THE hills were alive with the sound of music as the silence in the tranquil and forested recreational Botanic Gardens was broken for three nights by the folksy rhythm of bands from across the globe.
They were in Penang for the Plenitude World Music Festival organised by the Penang Tourism Development and Culture Office. Staged at the Quarry Recreational Park the music extravaganza attracted more than 10,000 music lovers during the duration of the festival.
Seated on the wide open spaces the audience was eager to experience the unique brands and blends of music some of which have never been heard in Penang. Surrounded by lush greenery, the normally serene grounds shook to the pulsating beat of global folk music.
The weather was also graciously kind and under a starry and moonlit night, the festival got off to a rousing start. Negri Sembilan’s Rentak Balai set the mood for the festival with a Orang Temuang tribal dance playing with specially handmade instruments.
Vietnam’s Phong Nguyen Ensemble followed with an enchanting repertoire of music culled from various parts of the country. Veteran Will Crummer and the Rarotangons of New Zealand set fire to the stage enticing the audience to dance to their infectious melodies of the South Seas.
Then it was Belgium’s the Griff Trio who entertained audiences with their fine handling of Scottish the bagpipes. Their innovative musical and vocal arrangements gave a contemporary twist to the age-old instrument. Australia’s Wild Marmalade spiced up the sounds of Down Under with the Aborigines didgeridoo.
Penultimate act, Malaysia’s Aseana Percussion Unit, shook the stage with a lively display of multi-cultural instruments such as the Malay kompang, serunai and gendang, the Indian tabla and thanil and the Chinese erhu and dizi.
The Fix, a combination of American and local musicians, brought the curtain down just before midnight with a motley of rhythmic music incorporating the reggae, dub, funk, soul and electro.
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