Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Penang World Music Festival 2012

Penang World Music Festival 2012
Pictures and Review by

Koggelavani Muniandy 

After an interval of three years, the Penang World Music Festival came back in full assault and was held at the Penang Botanical Gardens again this year from March 30th to April 1st 2012. The festival featured many world renowned musicians and bands including local Malaysian talents who brought a harmonic fusion into an elevated intensity. Not only a tribute to music, this event also paid its tribute to earth by observing the ‘Earth Hour’ on the 31st March 2012 when all the music lovers merely used candles to navigate around the Quarry Recreational Park where the concert was held. It was indeed an amazing sight and feast for the ears at the same time.

Tori Ensemble, the band originating from South Korea completely took the audience into a musical trance. Combining the traditional Korean string instrument, the geomumgo with a very high pitched voice singing almost a chant like got the crowd to just go silent as if they were cast on a spell. Not to forget double headed drum, janggu and the flute, daegum complete the whole reverie. Many were seen just moving the head rhythmically with eyes shut, meditating to the amazing compositions of this group.

The local Kelantanese band, Geng Wak Long consist of a family of musicians was formed in 2008. They play the traditional musical instruments and perform the traditional dances of Kelantan. But this did not limit their gamut of performance during the festival featuring the Tok Selampit, Wayang Kulit Kelantan, Mak Yong, Dikir Barat, and Tari Inai. They successfully enthralled the crowd with their tunes and got everyone to sing along to the featured famous numbers. The lead of the band, Mohd Kamrulbahri bin Hussin had indeed a comical way of introducing and describing each performance that broke the audience into laughter.

The Mongolian ethnic folk rock band, Altan Urag which was formed in 2002 completed rocked the crowd with using their traditional Mongolian sounds with contemporary influences. Aligned with their vision of introducing Mongolian culture to the world, Altan Urag did a brilliant mesh of harmonics using their traditional instruments like the morin khuur and ikh khuur (both fiddles), bishguur (a horn) and yochin (hammered dulcimer). Starting off with a composition that was melodic and sweet to the ears, they took everyone by surprise with a swift transformation of mood into heavy rock. They took the crowd from an enchanted stated of the previous performances to a vigorous state of a rock concert. 

The band Guinea Percussion was founded in 2005 consists of the finest musicians and dancers of Guinea. Their highly energetic performance got the spectators loud cheers and claps all along. The beats of the drum was accompanied by the story telling dance that managed to engage the crowd. Besides the line of traditional drums such as djembe, and balafon by the men, the single female member swept everyone off with the sweet melody of the flute. A splendid show that ended on a high note with the Deejays spinning rasta-mode fused with electronic music that got audience to dance in the open air. Hats-off to the organizers for bringing high quality music to the local scenes.

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