The Rainforest World Music Festival is back in 2022 to celebrate its 25th year with more heart-racing, foot-stomping world rhythms from the jungle stage of Sarawak. Hybrid for the first time in Malaysian festival history, it will return to the Sarawak Cultural Village for the full festival experience and simultaneously be livestreamed around the world so that everyone can feel the rhythm of the Rainforest from wherever they are.
This festival has grown into one of the most anticipated events of the world music calendar and this year will not disappoint. Held at the Sarawak Cultural Village, it will blend the landscape of Borneo and the sound of its many cultures with the music of the world, featuring performers from a host of countries, including Korea, Canada, China, India, Mexico and almost everywhere in between.
This year, among others, we are joined by Bluguru from Australia, who set the soundwaves singing with their incredible blend of musical styles from Bluegrass to Blues, Indian to Celtic, Swing, Jazz and adventure too. The audience can enjoy the rapid switches from one genre and one instrument to another, backed by soaring vocal harmonies, blistering guitar and fiddle.
Up with them we feature Timo Väänänen, the leading exponent of Finland’s national instrument, the kantele. He will seamlessly blend the traditional model with the modern, electrical 39-string version to give the Sarawak audience a taste of a haunting and unique sound which has graced film, 25 albums and 5 solo CDs.
We are also offering Randrianantoandro Clément, direct from Madagascar. Better known as Kilema, he burst onto the music scene as part of the Justin Vali Trio, playing his Marovany, Kabosy and Katsa, guitar and percussion respectively. He blends the sounds of his rich and rhythmic heritage with his experience of the world, drawing from diverse musical styles to produce a sound entirely his own.
But these three are just a taste of what is on offer, to be announced as the weeks to the festival tick down. We are building the anticipation and we don’t want to ruin the surprise. This is our biggest birthday party yet, so expect plenty of unexpected guests with unusual sounds.
59 musical acts from around the world are dropping in, either digitally or in person, to join the celebration of this festival that occupies so many hearts. Many past performers stop by to say hello and sing a birthday tune and new faces burst onto the festival stage to provide original performances as we go around the world once again.
This is the beauty of the hybrid format. This festival has never been more diverse and yet more integrated. Digital material and real beats on the jungle stage build together into a fast-paced show with a truly global flavour to delight an online and an in-person audience alike. Alternating between stage and screen, this festival will see the ultimate blend of live music on the big stage with intimate, up-close and personal encounters on screen.
Expect the same grand performances from global acts, but this time alternating with beautifully curated original video material, showing a range of local and international performers in their own environments.
We are also able to showcase a unique range of acts which might never have previously been able to stage a whole set. Meet Sarawak’s cultural practitioners of purposeful sound – our chanters, drummers, and pratuokng players, all at home. See their hands striking and strumming, their lips moving and feel their feet stomping by the magic of digital media. Hear the Hokkien Opera, usually played for the Gods but now featured on the Rainforest screen. This year, we are truly supporting our hard-hit performers after two years of pandemic, putting them up for global appreciation.
All this means that this year we are offering an online experience, a small screen teaser of the full festival to entice visitors in for following years. For all those stuck at home or staying safely socially distant, the festival can come to you. Online viewers will get a two-hour experience of RWMF through our own dedicated platform, combining livestream of the action at the Sarawak Cultural Village with our original curated content. Sign up for one hour at RM25, then extend for another when the rhythm moves you. Or just book two hours in advance over all three evenings. Whatever your format pleasure, RWMF 2022 can provide.
This year is a celebration but it is also about legacy building. Randy Raine Reusch, originator of RWMF, returns to the stage and behind the scenes, the guiding hand of the artistic content. He is joined by two rising stars of Sarawak music, Alena Murang and Bob Meldrick of At Adau, as Randy passes the baton to the next generation of musicians who grew up with this festival. Our two Sarawak performers share their award-winning experience of video production and international travel with the next set of performers to appear on the stage which first welcomed them.
Our workshops, often the highlight and defining feature of the festival, continue this year. These workshops bring together diverse musicians from many disciplines, drawing together these talents under unifying themes to showcase, jam and create unique music in the setting of the Sarawak Cultural Village.
Our Friday will kick off this year with our ‘Sape Gathering’. We are calling together anyone who can strum a sape in Sarawak to get together for a grand sape jam. This year, we have a kiddie’s workshop to bring on the next generation where they can play with instruments, create art and enjoy the festival ground to their hearts’ contents.
No birthday celebration is complete without familiar friends and family. This RWMF goes back to what it does best. But the big rites of passage, the quarter century, are all about the present and the future. In 2022, Rainforest brings you its legendary celebration. New bands, new sounds, new format, new audience, all this for three incredible days at one of the most popular world music festivals in the global calendar. Set in its own indigenous environment, there is no experience to match it and this year it is amplified by the power of modern technology. With all the options for experiencing it, you shouldn’t miss a moment.
Get your tickets- https://rwmf.iticket.com.my/