Sunday, January 25, 2009

Heidi Vogel at No Black Tie with Valtinho

Heidi and ValtinhoShantini and Paul.
Roslan, Joanna B. and Joanne Kam.

Heidi, Valtinho, Joanna and Evelyn.
Heidi, Valtinho and the rest of the musicians, Willy Rebano, Norman and Rik Omar were simply quite fantastic!

Heidi really blew everyone away with her incredible voice and powerful emotional impact. It's no wonder she's been touring Jazz festivals all over the world, performed at the Royal Albert Hall and has been the singer for the Cinematic Orchestra for the past two years.
It was a really, really special night at No Black Tie; a full house and the audience was almost in shock, being uplifted by the sublime. Seriously, I was so awed and proud of Heidi. We've been really good friends since we were kids and it was so fabulous to finally have her here in Malaysia.

The Cinematic Orchestra just finished touring in Australia but they'll be in Singapore, at the Esplanade on 20th March 2009!


Friday, January 09, 2009

Hear Heidi Vogel LIVE!

Not to be missed! She's probably one of my favourite singers, ever! And she'll be dropping by in town next week! En route to Australia, meet her at No Black Tie on the 15th January. Check out website for details. See you there!

Heidi Vogel

Heidi has toured with the Cinematic Orchestra for 2 years. She has appeared Live on JIMMY KIMMEL Show on ABC.

Festival played include: FUJI Rock Festival-Japan. Big Chill-U.K. Blue Note-Belgium. Central Park-NYC. Heidi has also toured with the Brand New Heavies,TY, Alex Wilson to name a few.

Vocalist for the Cinematic Orchestra on 2008 album Live At The Royal Albert Hall.

Her writing credits include tracks with Bob Sinclair, Lil Louis Vega, DJ Vadim, and labels such as Kandid Records, Ninja Tune, Defected, Africanism, with which she has featured on and written a lot of music. Her first Number One for DJ Hypechart was on the house label MN2S "Inside My Soul". As well as large concerts and festivals, she has played in many renowned jazz venues around the world.

Her music fuses Jazz, Brazilian music and raw soul in a unique, fresh and inspiring way.


NST Sunday article on the trip to Belum and Temenggor Rainforest.

Check out the article on NST online with the nice pics at:

NST Online » Focus
Spotlight: 'Belum' a jurassic wonder

A total of 80 forested islands on 45,000ha of waterbodies make up the Belum-Temenggor forest complex. (source: MNS)

You might have heard stories of its beauty.
And you might have seen the damage wrought on it by logging. You could have even thrown your support, alongside scores of Malaysians, behind the Save Belum-Temenggor campaign two years ago. Don’t stop, for the journey is half travelled. If anything, your backing is needed now more than ever
, writes CHAI MEI LING

Celebrity Joanna Bessey (left) and Molly Fong, West Malaysia general manager The Body Shop, applying as natural lipsticks the red colouring produced by a rambutan-liked, heart-shaped fruit.

Each year, thousands of Plain-pouched Hornbills fly across Temenggor — a phenomenon not seen anywhere else on earth. Logging, however, is seriously threatening hornbills in the area, which require specialised diet and cannot persist in small forest patches. (source: MNS/Ooi Beng Yean)
Each year, thousands of Plain-pouched Hornbills fly across Temenggor — a phenomenon not seen anywhere else on earth. Logging, however, is seriously threatening hornbills in the area, which require specialised diet and cannot persist in small forest patches. (source: MNS/Ooi Beng Yean)
WE watched in silence. First, in awe, at the astounding view of the vast body of water that makes the Temenggor Lake, locked in like a bowl of broth, by the emerald waves of mountaintops.

And then at logs. Logs with diameter twice a man's arm length, chained onto trucks snaking down the opposite lane of the winding East-West Highway in Gerik.

In our 45-minute ascent along the highway to the public jetty in Pulau Banding, the main gateway to the forest located somewhere in the middle of the giant lake, at least five trucks were spotted pregnant with freshly felled logs.

