PhotoSparks: photo gallery from the Rainforest World Music Festival - how musicians help you think out of the box!


In earlier posts, we brought you some photographs of digital product innovations from the annual Communicasia conference in Singapore and creative handicrafts at the Sampoorn Santhe 2014 (arts fair) in Bangalore. In this showcase, we feature photographs from the 17th annual Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia, one of my favourite annual highlights.

Music is one of the most creative forms of art in its own right, and among musicians also there are those who are exceptionally creative. From unusual instruments and styles to celebration and sorrow, musicians are a source of inspiration to the creative community and society at large. Make YourStory’s PhotoSparks your regular source of photographs that celebrate creativity and innovation!

Who said a violin should be played only from the front?

At the Festival, Canadian folk band Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys wowed the audience with their pure energy, technique and sense of humour. Gordie showed why he is regarded as one of the most talented fiddlers in the field (fiddle is the ‘folk cousin’ of violin). Gordie played the fiddle from behind his back in one track, and then climbed onto the double bass for the scintillating finale!

Who said only one person can play an instrument at a time?

Gordie MacKeeman’s accompanying musicians also showcased some unusual playing techniques. The lively multi-instrumental talents of Thomas Webb and Mark Geddes were an audience delight, as they alternated between drums and bass. In this memorable segment, the two of them even played the double bass together, putting a new twist on the world ‘double’ in double bass!

Who said plastic pipes are meant only to carry water?

Many successful creative people have learnt to live with constraints and even embrace them, from filmmaker Steven Spielberg in Jaws to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone (see my book review here). So also in the world of music – the Tanzanian drum from the group Jagwa shown in this photo is actually made from plastic water pipes! This was during a period when it was very difficult to import instruments into the country. Another African instrument, the kalimba, is a thumb piano made from reused bicycle spokes.

Who said folk music is only about preserved culture?

Members of the folk band Karinthalakootam preserve the traditional rural music of Kerala in South India, which they do by talking to the grandmothers and grandfathers in the villages and by collecting instruments from temples. They carry on the local traditions – and also perform to commercial success through their tours across India and overseas. Folk music can be a source of tradition as well as a good business model.

Who said digital social networks are only online phenomena? 

The travel accommodation site (a free fore-runner of AirBnB) is a terrific way to cut hotel costs to zero while also getting a better ‘local’ experience in another city from fellow couchsurfer hosts. Even if you don’t stay with other couchsurfers, you can join them for parties – as these enterprising members show. After all, the audience at a festival is as much a source of entertainment as the performers themselves!

Up next:

July 8: PhotoSparks @ Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia, Part II!

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