Finnish band at Malaysian Rainforest World Music festival

Jouhiorkesteri, a traditional Finnish folk-band will perform at the Rainforest World Music festival on Malysian Borneo. The “Horse-Hair Orchestra” is a four-member ensemble whose main instrument is the ancient and unique jouhikko bowed lyre.

“So far, we have sold more than 10,000 tickets. The sale this time is 10% higher than last year’s,’’ Geikie says to the Malaysian newspaper The Star, adding that all the major hotels in Santubong peninsula and in the city had been fully booked.

More than 200 foreign music writers, print and electronic media journalists will cover the event. They are brought in by STB, Tourism Malaysia and SilkAir. Geikie said last year’s festival attracted some 22,000 music fans, most of them foreigners and Malaysians from outside Sarawak. But she expected a lower turnout not only because of the influenza A (H1N1) but also the global economic slowdown.She said STB was working closely with the state health department to take precautionary measures to prevent any spread of A (H1N1) flu. A health centre will be set up to provide free screening for music fans and others. Pamplets on the flu will also be distributed,’’ said Geikie.

The three-day festival, the 12th edition, will feature 13 foreign and four Malaysian groups at the Sarawak Cultural Village on the foothill of Mount Santubong. Besides Finland the other international groups are from France, Tanzania, Korea, New Zealand, Hungary, Portugal, Morocco, United States, Portugal, Indonesia and Poland.
The jouhikko is the oldest bowed instrument of Europe, which almost disappeared, being played by only a handful of musicians in remote villages of Finland and Estonia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although recently revived the jouhikko is still rarely heard outside of Finland. Consisting of three generations of well-established Finnish folk musicians, according to the festival, Jouhiorkesteri is the only ensemble dedicated to presenting this unique music to the world.


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