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The Asia Music Festival (AMF), finished on October 5 after two days of high-intensity creative gathering. Following the same structure as the previous day, it featured the Mountain Wind Band, the Starlets band, and Melissa Francis from Malaysia, Fakhrul Razi from Brunei, Boy Thai Band from Thailand, Antoney Dassan Yen Party from India, and Foxy Girls from Indonesia. It was equally entertaining as day one with a bigger crowd and lively atmosphere of fine food and beverages, cozy weather, traditional bazaars, and large screens situated at strategic locations to capture the amazing performances. The eight music acts owned the stage and kept the audience on their feet. The flow of the concert was maintained by non other than Malaysia’s Gerard Ratnam of Bernama Radio 24, with background music playing in between performance breaks. This festival proved an excellent getaway for family and friends looking for a relaxing way to spend their weekend.
The concert commenced at 4pm with the Mountain Wind Band on stage. The country band with their signature cowboy hats and electric guitars covered several songs in English and Malay. The band also dedicated two of their signature songs to their audience and Jennifer lau. The five member band played a total of seven songs and ended their performance with “Banks of the Ohio” by Joan Baez. Their set was well received by all at the festival. Next to perform was the Iban sensation, Melissa Francis. The singer has produced six albums and manages her own label company, Platinum World Network Sdn Bhd (PWN). Francis sang several hits of her own including: “Lelaki Pengayah,” (in English, ‘Playboy’) “Baya Pantai,” (‘Crocodile’) “Enggai Saru Penemu Lirik,” (‘Don’t Want to Get Confused’) “Pengerindu Tua,” (‘Our Love’) and “Hujan” (‘Rain’). She was amazing on stage, and her fans connected with her instantly. As a token of gratitude, she gave away her latest posters to the crowd and ended her performance with her latest song “Meda Ku” meaning ‘Look at me’ in English. Next in line, was the Starlets Band, the only band to be showcased twice in the festival.
Fourth on set was Fakhrul Razi from Brunei. The singer gave a powerful performance alongside the Camouflage. He started his performance with his cover of “Treasure” by Bruno Mars and communicated with the audience between songs intensifying their excitement. The singer also asked the crowd to scream their names all at once as a way of making their mark, saying “Say your name out loud and make your mark.” Razi enjoys singing songs centered on family values, and he dedicated three songs to his late parents, saying “Don’t be sad, even if no one is around you, be happy, life goes on!” The performer also covered “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 in Bruneian Malay and ended his performance with “Salahkan Aku” literary meaning ’Blame me’.
Fifth on set and the people’s favorite was Boy Thai Band, coming all the way from Thailand. Their performance was spectacular, Saranyu Suwannasoonthon on Saxophone dazzling the crowd with his charisma; he even stepped down from the stage to join the crowd as he performed. Boy Thai was brilliant; they revolutionized traditional classical Thai music and modernized it impressing all at the scene, in particularly teenagers who were screaming their lungs out throughout their performance. The band is composed of Suwannasoonthon, Paron Yuenyong on Ranad – Thai Xylophone, Pakee Navee on Bass, Ekkapong Saelim on Drums, Weerasak Hambubpaka on Keyboard, and Arnon Suttjaridjun on Thai Drums.
Next in line, was the renowned Antoney Dassan Yen Party from India. Antoney Dassan owned the stage with his powerful vocals. Miri saw a new kind of Tamil folk music that night. He successfully explored indigenous and traditional forms of art and presented them to the audience. Sajith Satya added a modern twist to the performance with his bass guitar effects. The band performed well and all people from various age groups could relate to their performance. Watching them on stage gave the crowd a sense of “what it feels like to have fun,” hope, and most importantly energy. Last to perform at the festival was Foxy Girls from Indonesia. They gave a good performance and were full of life. Foxy Girls were friendly and easy going that they even asked a member of the audience to come on stage and sing with them. The three-member band was an awesome closing to the festival.
The festival was successful at promoting the Asian culture; many agree that music and food were the best combination for unity as nothing can beat the taste of Asian cuisines and modern sound of traditional music. AMF 2014 is scheduled to take place on October 3 and 4 of next year at the same venue. For regular updates, please log onto http://asiamusicfestival.net.
Contributing Writer: Brenda Manai
Image Credit: Yasmin Pascual Khalil