Hollywood task for Sarawak band

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 13 May 2009

KUCHING: Homegrown band Tuku Kame will showcase Sarawak’s ethnic music on one of the biggest stages in the world when it competes at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood in July.

The five-member band will represent Malaysia in the group instrumental category after winning the national-level Worldstars-Road to Hollywood 2009 finals in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.

In addition, the band’s sape player Jerry Kamit will also compete in the solo instrument category.

Bongo player Johari Morshidi said the band was honoured to be among Malaysia’s representatives in the championships, which have been described as the “Talent Olympics”.

He said although Tuku Kame had played at various events around the world since its formation in 1998, this would be the band’s biggest performance to date.

“It is an international competition in Hollywood with more than 40 countries taking part and we aim to do our best to make Malaysia proud,” he told a press conference at the State Legislative Assembly building here yesterday.

Johari said Tuku Kame would play folk songs from Sarawak in an ethnic contemporary style, featuring traditional instruments such as the sape (Orang Ulu lute), bamboo flute and accordion.

“We feel we have a better chance of winning by playing in this style rather than modern music,” he said, adding that the band had prepared at least 10 pieces for the competition.

Also present at the press conference were Sarawak Economic Development Corporation chairman Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Sarawak Cultural Village general manager Jane Lian Labang, band leader and music arranger Narawi Rashidi and other band members Wilbert Kamit, Osaini Rajak and Mohd Fadzley Abdullah.

Tuku Kame will leave for the United States on July 10 for the championships, which run from July 11 to 19.

Malaysia will be represented by more than 20 performers in various categories, including another Sarawakian Yusrizan “Bob” Usop of Akademi Fantasia fame and fellow singer Siti Sarah Raisuddin.

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