Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Kuching Whirlwind Weekend : RWMF 2010

Last weekend I made a quick trip to Kuching to attend my 2nd Rainforest World Music Festival. I was lucky (very lucky) as I got invited to share a room at Four Points by Sheraton :) Thanks Thakhida and Debs!

View of the runway from the 10th floor lift lobby.

We took the shuttle bus from the city to SCV for RM20 return and forked out another RM110 (an increase of RM10 from last year) for the one-day pass.

Shuttle bus ticket. We boarded the one at Grand Margherita at 12 noon.

Entrance ticket - better than last year's.

This year's glossy wristband. I prefer last year's.

Even before entering I could sense that the mood was not as merry as last year. It was quite subdued. Well, the smaller the crowd the better chance you get to attend the workshops!

We got to attend three workshops that afternoon - 'Electro Groove : Stuff You Plug In' at Dewan Lagenda, followed by 'Nice Frame : Frame Drums, Kanjiras, and Tambourines' and lastly 'It's In The Bag : Bagpipes the World Over', both at the Theatre. Of these, I found the Bagpipes the most enjoyable. The South Indian group, Lathayaranga was the outstanding one in Nice Frame. Amazing sounds from their 'kanjira' - small hand drums.

Sponsorship from the red star, green bottle.

See? No crowd at all. Last year it was already packed at this hour.

The Heinekabana - exclusive for invited guests only. Pahhh.

Hmmm. I didn't notice any recycling bins for aluminium cans?

With Thakhida. After so long we finally meet, not in KK but in Kuching!

Debs and Thakida on the Bidayuh bamboo bridge. This year we had the bridge all to ourselves.

Live 'sape' music at the Melanau House, by ...oh I forgot his name. He has his own CD album too of sape music.

The tattoo lady from last year was again doing brisk business this year.

The uncle posed for this pic - but I didn't buy my water from him :)

The main stage. Look at the mud from the downpour the night before.

Mud mud mud. If I were a buffalo I'd feel at home.

Waiting for the workshop to start at Dewan Lagenda.

T and D.

Electro Groove Workshop : Stuff You Plug In - comprising of musicians from the various performing groups.

From Nice Frame : The Italian "tambourine" - what a lovely sound it makes.

The infectious hypnotic beats of the 'kanjira' performed by Layatharanga, from South India.

The workshop leader for Bagpipes. He's from Belgium and plays with the group Minuit Guibolles.

The Iranian and his beautiful bagpipe. This bagpipe is different cos it has 'dynamics'. It can actually 'wail and lament'! The guy outshone the workshop leader and looked like he was going to take over from him. Haha. It was so obvious.

While waiting for the Bagpipes workshop to start we were kind of hungry but did not want to leave the theatre as we might not be able to get back in again. More than half the people already there thought the same as all remain glued to their seats. After deciding we needed something to eat I went outside and bravely sneaked in a Twist Potato each - so yummy! Freshly fried! When we wanted to eat it again later the wait was too long :( so we had to eat something else. My bag smelled of fried potatoes till the next day.

I would've bought a Gunnersaurus burger if I had seen this stall earlier.

I winced when I saw this :( Oh dear. The least they could do was to remove the stumps?

Sparse crowds by the lakeside.

We staked our spot with my orange tarp earlier so we needn't worry about our space for the concert. It started on time at 7 pm with the opening performance by Ensemble Shanbehzadeh from South Iran.

Sun setting.

Great opening performance - it got some excited enough to brave the muddy field.

Taken from the big screen. Saeid Shanbehzadeh (above) and his two brothers form the ensemble. The second performers were a Japanese duo, Kimuro Ono Duo, on the Tree Stage, followed by the French band Minuit Guibolles (very merry happy bunch), and the Czech group Braagas (good but there were some technical glitches with the microphones). No other great pictures of the evening as I'm bad with night shots. Oh we left earlier as we needed to catch the shuttle back to the city. We reached the city at almost 11 pm and were back to the hotel before midnight.

The next morning after breakfast T and I went into the city and walked around the waterfront, Main Bazaar, Chinatown and India Street. Also checked out the Textile Museum. This was a nice building opposite, I think it's the Post Office?

On India Street - this arch marks the India Street Lane; a narrow passageway that serves as a shortcut to the waterfront side.

Time for lunch as we were hungry. Found this new-ish cafe called Magna Carta at the Old Courthouses building. Same owners with Magenta apparently. Nice place but service was poor as they were shorthanded. And limited selections left for lunch as they ran out of stuff.

Our pizzaaaa and iced teas for lunch.

I enjoyed the whirlwind weekend a lot. For me, Kuching is one of those weekend places where I can just walk around and explore and eat; and I'd be content.

Will I be back again for the third time next year for RWMF? I hope so :)


  1. wow. You're so good in remembering names huh? And in keeping records too. I can't even remember the names of the performing groups. :-)too bad I was quite late for the workshop. They were rolling to the end when we got there.

  2. Jipp - Oh, I wish that was true :-) ! I actually have a copy of the programme; needed that to decide which workshops to go to. Without it I sure won't remember their names!

  3. I sooo envy you! Hope I could attend if not next year, the year after... or the year after that. Hehe.

  4. Pinay Travel Junkie - thanks for dropping by. I hope you'll make it to RWMF one day soon! :)

  5. Arsenal FC Gunnersaurus Burger - very unique and creative way of naming a burger. I like ... :-)