KUCHING: The iconic Rainforest World Music Festival has spawned new ways of thinking about music of other cultures and indeed music from our own backyard. World music, considering its unique features, over the years, promoted intercultural communication between diverse communities within and beyond Borneo. It is a wonderful opportunity to listen to sounds from all corners of the world and learn about different and unique musical instruments.
Take San Salvador for instance, musicians from Correze in south-western France which is part of the Limousin province. The 6 member band combines Occitan poetry with hypnotic vocal harmonies propelled by surging percussion. Occitan is a Romance language spoken in southern France, Italy’s Occitan Valleys and in parts of Spain and Monaco. Their music is rooted in the region’s medieval troubadour traditions and yet circulates between different cultures and musical genres and reaching deep into the region’s folk tradition. Their Occitan polyphony and percussion collective with two tom-toms, one tambourine interspersed with rhythmic clapping, exude energy with skillful, sophisticated orchestration.
Trained by Gabriel Durif who leads in vocals and the tambourine, the band members include Eva Durif on vocals, Thibault Chaumeil and Marion Lherbeil on vocals and tom bas, Laure Nonique Desvergnes on vocals and Sylvestre Nonique Desvergnes on vocals and drums. There is never a dull moment as their music is full of light and shade. Festival goers will be seduced by their whispers of intimacy, subtle alchemy of sweet vocal harmonies and will be swept away by their rhythmic force. The fact that one doesn’t understand the Occitan language does not even matter – the expressiveness and exuberance of these modern day Occitan troubadours overrides everything.
The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place from July 12-14 at the Sarawak Cultural Village and is organised by the Sarawak Tourism Board, endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth & Sports Sarawak.