The Madeeh ensemble who plays Bidayuh roots music from the upper Padawan region of Sarawak, performed on a daycase Stage at the Cidade da Cultura within the exposition area. Picked as the first band to perform on the daycase stage which only opens to WOMEX delegates, Madeeh has attracted attention from many music industry professionals from around the world. Sharing the same stage with Madeeh is Paolo Angeli from Italy/Spain who performed on the same day.
On stage, Madeeh presenting their musical instruments which are part of a centuries-old tradition of music and dance, developed in the communal life of the longhouses. The instruments are the pratuokng, a zither made from a bamboo tube, sritakng xylophone and the gaduok hand-drum. ‘Madeeh’ means cousins, relatives, brotherhood or sisterhood and the ensemble members are all related and came from the same longhouse. They are led by Arthur Borman ‘Bai Kis’ Kanying, an expert on the history of the Bidayuh people and on searching out the best bamboo for making the traditional instruments.
WOMEX 2014 is the annual international world music expo that brings together the business of world music from across all borders to interact on a global platform. Comprising of 60 acts with more than 300 artists from 25 different countries is truly a music expo like no other.
This year for the first time ever, not just one but two Malaysian artists have been hand-selected to play at WOMEX. Apart from Madeeh, the traditional Kelantaneese band ‘Geng Wak Long’ who displayed the beautiful culture and heritage of Kelantan will also be performing. Both bands have performed at the Borneo World Music Expo in Sarawak, the same platform and the music market of its kind similar to WOMEX, but held in Asia. The selection process at WOMEX is conducted each year by a jury of esteemed members from the global music community, with the utmost stringency, to put together the programme for every World Music Expo.
According to Ben Mandelson, Founding Director of WOMEX, having the performance presence of Madeeh and Geng Wak Long this year at WOMEX reinforces the presence of Malaysian arts professionals at WOMEX over the years. “WOMEX was created with the intention of bringing the people from the world music industry together. It is one of the biggest and best places to discover music and connect with people on a global scale and I think that Malaysia has been a great addition to our expo” he added.
Showcasing at the Malaysian stand are the renowned Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and Borneo Jazz promoted by Sarawak Tourism Board. For STB, the World Music Expo is one of the important platforms for band selection for next year’s festival. There are 600 exhibiting companies from 40 countries presenting their music product within 245 stands at the trade fair.
At the Malaysian stand, Tony Nagamaiah, General Manager of Malaysia Major Events says “I see world music as a medium that transcends language and culture. Malaysia offers a unique perspective in that aspect as we celebrate all races and traditions in truly spectacular environments”. According to Tony, Malaysia is a world class location for people and what Malaysia Major Events is doing at WOMEX this year is to create the opportunity for festival organisers and world music musicians to collaborate and showcase Malaysia on an international stage.
2015 will be the ‘Malaysia Year of Festivals’, the year which promises an array of events to celebrate diverse festivals unique to the country. The internationally renowned Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching, Sarawak has been acclaimed as one of the ‘Top 25 World Music Festivals’ for the last 5 years by Songlines, a renowned world music magazine. The festival attracts nearly 25, 000 visitors for a fusion of traditional roots to world beat. At WOMEX this year, Sarawak also proudly presents the well-recognized Borneo Jazz held in Miri, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. The 2 days event features Jazz musicians from across the globe.
The Malaysian delegation to WOMEX is led by Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia (MoTAC). Presented at the booth are the Sarawak Tourism Board, Penang Tourism, JL Productions as well as Madeeh and Geng Wak Long.