OK, I won’t go into a blow-by-blow account of what happened or who performed at last week’s Penang World Music Festival at Quarry Gardens (off Botanical Gardens). It’s probably blogged about by many Penang bloggers anyway. And they probably have better photos.
The main stage set up.
Madame was too lazy to go near the stage to snap photos because it was raining – hard! I was trying my best not to get wet (brought an umbrella though) but in the end, it was all in vain. The rain pelted harder as the night wore on and soon, I was soaking wet! And I was on a tikar too!
We were among the early birds at 6.40pm. Some were earlier than us! Notice that umbrellas were popped open – it had started to drizzle!
The three of us (Nic, myself and a friend who came all the way from Langkawi) huddled under 2 umbrellas, willing the rain to go away but it didn’t hear us or the bomoh in charge of making rain go away was probably not as powerful as those used for football matches.
The reason why Nic and I are highly interested in this PWMF2007 is that we’ve been to the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in Kuching for 3 consecutive years (2002, 2003 and 2004).
Part of the Quarry Gardens… it’s a rather small area for a world music festival.
Now that’s one highly charged festival – lots of good stuff happening. RWMF (which celebrated its 10th years) has a couple of pluses too – the vibes in Sarawak are totally different, the location (at the foot of Gunung Santubong) is magical and everyone who attends the RWMF flies in just for the event. So it’s truly a holiday atmosphere, and you’re really away from it all.
Now in Penang, we’re smack dab in the middle of the city. Quarry Gardens is ok but it’s no rainforest ala Gunung Santubong style.
We were there to watch some of our favourite world musicians in action, especially Huun Huur Tu & Malerija (a terribly potent combination which makes some awesome head-banging music) and Ensemble Kaboul of Afghanistan (exotic music from traditional music intruments like the tabla, harmonium, flute and more) and Inka Marka (inspirational panpipe music that’s quite resonant of the South American landscape the group is from). We have actually watched most if not all of the musicians before at RWMF but it’s good to listen to them and see them perform again.
We had bought tickets for the 3 days fest but managed to go on Friday and Saturday nights. It was raining heavily on Sunday night, and we decided not to get soaked (again) even if we did arm ourselves with ponchos this time. PWFM should be scheduled sometime in February or March as these are the hot and dry months for Penang.
I liked that the performances started punctually each evening, about 7.30pm and ended promptly too, at midnight. On the first evening, we picked a nice spot about 20 meters from the main stage and had a good view of both main stage and second stage. But the rain made the ground mushy and muddy so we were smarter the second evening – we camped out right in front of the screen, specially set up to enable those far up to see the performances.
The Narasirato Panpipers from Solomon Islands, a group of exuberant panpipers from a group of islands to the east of Australia.
PWMF is a good start to get more people interested in world music but it needs time before it can be as addictive as RWMF. Ticketcharge will start selling tickets to 2008 RWMF in January next year (they’re pretty savvy in promoting the event now, 10 years on).