Book covers festival’s 20 years of song and rhythm

KUCHING: ‘Rainforest World Music Festival – 20 Years of Song and Rhythm in Sarawak’ covers Sarawak’s internationally acclaimed music festival over the last two decades.

It contains spreads of colour photographs along with information on the logistics and machinery of the festival that few think about.

It would be impossible to capture the true atmosphere and music of the festival between the pages of a book, and the authors did not bother trying.

Instead, they looked into the evolution of the venue, Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV), the complementary events and bazaars, and how other aspects of indigenous culture – crafts, food, tattoos – are being brought forward.

It’s easy to think that the book is about the festival but it is really about the people – those who pushed for it to begin, those who guided its baby steps, those who came as volunteers and stayed as part of the backbone, and those who got word out to the world.

It’s about those who went to earlier festivals, and left dreaming that one day they would be the ones on stage.

It’s about long-time guardians of indigenous music and instruments, and how more young people are playing the sape today than back when RWMF started.

It’s about personal and corporate responsibility, and countering any environmental damage created by bringing thousands of people to Kuching and the Santubong Peninsula for a weekend.

‘Rainforest World Music Festival – 20 Years of Song and Rhythm in Sarawak’ comes in hard cover (RM200) and paperback (RM180).

The 164-page book by Gracie Geikie and Lah Wan Yee was officially launched by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah on Wednesday.

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