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KUCHING, SARAWAK – The Rainforest World Music Festival 2024 (RWMF) is set to make history this year with the debut of The Borneo Collective, a groundbreaking collaboration featuring some of Sarawak’s most respected traditional musicians. In alignment with the festival’s ‘Evolution’ theme, this project signals an exciting new chapter in Sarawak’s rich musical heritage.

‘The Borneo Collective’ assembles a star-studded lineup of masters:-

Ezra Tekola Semuel (At Adau):- Ezra’s mastery of the Sape, a traditional lute, brings the captivating melodies and electrifying rhythms of the Kenyah people to the forefront. Ezra said, “The Sape speaks the language of our ancestors. At RWMF 2024, I’ll be honoured to share those stories and the spirit of the Kenyah people with the world.”

Jerry Anak Kamit and Johari bin Morshidi (Tuku Kame):- This dynamic duo showcases the vibrant sounds of ethnic contemporary Sarawakian music, renowned for their mesmerising Sape licks & percussions respectively. Jerry & Joe Gendang, as he is fondly known added, “The rhythm of ethnic contemporary Sape playing, the energy of our percussions – this is the heartbeat of Sarawakian music of today. We can’t wait to bring that energy to the Rainforest World Music Festival!”

Mathew Ngau Jau (Lan-E Tuyang):- A living national heritage, Mathew is a cornerstone of ethnic musical traditions, safeguarding their intricate melodies and rhythms. Mathew said, “Our music carries the wisdom of generations. My role is to preserve these melodies as they evolve into a new era. Join me at RWMF 2024 to experience this journey.”

Rining Peter Paris:- A renowned Tapi (traditional lute) player whose deep knowledge of Sarawak’s musical landscape informs his artistry. Rining correctly summed up The Borneo Collective, “The Borneo Collective isn’t just about individual artistes, it’s about the harmony of Sarawak’s diverse sounds. This festival is where that harmony comes alive!”

The Borneo Collective promises a unique sonic tapestry. The audience can expect a thrilling fusion of timeless Sape & Tapi melodies, hypnotic percussion and contemporary arrangements performed alongside a world-class backing ensemble. The result is the world’s first reimagined & amplified celebration of Sarawak’s diverse musical soul, ready to captivate a global audience.

“The Borneo Collective is a testament to the enduring power of our Sarawakian traditions and the boundless possibilities that lie in cultural evolution,” stated Puan Sharzede Datu Hj. Salleh Askor, CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board. “This is a must-see performance for anyone seeking a truly unforgettable musical journey presenting a ground-breaking fusion of ethnic and contemporary music.”

Other Borneo talents will be Alena Murang who said, “Our music culture is rooted in traditions and is constantly evolving. I’m looking forward to sharing Sape music with my band at RWMF 2024. We’ve crafted a new set with influences of rock and pop, with Sape at the centre of it. I believe that music has the power to inspire change and I urge all of us as a community to safeguard our musical heritage.”

Also featured will be Ensemble Melayu Nusantara by Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak whose music arrangement is a vibrant tapestry of Sarawak’s Malay heritage. Joining in from Sabah is Tuni Sundatang, blending ethereal vocals and captivating melodies infused with the rich music heritage of the Kadazan-Dusun people.

The Borneo Collective’s debut at RWMF 2024 promises to be a historical moment.  The festival will be held from 28-30 June 2024 at Sarawak Cultural Village, a vibrant hub for showcasing Sarawak’s diverse cultural expressions.