First LIBRA unveils Langkawi's potential to become capital of the blues

LANGKAWI: The first blues music festival in Malaysia, the Langkawi International Blues and Roots Aseana (LIBRA), kicked off last night in style with a promise that it will emerge as another major musical event in the country for many years to come.

Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) chief executive officer Datuk Azizan Noordin said although the show would be held until the new year's eve, the first night show had already shown its potential to become another "must" in the island's next calendar.

"Those in their 60s, as well as the younger ones, who come in to the island as tourists, and the locals seem to be enjoying the show and this is a good sign," he said when met at the site of the event at Chenang Beach here.

He said LIBRA could emerge as another signature event for Langkawi, just like the Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching, Sarawak, or the international music festivals in Miri (Sarawak) and in Penang.

"In South East Asia, LIBRA will be another (blues festival) after the renowned Bali Blues Festival (in Indonesia) and we will work together with the organiser there (in Bali) to jointly promote the festivals among the Blues enthusiasts around the world," he said.

Meanwhile, the vocalist of Blues Gang, Ito Mohamad, said the successful organisation of LIBRA is a dream come true for him to keep up interest towards the genre in the country.

"I have longed to see a Blues festival organised in the country and it happened tonight," said Ito, who is also the founder of Itos Cottage Music, which co-organised LIBRA.

He said the organisation of the first LIBRA which managed to rope in Blues bands from Malaysia, Singapore and Australia would give a good platform to promote the genre and become one of Langkawi's annual attractions.

Another co-organiser, Mike Thein of SB Explorer Sdn Bhd, said the first blues festival here would be a foundation to stir the interest towards the genre and they were planning to go nationwide to promote the event next year.

"By doing this, we hope some day, Langkawi ,which is already a renowned tourist destination, will become an attraction for blues music fans from around the world," he added. — Bernama