Bamboo Ethnic Weekend chance for ethnic groups to express feelings through music, says Snowdan

Snowdan (third right) and others in a photo-call at the Bamboo Ethnic Weekend event.

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KUCHING, Nov 28: Bamboo Ethnic Weekend (BEW) injected life and colour throughout the entire Old Courthouse here with ethnic music, crafts, stories, and publications about the traditional lifestyles of older generations in various ethnic groups.

According to a press release, BEW chairman Narawi Rashidi and BEW consultant Dr Geraldine Law, who have been friends for many years and share a similar interest in bamboo and ethnic instrument-making for decades, have collaborated to plan a Weekend of Bamboo and Ethnic Festivities, beginning with the bamboo and ethnic music of Sarawak.

Sarawak Deputy Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts (Creative Industry and Performing Arts) Datuk Snowdan Lawan was present to officiate at the launch.

The event which is being held from Nov 26-30, is an opportunity for visitors to observe up close skilled bamboo and ethnic music instrument makers craft their instruments in person.

It is also an opportunity for young children and youths to come together again after the post-pandemic lockdown.

Various musical activities and programmes, including songs, dances, and a bamboo orchestra, were well featured in conjunction with the Food-over-Fire Festival (FoFF).

The ethnic food festival was also a success, with many food enthusiasts crowding the Old Courthouse corridors and halls for music-making and instrument-making activities.

The lively atmosphere was humming with sales of food and handicrafts, as well as bamboo instrument music which filled the entire space.

Snowdan pointed out that the event exemplified the meaning of the term “ethnic”, as it was a way for ethnic groups to express their hearts’ overflow of sentiments and feelings through the music of the time.

“It was very good to see the groups all coming alive again, and that this will give all Sarawakians identity even when they go overseas for studies or work,” he said.

Furthermore, Dr Ramona Mohd Tahir from the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Education Conservatory of Music gave a presentation on her work and research with bamboo which has spanned many years of observations, studies, and activities with UiTM music faculty students.

In the meantime, Narawi, who is also a collector and lover of bamboo musical instruments, conducted the bamboo orchestra, which consisted of youths who had gathered after the pandemic to resume playing.

There was also a flute solo by Bong Foo Yong, who performed a Chinese song accompanied by a bamboo angklung.

Also present were Majlis Seni Sarawak deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Awang Putrayusrie, Dr Gilbert de Greeves, a former head of the Belgium Conservatoire and head of Kodaly for 12 years, Dr Fatihah and Dr Connie Lim from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) assistant general manager Hamzah Morsidi, and What Matters CEO Marian Chin, as well as many ethnic music enthusiasts and local musicians. — DayakDaily