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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sarawak's First Halo Cafe

A Music cafe that is famous at the west side of Malaysia, famous for the people works there and emerges as a professional singer. Halo cafe has open their first branch in east Malaysia, they have decided to extend their franchise to Miri.

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The location they obtained was a very good one, the cafe now occupies the place where Standard Charted used to be before moving to centre point 2. The music cafe is so famous that i have never even heard about it, not until the promotion team was doing their marketing and words of mouth about their opening.

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Me and colleague were given a cash voucher worth RM20 each, it was expiring yesterday and we decided not to let it go to waste.

The happy hour starts everyday at 6pm to 8pm, drinks are half price during that time except food. Every night at 9pm, young aspiring singers will be performing in Mandarin or Cantonese and English. Customers are able to request songs too, the only thing sucky about it is that numbers of songs they know are very limited, so don't be disappointed if they cannot fulfill your request.

My colleague and her husband ordered the Wah tan hor(Cantonese Fried Kueh Teow)and spicy chicken noodles, while i ordered the Halo cafe fried rice. Drinks are pricey there,with the price range of RM10 below and which makes me rather order a bottle of beer which is almost the same price.

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There food and drinks was good, not the super duper yummy good that you would go crazy about it. But the kind of good to the extend that it has met the standard and worth the price.

What else do i want to say about this new Establishment? if you young blokes are thinking of bringing your date because the place looks hip and nice, forget about it. The music is loud even when there is no live performance, what more to say if the band is performing. I doubt that you can even hear when your date trying to say something, unless the both of you are there for the music then it is recommended. If a romantic night is what you were looking for, then better go somewhere nice and quite.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rainforest World Music Festival part 2

Here is part 2 of the rainforest world music festival as promised, we missed the workshop on the 1st day and we managed to drag our ass up from bed to attend the workshop. I was told by Arth that the workshops in the Dewan Lagenda is always the best, I cannot wait to attend it but I need to fill my growling empty stomach first.

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We missed the first workshop, and again we always seemed to missed the first performances or something else. We attended the Rhythms in the rainforest at the Dewana Lagenda, this session's workshop consist of pure pounding sounds of percussion from their own band members of Huun Huur Tu, Malarija, Mas Y Mas, Shannon, Tabuh Pak Ainal, Asean percussion unit, and Tarika Be.

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I personally love this session the most since i myself used to play drums in my ex high school marching band and church, the performers rocked the entire place and they made the audience did a standing ovation. The performers were so into the beats until one them can bang the drums with his own head, he was head banging the whole way. Probably a lost rocker drummer ended up in the rainforest, or he just wanted to bang the drums so badly.

After that was the Celtic wars, performance from Shooglenifty and Shannon, with Shooglenifty performing their Scottish songs and Shannon performing the Irish songs. Although none of the members of Shannon are actually Irish, they are from Poland. Both of them were fantastic, hearing the music from both bands made me feel like I'm in the middle of St Patrick days celebration and I need a Guinness Stout or Kilkenny Ale.

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Once the workshop has finished, we headed to the food stores to buy our dinner back to the resort. After refreshing ourself, it is time to for the night session. Veronica was there during the workshop too, it was great to see you again.

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When we reach there, Ensemble Kaboul was already performing. With the tunes from the middle east and beats of the tabla, listening to something from Afghanistan was refreshing. The tabla player was awesome, his fingers moved so fast that you thought that he is not actually playing it but he was.

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Next up was a solo performance from Marcin Ruminski, doesn't everyone loved the sound of the bagpipe? I certainly do, I saw some people trying to do the traditional Scottish dance(no photos)

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Tarika Be is up next, they used a couple of string instruments that i have never seen in my life. the guitarist made it look so easy, I doubt that it is even easy and I might get my fingers tangle up.

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They came all the way from Italy, they are from no other place than Sicily, they are Tammorra. They enlighten us the music of Sicily, i thought that Italian sounds a bit like Arabic music, but it was all good.

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The last performance of the night was simply the best, a combination of the modern and traditional music. It was Huun Huur Tu & Malerija, the music they played was fusion. While the Mongolian starts to sing, there was a DJ mixing the songs with Electro and house. There eve was an electric guitar, what amazes us was the throat singing by the band members. It may sound creepy to some people, but it was amazing.

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That is all from Day 2, stay tune for part 3

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rainforest world music festival day 1

I departed from Miri to Kuching on 12/07/07 together with Arth, Airasia was surprisingly early and they were ahead of the schedule. The first thing on my mind when the plane touched down on the airport was the "sio bee", i have been waiting to sink my teeth on.

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The next day it's off to the cultural village, i took the shuttle bus from Holiday Inn at 3pm since i missed the earlier shuttle. Of course not leaving with an empty stomach, what's better than having Sarawak Laksa for breakfast before going for the rainforest.

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I met up with Arth at the Santubong resort to load off our bags, we chilled a little bit in the room then it's off to the Rainforest.

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The performances for the first day was Kelapang Kelabit Bamboo band which we missed, we started off with Randy Raine-Reusch(Canada), Black Umfolosi, Doghouse Skiffle group, Foghorn Stringband(USA), Mas y mas(UK), Shooglenifty(Scotland) and Fady(Lebanon) When we reached there, Randy Raine was already performing and Black Umfolosi was ready to perform. I was very impressed with the Zimbabweans, they dance and sing so well and create music using industrial gears like safety boots and safety helmet. How cool is that? Definitely one of the crowd favourite.

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One of my favourite is the Scottish band, Shooglenifty. Although i was expecting bag pipes, but then it was still good without it and with a few rounds of Heineken to make it better. The last band was a turn off, all the sudden the played "hips don't lie" what happen to world music? this was mainstream. We decided to leave early, it was becoming like a rave.

Below is the photos of the people i met or friends who were there, i apologise if i could not remember your name.

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Stay tune for Rainforest world music festival day2.