Rich Music Resonates From Mount Santubong

loading Teada, from Ireland.

The Rainforest World Music Festival last month took audiences – and this writer – to new heights of musical ecstasy.

Lightning provides firework in the sky: flash, bang. The Bornean rain whips at the audience, but they are not deterred. Instead, the storm appears to invigorate them as they dance to the Cretan lyra, with a backdrop of towering trees that provide no shelter from the rain. “Our first song is a prayer for the rain to stop,” announces Stelios Petrakis of the Stelios Petrakis Cretan Quartet at the beginning of their very wet set. The crowd doesn’t care; it is hungry for the sound of the strings and drums from an island half a world away. The music starts, and so does the dancing.

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