Legendary Mathew Ngau: RWMF is “mother” of all world music festivals

Mathew with a traditional sape on his lap at his workshop.

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, July 9: Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) icon and legendary sape maestro Mathew Ngau Jau said that Sarawak is always very proud to welcome everybody especially the performers and concert goers to the 15th RWMF that will be held at the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) here from July 12-14.

“We are glad to be able to organise the festival and to portray our rich culture and music to the world and especially to perform it at the heart of our rainforest,” he told DayakDaily when contacted.

“Personally, as an icon, I also feel very honoured that my ancestral culture, the sounds and music of the Orang Ulu are portrayed and also being performed, and blended together with the sounds and music from our other Dayaks and other Sarawak ethnicities,” he added.

Mathew pointed that the festival had been truly a natural kaleidoscope of sounds from local Borneo culture and from all around world.

“Sarawak Cultural Village surrounded by the natural beauty of our rainforest has been a magnificent venue for this festival and I am sure world musicians and concert goers will be pleased. We have done a great job at the venue and so will do it again this year and in years to follow.”

Mathew who is also a Malaysian National Living Heritage said this annual event is the “mother” of all world music festivals held here in Malaysia. He noted the festival is the time of year that people and world music acts come together to perform and unite as one to enjoy world music at the heart of the rainforest.

“This is what is very unique and great about this festival,” he opined.

He hoped festival goers no matter where they are from to enjoy the music and to share their experiences with family and friends when they return to their respective homes and countries.

Mathew said he will perform on stage with an Orang Ulu band from his village called Warisan Telang Usan.

“At the moment I am helping them to fine tune themselves before the festival and I will maybe sing one or two folk songs during the performance,” he revealed.

Mathew said he will also be at a festival workshop to meet his fans and play together with other musicians.

“I am really glad that the festival is getting bigger and bigger and I am anxious to entertain the crowd and my fans with my music and of course my sape (traditional stringed lute),” he said.

This year’s festival has lined up performances by world music bands and musicians from New Zealand, Estonia, Scotland, Cape Verde, Indonesia, Iran, Mongolia, India, France, Madagascar, Canary Islands, Japan, Morocco, Mauritius, United Kingdom, Jamaica, Colombia, Ireland, Vietnam, Sweden, Bhutan, Chile, Spain and Malaysia. — DayakDaily