Heavy downpour did not dampen the spirit of the Royal Belum World Drums Festival 2013, as the beat of drums and percussion reverberated from Dataran MBI on Sunday, February 24. The annual fest, the second in a row, was attended by thousands of locals and foreigners and was graced by the acting Sultan of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, who officially closed the event. He was accompanied by his consort, HRH Raja Puan Besar of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim.
Perak Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, State Executive Councillors, Heads of Departments and other dignitaries were also in attendance.
A total of 11 cultural groups from eight countries across four continents put up an astounding performance that brought the audience to their feet. They were Harubee (Republic of Maldives), Nakhonsawan Rajabhat University and Absolutely Thai (Thailand), Egyptian Nile Folkloric Musical Troupe (Egypt), Wicked Aura (Singapore), Tataloe Percussion (Indonesia), Pancasura (Indonesia), Wild Marmalade (Australia) and Natiq Rhythm Group (Azerbaijan). Malaysia was represented by home-grown talents, Purkusi Gatra, Aswara Percussion Ensemble and Rhythm of Malaysia.
Rhythm of Malaysia, comprising students from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, won the national-level Royal Belum Perak Drums and Percussion Challenge held at Mydin Hypermarket, Agromall RTC in Gopeng earlier. They walked away with a cash prize of RM18,000.
Of particular interest were the Egyptian Nile Folkloric Musical Troupe, which incorporated the tanoura folk dance; the two-men Wild Marmalade with Matt Ledge at the drums and Simon Mullumby at the didgeridoo; and Tataloe Percussion, who created music out of recycled items such as pots and pans, brooms, bottles and even water tanks.
A day earlier, at the Gerik airstrip, the opening show for Royal Belum World Drums Festival was held. Launched by the state Executive Councillor for Tourism, Dato’ Hamidah Osman, it was attended by over 10,000 people.
This drum fest, along with a number of pocket shows held over a couple of weekends in February, certainly drummed up interest and support for this annual musical extravaganza. Perakeans, in particular, got to enjoy and experience first-hand world-class music live.
The success of the musical festival confirms the event’s popularity as a premier tourist attraction.