Sape music among others on first night of RWMF

Three-member Kalakan singing a lullaby in their native Basque language in a capella.

KUCHING: The first night of the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2014 on June 20 had the crowd listening to strings of Sarawak sape, Cuban Latin music, South Indian ethno beats, and English folk rock at Sarawak Cultural Village.

Hailing from Cuba, Son Yambu played authentic ‘Son Cubano’ or Afro Cuban music that originated in the streets of eastern Cuba over the last century.

Son, which is Spanish for rhythm, is a fusion of Spanish and African rhythms and is the root of all salsa music.

Yuriselys Moreno Soria, the vocalist and minor percussionist of the seven-member Son Yambu band said that it was the first time they were performing at RWMF, and the ambience and culture of Borneo reminded her of her homeland Cuba.

They entertained the crowd with tropical rhythms beaten out on congas and timbales among other instruments, ending their set with Shakira’s 2010 World Cup theme song, ‘Waka Waka’, which was suitable for this FIFA World Cup season.

Kalakan from Basque Country toured with Madonna during her MDNA Tour 2012 and last night were performing for the first time at the RWMF.

Blackbeard’s Tea Party Laura Barber on the fiddle.

They sung in their native Basque language, singing Basque texts from the 16th century as well as playing contemporary music and lyrics by contemporary poets to the beat of drums.

Even when the trio toned down the evening by singing the Basque lullaby in a capella, Kalakan still managed to captivate the crowd.

Made up of three singers and percussionists; Kalakan believed in simplicity, elegance and communicating with emotion.

The last performer of the night was also a first-timer to the RWMF: Blackbeard’s Tea Party from York, England had the crowd calling for more even after they had finished their last song.

The vibe was infectious as they introduced funky folk tunes by mixing the fiddle, squeezebox, guitar and bass.

They lived up to the expectations of being one of the best live bands in the UK in the 2011 Fatea Awards by exuding great energy while singing English folk songs with rock edge.

This year RWMF had 22 bands performing during the night at the Tree Stage and Jungle Stage, plus a new addition of Theatre Stage during the day.

The third stage was reserved for more acoustic, chamber, formal and intimate musical performances to provide a foil to lively, upbeat night performances.

The first two to perform at the festival at the Theatre Stage of SCV at 2pm yesterday were Talago Buni from Indonesia and Horomona Haro from New Zealand.

RWMF was voted for the fifth consecutive year in 2014 as one of the 25 best international festivals by renowned world music magazine Songlines.

The other performers of the night were the Bisayah Gong Orchestra from Limbang, Sape & Warrior and Karinthalakoottam from India.

Stuart Giddens playing the melodeon during Blackbeard’s Tea Party set.

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