Thursday, May 8, 2008

Alive with the sound of music


THE Penang Botanic Gardens’ Quarry Gardens took on a carnival vibe over the weekend with revellers en-joying the Penang World Music Festival.

The event returned to the gardens for a second instalment, bringing in a whole new line-up of artistes from across the globe.

The festival started on Friday evening on a spiritual note with Penang-Australian band Dya Singh’s beautiful Sikh hymns.

The audience was then charm-ed by Irish band Teada’s fast-paced joyous tunes.

Revellers flock to the Botanic Gardens to enjoy the Penang World Music Festival. Bands from all over the globe like Afenginn from Denmark (inset) mesmerise everyone.

Viva Mexico:Mono Blanco introducing the audience to Son Jarocho music.

Rhythm of the night:Revellers dancing to the beat.

Terengganu’s Kumpulan Den-dang Anak serenaded with music full of passion, heart and soul while Mexican band Mono Blanco introduced their listeners to the melodious Son Jarocho music of Veracruz.

The funky and humorous Danish band Afenginn continued the concert with its intoxicating energetic performances of Nordic folk music before Salem Tradition of the Reunion Islands filled the Quarry Gardens with wondrous vocals and rhythmic beats.

The second night kicked off with Malaysia’s own bamboo band, Kumpulan Kinabalu Merdu Sound from Sabah that delivered indigenous music played on homemade wind, string and percussion instruments.

Badila, a band of three cultures - Iranian, Indian and French – gave a culture-packed performance with its enthralling dancer and her continuous twirling.

While the Irish lads of Teada returned with more wonder- ful tunes, Canadian band Ga-lants, Tu Perds Ton Temps presented their audience with a cappella Quebecois folk songs for women.

Kuala Lumpur’s Diplomats of Drum stood out with its modern tunes played using traditional instruments collected from different continents like the Scottish bagpipe, Malay gendang, West African djembe and Punjab dhol.

Chants never sounded so explosively good until Croatian ethno-rock band Kries hit the stage to close the second night. Their performance was hypnotic and addictive.

On Sunday, the final night, Tibetan band Techung sang songs of freedom, while American band Balfa Toujours gave revellers a taste of Cajun French music.

French band Lo Cor De La Plana gave music fans more French songs accompanied only by percussion beats, handclaps, and feet taps and stomps.

After a revisit to Denmark with the eccentric and ever fun to watch Afenginn, Kenyan group Kenge Kenge ended the musical journey with its benga (something beautiful) music.

The men and women of Kenge Kenge, and their wonderful display of showmanship and humour throughout their performance certainly gave the show a very happy ending.

Over 10,000 people attended the three-night music festival.

For the second year, the World Music Festival brought revellers nothing but joy, excitement and wonderful music which acted as a bridge to different cultures.

The only thing missing from the event was the rain, which was a good thing.

The 2008 Penang World Music Festival was organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Malaysia and the Penang Tourism Action Council (PTAC), and sponsored by Eastern and Oriental (E & O) Hotel, MBF Cards, Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and Air Asia.

Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Victor Wee said at a press conference on Saturday that the event generated a lot of interest locally and abroad, with international bands offering themselves to the organisers.

Wee said the festival in Penang was de-linked from the Rainforest Music Festival in Sarawak, as the performing bands for both events were completely different, unlike last year.

PTAC chairman Datuk Kee Phaik Cheen, who was also present, said a certain standard for the event had been set and it must be maintained, if not heightened.

She also said a larger crowd could be expected at next year’s World Music Festival, which will start from Labour Day until May 3.

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