Penang World Music Festival 2013: Heritage Set to Tune

More than just musical acts, the Penang World Music Festival brings audiences closer to seasoned musicians and their precious heritage in afternoon workshops and nightly concerts, reports Mallika Naguran.

28 February 2013. World music lovers can look forward to international acts performing quaint and exotic tunes with ethnic musical instruments at the 2013 edition of the Penang World Music Festival (PWMF). The two day sensorial treat will take place on 30 March (Saturday) and 31 March 2013 (Sunday) at the Quarry Park within the lush greens of the Penang Botanic Gardens. 

Nasoud from Iran will rouse the audience with their unique tempo at the Penang World Music Festival 2013.

The line-up is impressive. The 10 bands set to perform are Mu from Portugal, Kimi Djabate (Guinea- Bissau), Nasout (Iran), Alp Bora Quartet (Turkey/Austria), Saharadja (Indonesia), Oratniza (Bulgaria), Inka Marka (South America), Kalayo (Philippines), Dagaya (Japan) and Dende and Band (Brazil/USA). They will be joined by Malaysian bands Akasha and Rimba, making it a total of 12 bands that will entertain audience over the two days.

The bands will give an idea of the heritage of the countries that they come from during the day workshops as well as night concerts. Mu will present the upbeat Portuguese folk tune using the bazouki and hurdy gurdy, cello and percussion while Kimi and his talented musicians will serenade the audience with the sound of Africa on the balafon.

Inka Marka will be making their second appearance at the festival, having performed once in 2007. This South American band will showcase the folk music of the Andes.

Kalayo which means fire is expected to put the heat on at the festival with their melodic traditional folk music infused with pop rock beat.

The afternoon workshops in the open air bring audiences closer to the performers in an informal setting, with the objective of learning about foreign instruments, the art of playing music according to different cultures and to partake of world heritage. This annual festival is organised by the Penang State Tourism Development and Culture Office and managed by UCSI Communications Sdn Bhd.


One day: RM80 for adult and RM30 per day for a child between five and 12 years old.

Two days: RM140 for adult and RM70 for a child.

Tickets can be purchased online at

About Penang

Kimi Djabaté from Guinea-Bissau will sing and play the balafon, the Guinean xylophone, at Penang World Music Festival 2013.

Penang the city-island state in northern Peninsular Malaysia has a long rich history of cultural significance and has thrived as a melting pot throughout its history. From being a 15th Century trading port with Ming Dynasty to a British colonial port in the 1700's, Penang has developed into a rich multi-cultural state within the Federation of Malaysia.

With the listing of Georgetown, the capital of Penang as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 2008, the significance of the island state on the world map was cemented. Given this reputation, it is only fitting that the music of the world is celebrated and presented in this melting pot of a city.

There are several direct flights flying into Penang. Or connect via Kuala Lumpur when flying international.