The Senses


The Senses brings an evening of reconnection, reconciliation and renewal through a mosaic of indigenous, ethnic and cultural musical heritage nestled within the canopy of our exceptional tropical biodiversity at The Habitat Penang Hill. This year’s line-up includes David Bridie (Australia), Charles Maimarosia (The Solomon Islands) and Sangpuy Katatepan of Taitung’s Pinuyumayan community. Ushering a deeper awareness of East Malaysia are Meruked and Sada Borneo, who bring to life the spirit and rhythms of Borneo.

The current edition of The Senses is a testament to the power of global cultural and artistic relations through creative partnerships and collaborations. This year, George Town Festival partners with the Australian High Commission to commemorate the 50th anniversary of George Town and Adelaide as sister cities, strengthening the unique relationship between the two countries and three UNESCO-designated sites: the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve, the Adelaide City of Music and the George Town World Heritage Site.

Audiences also get the opportunity to bask in the sensory and immersive experience while enjoying 360–degree views of the island from Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk – the highest viewing point on Penang Island.

Together, The Senses offers an unparalleled opportunity for a shared–experience to honour and embrace the vitality and value of our intangible heritage.

About Wantok Musik Foundation

The Wantok Musik Foundation is a not-for-profit music label that records, releases and promotes culturally infused music from First Nation Australia, Melanesia and Oceania. Wantok Musik raises the local and international profile of First Nations and world music groups based in the region, and provides greater economic opportunity for artists and long-term career sustainability.

About David Bridie

David Bridie is one of the true individualists and innovators of Australian music, carving a unique path through a shifting cultural landscape to remain true to his singular vision and ethics.

From the global impact of his seminal 1980s and 1990s alt-pop groups Not Drowning, Waving and My Friend The Chocolate Cake to his ongoing work as a solo artist and soundtrack composer, the scale of David’s output and influence are matched by few Australian artists. His contribution was recognised by The Australia Council’s Don Banks Award in 2019, joining a long list of accolades that David has collected across three decades of commitment to his craft and his community.

Alongside his creative output, David is also a producer and the founder and Artistic Director of the Wantok Musik Foundation, a not-for-profit Music Label that records, releases and promotes culturally infused music from Indigenous Australia, Melanesia and Oceania.

About Charles Maimarosia

Charles Maimarosia is a unique and extraordinary Solomon Islands singer and musician raised in the remote Pipisu village of Malaita. He is renowned for being a singer of important custom knowledge, drawing equally on traditional and contemporary musical styles. Charles developed a profound interest in ‘Are’Are music at a young age after inheriting his first hand-made coconut shell ukulele from his father. He later began performing amongst the community, communicating ancient songs of his ancestors with hand-made pan pipes.

His new single, Haiamasina (English translation: ‘Loving’), is an expansive and strident love poem that illustrates the ‘Are’Are customs and traditions. The song was produced by Andrew Robinson, with Maimarosia’s bold vocals backed by the drumming of Bougainville legend Emmanuel Hakalitz and backing vocals from Ambrym, Vanuatu artist Tio.

Charles elaborates on the meaning of Haiamasina: “Universal love is conscious and loving at the same time. It is also known as universal consciousness or cosmic consciousness. Universal love is a unification of all aspects of essence. When you experience universal love, you understand the action of love and nature.”

About Sada Borneo

Sada Borneo’s music formula includes reviving traditional music with fresh and contemporary elements in their music arrangement and composition. The band loves experimenting with various musical instruments, from traditional to modern, including the Sapeh, bungkau, kompang, guitar, and keyboard. They also adapt nature soundscapes into their music.

Sada Borneo hopes to continue the legacy and rich heritage of Malaysian music by reviving traditional music with contemporary arrangements to appeal to the younger generation.

About Sangpuy

Sangpuy hails from the indigenous Pinuyumayan tribe in Taitung, Taiwan, where the mountains meet the ocean. For the past decade, his music has received critical acclaim for its poetic lyrics, soulful melodies and authentic representation of indigenous culture. Sangpuy’s music is a testament to the power of art in bridging cultural divides and fostering understanding.

Throughout his career, Sangpuy has received numerous accolades for his contributions to music and cultural preservation, including multiple awards at the prestigious Golden Melody Awards, the Gold Medal for the 60th Global Music Awards (USA) and the recipient of the Best World Traditional Music Award (USA) and the 16th Independent Music Awards.

About Meruked

Hailing from Kuching, Sarawak, Meruked is a 6-piece band known for blending traditional and contemporary elements into their music, creating a distinctive sound in the Malaysian music industry. Many of their songs significantly feature the pure and mesmerising tones of the sape, a traditional lute instrument from Borneo. With a journey spanning 7 years, they have amassed a devoted following for their unique style, which intertwines the ambient and atmospheric sonic landscapes of Borneo with modern infusions of post-rock, leading audiences to euphoric choruses and immersive atmospheric experiences.

The word ‘meruked’ derives from the native Lun Bawang tribe dialect and means ‘everlasting’. This symbolises their hopes for the enduring preservation of sape music for generations to come.

Sharing Session by Charles Maimarosia and David Bridie

Date: 17 July 2023
Time: 8.00pm
Venue: The Whiteaways Arcade, Level 1

Get up close and personal in conversation with Charles Maimarosia and David Bridie about their creative journey and process.

The Senses


16 July 2023


4.00pm - 7.00pm


Curtis Crest Tree Top Walk
@ The Habitat Penang Hill


RM150, RM540 (Group of 4)

**Inclusive of Fast Lane Funicular Train Passes & Entrance Fee

Age Suitability:

4 years old and above

Sharing Session


17 July 2023




The Whiteaways Arcade, Level 1

Pre-registration is required.

Announcement of Winners


24 July 2022



Streaming Platforms:

George Town Festival Facebook Page & YouTube Channel

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