Penang World Music Festival 2015

Musicians from 12 countries did the magic of uniting the world which no politician could have done in the 2 days, 11th and 12th of April 2015 in Penang Malaysia! I consider myself fortunate to witness this great event and record some music of these great musicians! Leading international musicians from India, Germany, Malaysia, Egypt, Brazil and more mesmerized the audience, had the audience on their feet swaying to the tunes. I witnessed that for enjoying music language is NOT a barrier. Lyrics in different international languages united people of different cultural backgrounds. It seemed to promote world peace and harmony!Music is such a unique thing; we are introduced to it right from our newly born days in the form of lullabies by our parents and grandparents. As we grow we deviate to fields other than music, but more than once each of us would have paused to hear music that would have fascinated us. That day too, ignoring the pouring rains, audience very patiently listened to music from all corners of the world. Penang state government aspires to be the model city for art and culture and I see it is going to be a grand success!

The festival has been organized since 2012 by Penang State Tourism. For the first time it is being held at their center of UNESCO World Heritage site, the Esplanade.
The venue of Penang World Music Festival 2015 was at Padang Esplanade, Jalan Tun Syed Barakhbah, George Town, Penang. It is in the center of George Town, in the vicinity of Fort Cornwallis, Penang City Hall and Penang Town Hall. Stalls were put up for sales of CDs and souvenirs. There were stalls with world famous Penang delicacies, all of them surrounded by enthusiastic people. There were workshops conducted by the musicians at Fort Cornwallis.


The bands participating were:
Dizu Plaatjies (South Africa)
Ajinai (Mongolia)
Annuluk (Germany)
Trad.Attack! (Estonia)
Gus Teja World Music (Bali, Indonesia)
Razon De Son (Spain)
Raggy Project (Malaysia)
Prem Joshua & Band (India)
Tarabband (Egypt/Sweden)
Nading Rhapsody (Malaysia)
Vedan Kolod (Russia)
Casuarina (Brazil)

In this post I have 3 of the women singers who performed that night. Opah Aspa of Nading Rhapsody, Iraqi Egyptian singer Nadin, lead singer Misa of Annuluk band.

Annuluk has been around since 2011, their musical styles range from archaic shamanism and temple chants that penetrates the sensitive concerted band. They have released two albums so far named “Ushna” and “Malam” along with a bonus CD titled “Metamorphosis”. They are winner of Creole-central Germany in 2013 and were crowned as best newcomer with the Via Vut Indie Award 2014.
The whole mindset of the music is the coming together of primeval spirituality and the technologically advanced present with lead singer Misa at the core. The songs on Ushna, written mainly by Misa, take you on a trip to where Mari Boine and the Voix Bulgares hold ice cream hands with the urban hymns of Massive Attack and Björk. I did a little google search on her. Misa sings in a language of her own which she calls “the language of her soul” and its spectrum reaches from gentle cooing to ecstatic screaming and is open to all kinds of spiritual associations which is both extremely captivating and mesmerizing.

Lead singer Misa of Annuluk band

Formed in Malmö 2008, Tarabband hosts some of Sweden’s most skilled folk & world musicians. The group is lead by the charismatic Iraqi Egyptian singer Nadin, who fled war in Iraq to Sweden in 2001. Tarabband’s music and lyrics narrates her journey of survival, exile, life and rebirth. Their debut album “Ya Sidi” was released in 2013 and contains 10 original compositions. The music travels from Baghdad via Cairo, Paris to Malmo, mixing Sufism, Folk, Flamenco, Jazz and settles in Tarab, the common denominator.

Iraqi Egyptian singer Nadin

Nading Rhapsody portrays the Iban ethnic’s mythical story of an extraordinary role model. Nading Rhapsody is an Avant-Garde Borneo Ethnic Music band. Their music presentation is a unique cross-cultural and fusion of folk songs, ritual chanting, lullabies, myths, stories of ethnic groups in Sarawak and Contemporary music with a new and different arrangement. The band has also composed a few original songs with an injection of various ethnic elements.

Opah Aspa of Nading Rhapsody

When I appreciated the intricate design in the yoke of her dress, she
said it belonged to her mother and considers it as her mother’s
blessings whenever she wears it.

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