Thursday, August 22

STB moves up value chain with music expo

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(From right) Gerald and Rashid listening to Mathew playing sape.

KUCHING: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) has for 17 years now been organising the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) as a leisure event and the board feels that it is now ready to move up the value chain and come up with a business event – Borneo World Music Expo – which was mooted last year.

“This is also to position Sarawak as a destination for art, culture and music,” STB CEO Datuk Rashid Khan told a press conference here yesterday.

He added that this event will grow the meeting and exhibition segments related to music.

It is the ambition of the board to grow this event into a world recognised annual exposition for the professionals and the trade visitors within the international music scene.

Scheduled to be held a week before the RWMF, the expo will integrate a trade fair, musical showcases, conferences, exhibitions and networking sessions which could promote culture and music.

“It is specially designed to expose Asian and ethnic musicians to the international market,” he said.

According to him, the main objective of the expo is to draw especially foreign tourists to Sarawak a week prior to the RWMF for business and leisure and see for themselves the culture, nature and adventures that are the niche product offerings of Sarawak, Borneo.

“While the rainforest is about entertainment, the Expo is about the trade networking, information dissemination and business behind the entertainment industry,” he said.

He said the expo seeks to be the market place where professionals come to present or to hire their services.

On the other side, programmers need to have a big pool with vast variety to consider and to choose from when it comes to selecting the line-up for their events.

The expo is about bringing two parties together where they will have a chance to show and tell and buy and sell, he said.

After the expo last year, local sape player and maker Matthew Ngau Jau and his group Lan Ee Tuyang was taken on by BWME guest Birgit Ellinhaus from Germany. She brought him to Germany where he appeared in concerts and radio.

The expo continues to be guided by famous music expo organiser in Europe, Gerald Seligman.

The organiser had invited programmers from all over the world to come to Sarawak to see 10 showcase bands from some of the best traditional and world music artists throughout Asia.

They will be hosting a select group of many of the most prestigious concert and festival programmers from all over the world including those from Austria, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and UK.

According to Gerald who was also present at the press conference, the session will include professionalism on how to present themselves to agents, how to write press kits, do photo shoots and how to get hired.

Also, they would be exposed to opportunities in Asian networks and festivals and opportunities to go to international scene.

“Apart from attracting business tourists, the expo also aims to create foundation for local artists and musicians to make better livings,” he said.

He said in order for a musician to succeed, he needs talent, skills and luck. Therefore, the organiser had invited selected group of people from all over the world for them to develop their network with.

“Any musician who wants to professionalize can benefit from this expo,” he said.