25th anniversary of the world music festival in hybrid format to showcase more than 60 international and local performers

KUCHING, 29 APRIL 2022 – 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 from 17th to 19th June 2022. Hybrid for the first time in Malaysian festival history, with the theme “Legendary Rainforest Celebration” 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. It offers equal excitement for the world music afficionado and the fun-seeking festival-goer alike. Held at the Sarawak Cultural Village, it will blend Sarawak’s natural landscape and the sound of its many cultures with the music of the world, featuring 60 performers from a host of countries, including Korea, Canada, China, India, Mexico and almost everywhere in between.

International Performers
This year sees more individual acts than ever before on the Rainforest stage, some live at the Sarawak Cultural Village and some beamed in by the power of modern technology. 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.

We also 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.

If that isn’t enough for today’s teaser, 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.

The Hybrid Format
For those watching RWMF from home, online viewers will get a two-hour experience nightly 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.

Expect the same grand performances from global acts, but this time alternating with curated original video material, showing a range of local and international performers in their own environments.

From the sweeping beaches of Latvia to the Highlands of Sarawak, we will see incredible instruments as they are played at home. The magic of digital means that we can beam in acts from far-flung corners of the planet. The mountains of China can come directly to Santubong mountain, making an arduous in-person journey instantaneous. Rarely-seen music from far-off cultures will be making an appearance this year where travel restrictions would otherwise make it impossible.

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.

RWMF Legacy
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 that first welcomed them.

Workshops and Activities
All the best of the festival returns for all those familiar with the format, alongside our many surprises. The Sarawak Cultural Village, itself an award-winning venue displaying all the traditional lifestyles of this amazing state, is home again to food bazaars from this newly-crowned Creative City of Gastronomy under UNESCO, and Craft fairs featuring the best of Borneo handicrafts. Get an indigenous handtap tattoo, enjoy a meal and learn something new under the shadow of our magic mountain, even before the sun goes down and the evening show begins.

Our environment is the making of us in Sarawak. All our food vendors follow high standards in recycling and waste reduction. RWMF aims to be truly sustainable, avoiding single-use plastics and promoting environmental appreciation. All this is in line with Sarawak Tourism Board’s campaign for Responsible and Sustainable tourism, supporting communities and the environment that shaped them alike.

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.

Early Bird ticket sale is happening now until 14th May 2022 for both the physical and virtual concerts. Those interested in the physical concert can grab tickets in the different categories – Adult 1-Day Pass (RM 150), Adult 3-Day Pass (RM375), Child 1-Day Pass (RM80), Child 3-Day Pass (RM155) and 1-Day Family Package Pass- 2 Adult and 2 Children (400).  The physical tickets are available for purchase via rwmf.net.

The virtual blocks will feature handpicked artistes that will showcase the allure of world music from both Sarawak and the international stage. Audiences can choose to buy the virtual block of one hour each depending on their preferred lineup. Virtual tickets will be sold at a later date which will be announced soon.

About Sarawak
A kaleidoscope of culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals: is the best description for Sarawak. Sarawak comprises 28 ethnic tribes with their own unique traditions, lifestyles, music and food, while sharing their warm hospitality. Malaysia’s largest state, Sarawak, endowed with some of the oldest rainforests on Earth. Its vast landscape spans over 120,000 sq kms, with towering mountains and cool highlands, jagged limestone formations and mysterious cave systems, winding rivers and quiet beaches; where adventures are waiting to happen. Festivals are hosted throughout the year celebrate the eclectic blend of modern and traditional culture, food, music and religious practices that can be found nowhere else. In Sarawak, there is always ‘More to Discover’.

About Sarawak Tourism Board
Sarawak Tourism Board is the key promoter for Sarawak. STB is a winner of the Asia Pacific Excellence Awards 2016 by Asia-Pacific Association of Communications Directors (APACD) and has received the ASEAN PR Excellence Award 2015 Gold Award. The Rainforest World Music Festival is a five-time Top 25 Best International Festivals recognised by Songlines World Music Magazine (2011 – 2015) and won the Golden City Gate 2019 five-star award for the Rainforest World Music Festival’s (RWMF) promotional video.