KUCHING: Bullerengue singer Petrona Martinez from Colombia will be among the international stars set to thrill music lovers at the Eighth Rainforest World Music Festival.
Described as one of the most authentic Afro-American voices of the Caribbean, she comes from a long tradition of singers specialising in the bullerengue an Afro-Colombian dance rhythm originating in the small towns of Bolivar and Cordoba counties in Colombia.
According to the festivals organising chairman Mohd Tuah Jais, the 67-year-old Martinez has a distinctive voice.
He said other participating foreign musicians were exoected from Italy, Algeria, Pakistan, Belize, Mongolia, Poland, Ivory Coast, Britain and the US.
The groups we are bringing in are well known around the world, he told reporters at the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) office at Bangunan Yayasan Sarawak here yesterday.
The three-day festival, which kicks off at the Sarawak Cultural Village near here on July 8, will also feature local ethnic musicians.
Tuah, also STB corporate affairs manager, said there would not be repeat performances by the international musical groups during the nightly open-air concerts.
He said that to facilitate crowd control and ensure the comfort and safety of those attending the shows, the organisers would limit the size of audiences for the nightly performances to 7,000 adults and 1,000 children.
The main stage, he added, had been relocated to provide more space for the audience.
The festival has grown into a world musical event. Many music lovers from Australia and Europe have already bought tickets to the shows, he added.
The organisers expect non-Sarawakians to make up about half the crowd.
Tickets are priced at RM60 for adults and RM30 for children aged 12 and below.
The event is expected to get wider publicity this year as STB has appointed TV3 as the official broadcaster.
Several foreign television stations, including BBC, will also cover the event.