Equal chance for local musicians
by Wilfred Pilo. Posted on July 8, 2012, Sunday
A sape master has called for local music-makers to be given the same opportunity as their foreign counterparts to display their musical prowess at Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2012.
KUCHING: Sape master Mathew Ngau sees Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2012 as a venue where local musicians can perform alongside their overseas counterparts.
“It’s not only a platform for world musicians to converge but also local talents to showcase our traditional music to the world,” he said.
Mathew, an accomplished sape player, pointed out that apart from providing the opportunity for world music fans to see foreign musicians in action, the organisers must also ensure talented local musicians were given every chance to participate.
“The festival should not only be a platform for world but also local music-makers to display their prowess,” he told thesundaypost in prelude to the RWMF 2012.
The RWMF 2012 icon believed local musicans must blend in with local tunes to ensure the festival did not deviate from its goal of allowing local musicians to share the same stage with their international counterparts in fostering the ‘music culture.’
“I don’t think fans only want to see what world musicians have to offer. I’m sure they also want to see what local musicians can deliver. They are equally curious to see both groups (local and international) make music.”
According to him, there are many talented local musicians capable of playing a number of traditional instruments to produce a unique ‘world music’ sound that can make an impact and be appreciated.
“For instance, I play a traditional string instrument that has been around my community for hundreds of years. The sound is unique because it’s like the sound of Nature which makes the sape different from other string instruments that I know of,” he explained.
“There are drums, gongs, flutes and many other local musical instruments that attract world and local music lovers. We, as world music exponents, must highlight this otherwise who would appreciate what we have in this country or from different parts of the world where there are many colourful cultural and traditional music and sounds.
“World music fans come from near and far and I’m sure there is something they look forward to hearing and seeing — and that’s where we can share our cultures and even sell them as tourism products. It’s even better for those who want to make a living out of it. By all means, let your latent musical talents emerge and share them with the world,” he said.
Mathew stressed RWMF should remain as original as possible and not become too commercialised in order to maintain the ethos and essence of local traditional music and also allow other participants to contribute with their own musical styles.
“I hope local musicians will not be too contemporary in their sounds but, where possible, try to produce and play their music in the traditional genre. They must, as far as possible, stick to traditional sounds and songs to ensure they stay close to the festival’s theme of The Rhythm of Borneo.”
Although, he will be away this time around, Mathew is proud he has been made an icon for the festival, saying his heart is with the entire RWMF2012 cast.
“To me, being made an icon shows people appreciate my sape and its soothingly unique sound which blends well with the sound of Nature. I’m proud because it reflects the uniqueness of my community and that of the many local ethnic groups.
“This string instrument is part of our community life, and as an icon for the festival, I’m always proud to share its sound with our people and the rest of the world.”
He is also proud his son, Jeffry Lawai Ngau, will be playing alongside a contemporary sape player Jerry Kamit to entertain and welcome the invited musicians and guests a night before the festival starts.
The Sarawak Cultural Village with a beautiful tropical rainforest and the legendary Mount Santubong in the background will once again welcome musicians and world music fans the world over to the Rainforest World Music Festival 2012 from July 13 to 15.