KUCHING: The Sarawak International Festival of Music and Arts (Sifma) 2.0 kicked off with great fanfare on Saturday night (Nov 20), a brilliant show filled with vibrant music, dance, colours, and lights.
The concert was graced by caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and his wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang; Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and his wife Datin Seri Zuraini Abdul Jabbar; State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar; Sifma founder and organising chairperson Dr Geraldine Law-Lee, and other guests.
It was held at the Sarawak DUN Complex here with strict adherence to the standard operating procedure (SOP) and guidelines for everyone’s safety amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The concert highlighted and showcased the heart and pride of Sarawak – namely its arts, culture, and harmonious spirit – on the global stage.
The show kicked off with a solo dance featuring the hornbill, a symbol of Sarawak which holds great significance.
Also presented was a video on ‘The Musical Journey from Northern Sarawak’, which depicted the symbolic journey of the Sifma plaque from the far reaches of the state to the Sarawak DUN Complex. The video showcased the unique culture and dances of the Orang Ulu, Melanau, Iban, and Bidayuh.
This blended seamlessly from the screen to a live opening performance which included a choir, dancing, and the colourful traditional costumes of the many ethnic groups – a grand welcome indeed.
There were also segments featuring the Malay group with silat and zapin performances and the Chinese group with wushu, music played on Chinese instruments, and a dance.
In addition, there were ballroom and Latin American dance performances as well.
All in all, the concert was a cohesively and intricately woven tale comprising the various ethnicities in Sarawak.
The live performances were presented by numerous talented Sarawakian acts, including Karya Terindah Performing Arts group, Kenwy Music & Arts Academy, La Danse Studio, and Russell & Randell Dance Company.
Not only did the event feature music and dance performances by local talents in Sarawak, it also virtually presented performances by top artistes from different corners of the globe.
The show continued with virtual screenings of groups from Kuala Lumpur and overseas, including KL Duo, The Bolshoi Ballet Company Russia, Taiwan Bamboo Orchestra, Krishna Group India, Bisayaw Philippines, National University of Singapore Choir (NUSChoir), and Suc Song Moi Bamboo Ensemble from Vietnam.
Sifma, a two-day event, spanned the weekend of Nov 20 and 21. With digital technology, the event was not only enjoyed by those physically in attendance but also livestreamed at various locations in the state, country, and the rest of the world – allowing everyone to be a part of this enthralling experience.
Also among the highlights of Sifma was a forum called ‘Let’s Talk’, which featured inspirational stories and advice from professionals and enthusiasts within the music and arts community such as Andre De Quadros, Dong Quang Vinh, Tom Jackson, Matthew Koon, Edric Ong, Jolynn J Chin, Sasha Namara, Arzmy Hargreaves, and more.