Phew. Five days in Sarawak went by in a flash.
Must be the mental haze caused by all dat langkau, the local Sarawak liquor-moonshine made from rice. Similar to lao lao from Laos.
Started the trip in style – straight from Kuching airport to this local hotel, Telang Usan, the usual pit-stop for a heavy tuak + laksa lunch. Got wasted then headed to Damai, a seaside area where the resorts and Rainforest World Music Festival venue (SCV – Sarawak Cultural Village) are.
As we had rooms in SCV, a couple of their staff came out to greet us. As soon as i put my backpack on d road, there was a sound – a clunk of tuak bottles. The guys, Leo and Bujang, heard it. I thought they would give us the official line – “No outside drinks allowed”.
Leo says “That’s a nice sound!” I reply “Yea, tuak!” He says “We have langkau! Come over to the Iban Longhouse tonite.” Surprised and glad, I say “OK.” The village has various showhouses of the major tribes in Sarawak.
Our pad was in the Melanau Tall House – a huge house on 49 high pillars.
Around midnight, a bunch of us head to the Iban Longhouse. I’ve had much drinking experience with d locals – in urban scenes as well as deep upriver in d interior longhouses, so i knew wat to expect – hardcore shit. Expect no mercy, show no mercy! But some of d boys were nervous. Haha!
When we go in, there’re a bunch of locals doin langkau, with Leo n Bujang. We get down to business. A little cup was passed around. It was sum cocktail – langkau plus some Tsingtao beer. Watever. Once u sit your ass on the ruai, you don’t get fussy or picky. U down wat u get.
“Express style,” Leo says. Which means the cup keeps going around. A shot is poured, u shout ooooohaaa!, down it, and pass it back to the tekong aka sadong – which is d guy who does d pouring, which was Bujang. He keeps pouring n passing. Later he adds tuak to d mix! Unheard of man, unheard of.
Then some other moonshine shows up – Glenford whisky. Made in Sibu. 15 bucks a bottle – shockingly smooth. Then Bujang mixes d whisky n the langkau. Neat.
Gosh, what a session. Fuckin merciless. Get high or die tryin.
Always a lot of thirsty people in Sarawak. I like.
We staggered home.
D next day was Friday, d start of d three-day fest. D music on Friday night, like last year, was crap. I didnt bother to attend d night show coz d tunes would have put me to sleep, so partied in d room.
From others’ feedback, music was crap. Lullabies.
Friday nite n Saturday nite we end up with d Iban boys again after d gig, with a twist – there was a snack with d langkau – live, fatass sago worms. Joleen had gone to her kampung in Bau n got some. Fuckdatshit. I wasnt planning on havin any. D others went for it. “Crunchy n juicy” it seems. I’ll stick to crunchy peanuts n juicy pork ribs with my booze.
D boys introduced us to a new kid called Royal. At 15 bucks a bottle, a good deal. Another Sibu product. Sarawak’s sure got a thrivin liquor industry! The label says brandy-flavoured liquor. Haha! At least it was smooth, though neat. Some dude called Alfred seems to vouch for its quality. Whodafuck Alfred?
D band worthy of being labelled as world music n deserved to be there was Akasha (Malaysia). Brickfields Blues was super. And of course the Irish Joget. Awesome mix of traditional and modern styles! (Listen here). But some idiot put them on as d first act, when their rockin, creative tunes should have been d closing act. Seems like Malaysian bands never get to be the closing act.
The music flow at the festival was pretty bad. An upbeat band followed by dinner / elevator music (Red Chamber, China). Saturday night i went back to d room midway. Haha. Coz d music was affecting my high. Potong nevermind, but fuckin turun straight.
D fest should be renamed d world jazz fest or chillout tunes fest. Coz dat sums it up. Musically it has become unexciting and very ordinary since ’07. The crazy bands are gone, so are the tribal tunes. The crowd seemed less this year.
Dont matter, coz i had a fuckin blast anyway. Ben Bitch said sumtin weird one of those nites – “I’m drunk like no drunk before!”
Headed straight to Sid’s Pub for drinks after arrival at LCCT. Had to end it right. Need closure.
Thank God for d crew i was with n d boys who hosted n entertained us there. OOOOHAAAA mafuckers!
Brain damage rating: 9/10
The Tree Stage acts were basically all filler, like elevator music. And the Portugal band had a hot chick and rock music. Gets MY vote anytime.
Worse part of festival – Kolok Mee costs RM8. Heineken costs RM8. No prizes where my money would have gone (if I actually had to PAY for the booze… LOL)
I liked the Maoris and that sexy French violinist but of course, the company was da best. You rock guys, and will look forward to next year’s. uuuuu haaaa!
3 things excited me during the trip. Moana workshops, Leo’s story telling and the bamboo raft hahah. the cultural village sleepover was smart and a good call i think. cant imagine having to walk back to a hotel after all that boozin, among other things heh. can you fit me in for next years booking? can ah…thanks man 😛
I’ve made my feelings known on the RWMF group on FB. To me, most bands were uncreative and ordinary. Some made me yawn too. Some were playin fuckin jazz – that festival is in Miri, not Kuching. And the flow/programming – fucked!
The current artistic director Randy is probably too old and behind time unfortunately.
Music, did not manage to see any, was langkaued most of the times and chilled at the beach most of the times.
BTW, lovely blog.
you had a booze party more than a RWMF party!
agreed with the lack of real ethnic music. i was more into the diff cultures that was apparent. ah well.
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