KUCHING: Malaysia’s Year of Festivals has kicked off in Sarawak with the opening of the Global Network for Higher Music Education (Glomus), a 10-day camp for 120 youth participants from 27 countries.
The fourth Glomus camp, taking place at Sarawak Cultural Village near here, is the first to be held outside the African continent.
A Malaysian contingent from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) first visited the camp two years ago when it was held in Tanzania. “We went not really knowing what to expect but we were received so warmly,” UiTM Music Faculty Dean Assoc Prof Dr Ramona Mohd Tahir said.
“Very quickly, we were invited to host the next Glomus camp. Today, we are so happy to see familiar faces and will be making new friends over the course of the camp,” she added.
Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg spoke about Malaysia’s Year of Festivals, better known as MyFest, in his welcoming address.
“MyFest 2015 campaign is aimed at boosting the tourism industry and ensure the country’s travel industry remains robust after the successful Visit Malaysia Year 2015,” said Abang Johari.
“MyFest, with its theme ‘Endless Celebrations’, will focus on celebrating the country’s racial diversity in line with the ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’ brand. The year-long calendar is packed with festivals of every genre, from cultural events to shopping extravaganzas, from eco-tourism to food promotions,” he added.
For Sarawak, there are around 10 large-scale festivals in the pipeline. They include the second biennial Asean International Film Festival and Awards, Borneo Jazz Festival, Sarawak Rainforests Worlds Music Festival, Sarawak Regatta, among others, according to the minister.
Glomus is being held mostly at the Village, which is about 30km from here. Participants will also visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Sarawak Legislative Assembly, Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, among others.
The theme for the camp this year is “Inclusion, collaboration and global responsibility in arts education” and will feature workshops on fusion drumming, shadow puppet play, drama, instrumental theatre and talks by music academics from as far as Finland and Afghanistan.
Participants are mostly post-graduate students and academics from music conservatories.
The world music event is supported by Finland’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, together with various state government agencies including Kuching North City Hall.
Denmark’s Royal Academic of Music and Finland’s Sibelius Academy founded Glomus.
Also at the opening ceremony were UiTM Sarawak Rector Prof Datuk Dr Jamil Hamali. It will end with a concert finale on Jan 18.