Oktoberfest MusicVibe 2010: Passion & Pride in a Night

Copper Coins. Photo by Leon Coma

People sometimes say Pride is a weakness, something to be avoided. But then, Love makes us vulnerable too. Do we choose to live without that?

At BandWidth’s Oktoberfest MusicVibe @ Rumba Latin Bar & Grill, Le Meridien, on October 29th 2010, I think a little pride was understandable

  • You would have been proud if you had organised the event.
  • You would have been proud if your bro or sis or kid was up there on stage.
  • You would have been proud if you were a performing musician that night.
  • You would have been proud if you were there, and a Sabahan.

Rumba F&B manager Aniz ran a tight and efficient ship as the venue filled up. Sound checks were done, musicians were ready. It was Show-Time.

Newly formed duo Copper Coins — a.k.a. Jonathan Tse and Joanna Quintin — lit the night with some very pretty songs, including an original composition, ‘Goodnight My Dear’.

Singer Lester Miol took the stage next, performing a set backed by the sublime musicianship of Felix Samunting on wooden flute, soprano and alto sax. Other fine musicians with him were guitarist Steven Lee and percussionist James Simon.

Lester Miol, Felix Samunting and James Simon. Photo by Leon Coma

Then Nazri, Naza, Ahmad and Sonny B — a.k.a. Momain Blues —  worked through a set of quintessential blues. They played complaining blues:  ‘What’s a man Gotta Do?’. They played fun and fusion blues:  Nazri Ji sang ‘Buat Apa Kau Di Sini?’ from the Momain Blues EP ‘Blues Kita’, with Sonny B on harmonica.

Sonny hugged his guitar in his characteristic way, twanging and squinting and grimacing. Then he said, “We’re gonna invite a guru of ours onto the stage… Mr Johnny Toft.” This veteran singer [who’s been around since the ’70s] nodded to the band, and they eased into a version of ‘Summertime’, showing their cool hand of experience.

Sonny B of Momain Blues. Photo by Leon Coma

Johnny wailed like a down-and-out hobo and we banged the tables and howled like wolves baying to the moonlight.  We were owned. Momain Blues had us captive, happy prisoners with no resistance. Awesome.

The Rumba patrons danced the night away; local beer in their veins, local music in their ears and local passion in their hearts.

From rockin’, moanin’ blues to stompin’ Latin gypsies. Quadro Forte were up next…

Boly George of Quadro Forte. Photo by Revolution On Motion

The first time I heard these guys, I named them:  ‘Lightning Shatters The Darkness’. So no surprises for me. But plenty of people hadn’t heard them before. When Emmanuel Christo lulled his audience with the slow start of [Spanish] My Way, they did not anticipate being assaulted by the brilliant acoustic guitars of Boly George and Delbert Tiu, nor the thunder of founder bassist Innocentclair Malim and cajon box percussionist Kevin Coma.

Whoa!  The audience were up in arms with delight, then up off their seats onto the dance floor again. Quadro Forte displayed their peerless dexterity; the exquisite Spanish guitars, the subtle percussive colours from Kevin Coma’s fingertips tapping over the cajon skin.

Dancing the Sumazau to Quadro Forte's Latin fusion version of Sayang Kinabalu in Rumba, Le Meridien, Kota Kinabalu

Dancing the Sumazau with Quadro Forte in Rumba. Photo by Leon Coma

Ultimately,  Quadro Forte called everyone to the dance floor with their own version of ‘Sayang Kinabalu’.  This was the heartbeat of Sabah — the Sumazau — interlaced with the softest of latin pulses. ONLY in Sabah. ONLY by Quadro Forte.

Thank you BandWidth. Thank you Rumba. Thank you all the happy, dancing customers. Thank you MUSICIANS – you did yourselves and all of us proud!  And I think it’s definitely very, very okay!!!

Many thanks to REVOLUTION ON MOTION (Michael Jeoffrey Junior, Mitchell Lim, Amos and Emmanuel Chee) and LEON COMA for beautiful photos.

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