A Little Island That Danced

loading Oratnitza (Bulgaria) vocalist Popa, left, and flutist Hristiyan.

Through music,people have something to call their own-Sammy Asuncion, Kalayo

Bringing world music to Penang is one thing, but getting the different musicians from three continents to jam together is quite a bonus. It reflects the diversity of the crowd itself. The Penang World Music Festival is here to stay.

Music defines us. It gives us an identity, a culture. Flutes carved from animal bone, stone drums, goat-skin string instruments – all these have been unearthed in ancient civilisations all over the world, and in some form or another, they could also be found at the 2013 Penang World Music Festival. With 12 bands from across the globe, we were spoiled for choice.

I was quite excited as I stepped onto the sweltering grounds of the Botanical Gardens quarry, no doubt somewhat mindful of skulking macaques. There was already a sizeable crowd there, generously peppered with tourists – people of all ages and colour perched on slopes or sitting on mats, eating sumptuous Penang cuisine available from stalls found just outside the arena.

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