their website

- Khoomei: HUUN HUUR TU

Khoomei is the art of throat singing. It is one of many ancient arts springing from what is now the Russian Republic of Tuva which lies between Mongolia and Siberia. As mentioned in 2 previous post it is known to be the oldest forms of music making and it is part of the ritual of mimicking nature by the TUVAN.
The word Khoomei is described as throat singing and there are actually other styles like sygt and kargyraa which all these are overtones that can be done by the voice. This voice will produced a deep note and then harmonics layered on top of it which one can be a humming sound in the mid-range, and there will be a high whistling tone that can be moulded into a melismatic melody by the embouchure ( a wind instrument which player blows directly) of the singer's lip. So, sometimes there are 3 different pitches be heard from 1 person. It is done by 1 person at a time in an A-capella style for the Tuvan.

So, now! Do u feel amazed about the throat singers? Well, let's get into some details about the performers that perform the art of throat singing at our Sarawak famous Rainforest Musical festival?
The group that perform as the Khoomei are HUUN HUUR TU. The performers are :
Kaigal-ool Khovalyg

Sayan Bapa (Bapa is a versatile string instrumentalist, and performs on the doshpuluur, igil and acoustic guitar)

Radik Tolouche (Tiuliush) - He study igil at Arts School (Kyzyl).

Alexei Saryglar
Saryglar makes his mark as a sygyt singer, and his expertise with traditional Tuvan percussion and string instruments naturally extends into the art of piano playing.
As we know the Khoomei is usually done by 1 person but the HUUN HUUR TU has layered their four voices together and as a result can sound like a whole choir so they will be exrtraordinary and unique. Isn't that interesting to hear few different pitches jz made by a throat? It's name HUUN HUUR TU is a household name in the world music circles. Besides using their throat they have variety of instrument like:

igil (a Tuvan horsehead cello), khomus (mouth harp),

doshpuluur (Tuvan banjo), and the tungur (shaman drum). Their first appearance at RWMF was 2003 which they are the central Asian groups which have been a favourite exotic colour at the event. In year 2007, the 10th anniversary of RWMF they are brought back to entertain their music lovers.

How amazing it is about this performers and they are such an ancient follower of music singing? If you people are interested, hopefully this year RWMF will have their appearance on the stage so that you can open your eyes and ears to enjoy their performance which is really GReaT! I hope to get some of their music in some of our posts so be patience guys! And try to comment about what do you think? Thats all for todayyy.....:)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Performer of RWMF - Black Umfolosi

Black Umfolosi

On the left: When they were young

They were
first formed 15th March 1982 at George Silundika Primary School in Ntabazinduna and 1983 moved to Nyamandlov. It starte because the boarding school have no facilities to entertain children during weekends and one evening the campfire children started singing at random the community songs. It was so much enjoyed by both the children and school staff that it was suggested the formation of a school choir. Last year, 2007 were their 25th anniversary and they came for the RWMF 10th year anniversary so it was a double celebration for them at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

The popularity of The Group was such that they soon caught the eye of some international booking agents and they started touring outside Zimbabwe. They were just an harmonic A-capella singer and traditional Dance group. The original six members have developed their skill and their organization point where the now 18 members provide a multitude of services in the performing arts industry in Zimbabwe and internationally.

They sung in close, rich harmony and addressing general human concerns - love, family, spirit as well as contemporary problems - like wars, apartheid, the environment and AIDS. Their music gives the audience a fresh and surprising, not only for the interesting text but for their typical intricate rhythms, unusual harmonies and interspersed clicking, clapping and shouting which combine to produce a natural funky and rugged aura. Their music instrument are mostly drums and vocal only.
They always include a dance called the INGQUZU. The dance INGQUZU is believed to have originated from the miners who slap their boots to remove the dust and mud and discovered that it could be a form of entertainment for them. So you can see the picture that they usually dressed like miners, which means wearing yellow, red and white miner's hats and rubber boots without any shirts on. So, can you imagine this tapping, smacking and slapping dance can actually bring all the audiences in RWMF to get on their foot to dance with the Black Umfolosi? They are the group that really amuse me when I was at RWMF last year and in which I won't regret for going just to watch an amusing group of musicians from Zimbabwe! They are really good so two thumbs up for them! So what you guys think about this group?

Okay, go on lil bit bout them again. Well, they are actually well known for singing instead of dancing. However, the Black Umfolosi who perform imbube, which is known as the A-capella style of singing has been described as a 'vocal newspaper' because the way they combines entertainment with songs about issues such as global warming, AIDS and children's rights.

P.S: Alright I will stop here about a lil bit detail of my favorite performer at RWMF.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Questions linger on my mind about RWMF

Hi again people! I got few questions here with my point of view to share and I really wonders what you people have in mind?
  • What you guys think about RWMF?

RWMF is an event that you get to see different indigeneous musicians around the world coming to your very own state which really amuse me about what kind of music they have and how well they are to perform for us. My point of view about the event is just to be in the crowd and I guess I do not really know how to enjoy some of the musics performed. But I actually likes the performers from Zimbabwe which is known as BLACK UMFOLOSI - this guys were great as they send musics by tapping their foot and body which they bring everyone's get on the foot just to dance with them as well.

Not forgetting our very own Sarawak groups which are the TABUH PAK AINAL (Sarawak) and ANAK ADI’ RURUM (Sarawak) and of course RANDY RAINE REUSCH (Canada) his music using the violin was really great and that really attract a lot of the audience to be actually listening and enjoying it.

  • What actually attract so many people around the world to visit Sarawak at the month of July in every year just to attend this event?

Well, this festival are unlike like others festival which usually have one of two stages constant stage performances. But this musical festival allowed music fans to choose from a variety daytime workshop, mini recitals, master classes and ethnomusicology interactive lectures which went from 2pm to about 5pm in the evening. It is also a good chance for the music fans to meet up the favorite band members and to get autographed. Besides that, the fans are able to learned about various instruments and influences after rapping with some of the musicians. For example, KHAC CHI duo from Vietnam show their unique and rare instruments at RWMF 2007.

The picture on the left are the HUUN HUUR TU which perform the throat singing known as the art of Khoomei. Audiences are able to see one of the oldest forms of music making which is the art of Khoomei which it is part of the ritual of mimicking nature - the mountains, grasslands, wind, water and light. There are from country of Tuva which lies between Siberia and Mongolia.

Of course besides being gather at cozy place at the Sarawak cultural village and learning about their musics and instruments, there will be food stalls by the local and also handicraft booth.
  • Is it all because of the music performer or any other reason behind it?

I guess it is all about the music performer for most of the audiences as you can see I have list out some of the special performer and intruments we are able to see in this whole festival.

  • Why do they choose to be held in Sarawak instead of other places?

The place was chose to be at Sarawak was because to allowed music lovers to enjoy the resounding rhythms in the heart of the one of the world's oldest rainforest, and it was specifically in a living museum dedicated to preserving the indigenous cultures of Borneo. With the 17 acre of Sarawak Cultural Village served as the venue for the 3 days event so the cramped concert experience non-existents.