Rain Forest World Music Festival, Santubong, Sarawak

Gryphon II
Chris and Lorraine Marchant
Tue 2 Jul 2013 06:18


We flew back down to Kuching for the rainforest festival. It was excellent in every way … in a perfect setting with friendly crowds from all four corners and varied music. The festival takes place in the grounds of a cultural park that has examples of traditional buildings from the interior tribes such as this longhouse on stilts.


These buildings are airy and cool and surprisingly attractive inside.




Other workshops we attended were a drum workshop with about 15 percussionists from different bands who were led by an Irish bodhran player and who jammed together wonderfully. Another highlight was an audience participation event where we made noises as instructed by French band Chet Nuneta to produce a rhythmic medley of interesting sounds. To give an illustration of the eclectic nature of the event we attended an accordion session led by an American from La Fayette, Louisiana who was joined by a Columbian, a Dane and a Ukrainian. Amongst other more ethnic pieces they played “You Are My Sunshine” together! We’ve never been very fond of accordion but these four very different instruments were played with great humour and skill, to our surprise it was extremely enjoyable and we learnt a lot.

The evening sessions were equally varied with local Sarawak music (pleasant but uninspiring), an Indonesian band with a fantastic lead singer who made the most extraordinary sounds, a Korean dance troupe with fabulous costumes and gymnastic dancing who did clever things with ribbons on their hats but to awful music that mostly consisted of a woman shouting a guttural “hau so” every so often, a good Cajun band, an Australian aboriginal band and many more. Sadly we missed Klia an excellent Irish band and the apparent highlight of the whole event, the aforementioned Chet Nuneta…a mostly French band are well worth looking out for.

This next picture sums up the rain forest festival well with a Ukrainian folk rock band who played amongst other things “The Galway Races”  and “What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor”, sung with eastern European accents …in the forests of Borneo. You can’t get much more multicultural than that!


We stayed in a meagre little hotel but very adequate for our needs and ate from the varied stalls at the festival….all at sensible prices, no ripping off tourists here! For breakfasts we went to a local café with a Chinese owner who was very interested in our travels. There was a world map on the wall so I was able to show her our tortuous route to Borneo.

On our return the boat we had to deal with the more mundane and slightly worrying matter of organising the replacement for our failed damper plate…here is the old one for you mechanics out there! Note the lack of rubber in 2 of the 4 inner corners. We had to have a new one shipped out from UK. Incidentally this is a £500 piece of kit!



And other news…. We were used as a location for a photo shoot by this soon to be married Chinese couple.


Lorraine had a birthday with some other yachties.


And we visited one of the biggest caves in the world which was full of bats and swiftlets …and their guano from which I may have developed the stinking cold that is currently assailing me.


En route to the caves we passed many of these enormous trees with roots that spread out like sails reaching far up the trunk and creating little rooms all around the base which shelter seedlings, ground hugging plants, snakes, lizards and myriad insects. Fantastic for playing hide and seek.