MIRI: Country music remains popular among music lovers around the world despite stiff competition from other genre, especially rock music that appeals to youngsters.
Members of seven bands for the 3rd Miri Country Music Fest (MCMF) that begins today fully agree that country music, although many refers to it as old folks music, does appeal to the younger generation.
“In my early days, I struggled to sing country music but over time, I love it and now my wife Le Anne and I earn a living from country music.
“And our fans include family members and children as young as two years old and they dance while we perform,” said Jo-el Ulmer of 2Country4Nashville, USA yesterday during a joint press conference of the performers for the 3rd MCMF.
According to Tantowi Yahya of Indonesia there are also many die-hard fans of country music in the republic.
“The music has evolved over the years, but the style of the singing appeals to the fans including myself. It is almost similar to dangdut,” said Tantowi who is dubbed ‘The most popular country singer in Indonesia’.
Advisor of MCMF Gracie Geikie said history had proven that country music passed the test of time in Miri itself.
“Research conducted before MCMF was initiated in 2014, shows that country music is very much alive and probably promoted by Americans and other expats discovering oil in 1910 in Miri.
“Miri too is very much a country music fan compared to other parts in Sarawak. The Orang Ulu (highlanders) until today are famous for country music and that is why we have the country music fest here,” she said.
As for MCMF, which is reputed to be the first in Asia and the only one in Malaysia thus far, Gracie said the festival was fast gaining popularity, both in terms of performers and also festival goers.
“In the first year of the festival, the festival goers not only came in droves but also dressed in country music outfits,” said Gracie who is also the director for Planet Borneo Group of Companies – the festival organiser.
She said in view of the overwhelming response, from next year, the MCMF would be held for two nights instead of one night since 2014.