Headed to Malaysia this summer? Mark your calendar for these two major cultural events that highlight local traditions while bringing a dose of international flavor.
Two Malaysian cultural festivals worth traveling for this summer.
Rainforest Fringe Festival
DATES: July 6–15, 2018 PLACE: Kuching, Sarawak
WHAT IS IT? A prelude to the Rainforest World Music Festival that showcases Sarawak’s local talent and tapestry of cultures, now in its second year. DON’T MISS: Homegrown production Sarawak, An Indigenous
Journey, featuring Kuchingborn soprano Dewi Liana Seriestha; performances by Australian duo Electric Fields, experimental group At Adau, and jazz singer Pete Kallang at the First People Party; photographic exhibitions like “Forgotten Beauty”— Tan Wei Kheng’s intimate portraits of Sarawakian tribal elders—and “Tattoos” by National Geographic Society Fellow Chris Rainier. OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: A creative forum on wood and bamboo with regional greats like Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue; The Market at Borneo744, where visitors can pick up Sarawakian artisanal products from crafts and antiquities to music and fashion ( rainforestfringe.com).
George Town Festival
DATES: August 4– September 2, 2018 PLACE: George Town, Penang WHAT IS IT? The ninth edition of a hugely successful cultural extravaganza that served as a catalyst for the outpouring of street art in Penang. DON’T MISS:
Kelantan, an opening show spotlighting the Malay traditional arts of its namesake state such as the mak yong dancedrama; live production 2062, which explores hot-button geopolitical issues; Isle of Dreams, a mythology-inspired theater piece by Taiwanese playwright Lee Yi-Hsiu that puts a contemporary spin on the island’s classical Nanguan and Beiguan music. OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: The opening weekend’s showcase of short films made in Southeast Asia; a screening of the Angelina Jolie–directed historical thriller First They Killed My
Father; and performance art involving blindfolded actors covered in clay wandering the city streets ( georgetownfestival.com).
Left, from top: Adelaide-based Aboriginal musician Zaachariaha Fielding, one half of Electric Fields; Lee Yi-Hsiu’s