Saucyness is Good for the Soul

(Wrote this the Monday right after the Penang World Music Fest but hadn’t had time to post it up plus I had to resize photos too to add in.)
I had an interesting weekend (but I think one should always have interesting weekends, don’t you think? Life’s too capricious for boring weekends anyway).
Well, firstly, Gette came over from Kuching with my 2 precious packets of kachangma, courtesy of her mom! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Gette. She came over to cover the Penang World Music Festival as press which has its perks (like getting up real close to the musicians and being feted at the Khoo Kongsi).
Ever the journalist...Here's Gette taking photos of our nyonya lunch!
Ever the journalist…Here’s Gette taking photos of our nyonya lunch!

Sidenote: If you’re wondering what kachangma or kachama or kechama is, ask your Sarawakian friends. They’re bound to look at you with utmost respect. Hehe. Kachangma is a type of herb that’s native in Sarawak. Its leaves are plucked, sunned and chopped. It’s to be cooked with chicken as confinement food for post-partum ladies BUT many Kuchingites enjoy this timeless dish, regardless of pregnancy or non-pregnancy status. It’s also an acquired taste. Maybe I will include the recipe here soon.
Kachangma, courtesy of Gette's mama, all the way from Kuching!
Kachangma, courtesy of Gette’s mama, all the way from Kuching!

Nic and I went for 2 days of the music festival last year but we ended up horribly wet and uncomfortable due to the rain. This year, we decided to go for Saturday night’s performance only and we were also armed with our ponchos and umbrella! We were also prepared with our tikar, water, snacks and McD burgers as dinner.
Some Penangites think a music festival is a symphony concert, like the kind organised at the Dewan Sri Pinang. Maybe we’re too pampered or too ‘sua ku’. Whatever it is, nope, it is a free seating, open air concert/festival (there are no numbered plastic chairs). You just grab available space and plonk your butt down. It means bringing with your own stools, chairs and mats if you want to be truly comfy. It means coming with sandals and not killer heels which get stuck in the soft mud of the Botanic Gardens. It means wearing your most comfortable tees and shorts and not pretty, dainty skirts so tight you’d burst a thigh vein sitting down.
Here's me, ready with tikar, water bottle and umbrella at the Penang World Music Festival!
Here’s me, ready with tikar, water bottle and umbrella at the Penang World Music Festival…

Yes, I say this because we met a friend who was attired in a dressy top, lovely skirt and heels meant for shopping. Her eyes grew huge when she saw us carrying tikar! “No seats ah?”
No, my dear. This is a free and easy music festival after all.
This year’s weather was good. Not a drop of rain but it was way too humid and we sweated like hogs. I pity the performers. With those harsh, hot lighting, anyone would melt on stage.
When we met Gette and took her for a nyonya lunch, we chatted about the powerful bomoh(s), a not-so-secret secret of the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching. It’s a well-known fact that bomohs are used to keep rain at bay during the Sarawakian music fest and I can say the bomoh is worth every sen he’s paid. In my years of going to that music fest, it has yet to rain during the nightly performances!
I wonder if we did use bomoh over here in Penang since many Sarawakians (who helped with their music fest) were roped in to help with the Penang version.
The musicians started off great, especially the Sabahan group though at times the vocalists seem to be shouting more than singing. You know, if there’s ever a national song of Sabah, it has to be the classic folk ditty, Jambatan Tamparuli! Any Sabahan worth their salt would be pleased as hell if you sang this!
The other group which I found myself getting up for (yes, we’re nice and happy sitting about) was the all-women group (plus one lumberjack) from Quebec with an unpronounceable name (Galant Tu Perds Ton Temps). The women had great lung power, singing saucy folk ditties in French.
Badila, the all-man group with mesmerizing singing, from Iran, India and France, was another one I enjoyed (it’s fair to mention one or two of them looked like they came out of a Hindi movie!). There’s something magnetic about drumming and spiritual singing. Hmmm.
Of course, our Malaysian Diplomats of Drum (DoD) also kept the night pulsating. It’s interesting to see how guys automatically paid more attention to DoD when a young lass came onstage with her drum. Nothing like a woman drummer to get men all excited eh?
I didn’t really enjoy the final band of the night – Kries from Croatia. Maybe I was too sleepy and tired. Maybe it was the McD filet-o-fish. Maybe it really was the strangeness of the music which annoyed me more than got me up on my feet and prancing.
Was it a good night? I’d say it was a pleasurable night out. This year’s tickets were also more canggih, barcoded on a plastic card.
Did you go too for the music fest?
Tell me if you liked it or the bands which I missed out on Friday and Sunday night. I would have loved to hear the Tibetan group!

4 thoughts on “Saucyness is Good for the Soul”

  1. Kachangma looks a bit like weed, haha. I’ve just finished watching a few episodes of Weeds, a dark comedy about a suburban, widowed mother who makes a living selling marijuana.

  2. Haha, yes, it does look like something illegal. But fear not, it is perfectly ok but I wonder if foreign customs might confiscate it for looking way too much like a drug weed!

  3. My weekend was spent celebrating Mother’s Day with would-be husband and daughter in tow. First we got her a Baskin-Robbins cake which is deliciously decorated but melt as fast once it is exposed to room temperature. Never tried an ice-cream cake before so it was stupendous for all of us! Just imagine ice-cream trickling down the side of your fingers should you picked it up with your hands instead of eating it graciously on a plate. Nevertheless, while the ice-cream cake helps a bit in making Mother happy, but I would conclude that the ultimate happiness comes from having family members there physically for Mom.

  4. I heard that they moved the date of the music festival ahead for two reasons (well that’s what I read in today’s Sun).
    1) So that it wouldn’t clash with the one in East Malaysia.
    2) Err so you wouldn’t get wet. Having it in a non-rainy month is pretty sensible and would save bomoh & the botanical gardens money…


Leave a Comment