It was harder to pinpoint the feeling that came with the latter sight.
The contrasting welcome, of inviting greenery on one side and red, barren hill slopes on the other, invoked sadness and anger, a bit of bitterness perhaps.

For corporate figure and activist Molly Fong, it was "injustice".

"I felt angry. I felt a sense of injustice, the feeling that this is not right,"Fong, the general manager of The Body Shop, West Malaysia, pointed out later into the journey.

Organised by environmental group Malaysian Nature Society and funded by The Body Shop, the trip was a maiden voyage into the ancient rainforest of northern Perak for most of the media personnel and The Body Shop people present, Fong including.

It was not hard to understand Fong's disappointment.

For two years now, the British cosmetics and toiletry brand has backed MNS's cmpaign for the protection of the 300,000ha Belum-Temenggor forest complex, an area four times Singapore's size.

A natural jewel in Malaysia's heirloom, it is the largest continuous forest complex in Peninsular Malaysia, stretching all the way from Perak up into southern Thailand.

Over 3,000 species of flowering plants, some 270 species of birds, and more than 100 species of mammals, including heavyweights like the Asian Elephant, Malayan Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Tapir, leopard and sun bear, call it their home.

It is also only in Belum-Temenggor that all 10 hornbill species of Malaysia can be found, including the globally threatened Plain-pouched Hornbill, present in large flocks of over 3,000 birds.

This phenomenon, said MNS head of communications Andrew Sebastian, doesn't occur anywhere else in the world.

"Imagine, 3,000 Plain-pouched flying over a period of two weeks. You can sit here and look at them for hours on end."

Biodiversity is not the only area the forest is rich in.

At 130 million years old, Belum-Temenggor is more ancient even than the jungles of the Amazon or Congo.

Palm-like plants of the Cycas genus, a native of the Old World and often considered as a living fossil, hung gallantly on the cliffs of towering limestone hills, as a testament to the forest's ancient existence, perhaps.

Saad Hashim, our nature guide during the trip, good-humouredly described the plants as "dinosaur food", much to the amazement of our wide-eyed team.

These are just some of the many wonders of Belum-Temenggor documented by MNS in its two, never-before-done scientific expeditions in 1994 and 1998.

These same wonders were also conveyed by The Body Shop employees to every client who walked into the stores during the MNS Belum-Temenggor Postcard Campaign two years ago.

In just two months, 80,000 postcards on the need for the protection of the forest, addressed to the Prime Minister and Perak's then chief minister, were signed by the people.

This, and many more lobbying efforts, finally led to the Royal Belum State Park May being gazetted last year by the state government.

A total of 117,500 ha has been put aside, with no further logging activities.

That was as good as it got.

While MNS was extremely pleased with the gesture, noting at once how much of short-term revenue the state had decided to forgo by making logging off-limit in Royal Belum, the area gazetted summed up to only about a quarter of the total area lobbied for.

The rest -- Gerik and Temenggor forest reserves -- was left on its own to fend off logging advances.

"We're not saying logging should be stopped immediately. Of course we need wood and we're sitting on chairs and at tables, but logging should be done sustainably, not at the expense of natural forests," said Sebastian.

The previous state government had said that logging in Temenggor would be phased out by 2009, but without proper protocol and control, this is as good as saying that loggers are welcomed to harvest as much timber as possible up until end of this year.

And oil palm plantations, said Sebastian, have increasingly cropped up in post-harvested areas, where forest regeneration should have been done.

Currently, MNS is trying to engage with the present state government to have Temenggor accorded a protected status as well, but the group cannot do this alone.

"Malaysians, a lot more than the few of us, need to know that Belum-Temenggor exists and that it needs to be saved as one, not only Belum, but as Belum and Temenggor.

"Big wildlife like the elephants and rhinoceros cannot stay in one area, they must migrate for survival. So big forest tracts have to be protected," he said.

The Body Shop in West Malaysia continues to back MNS through in-store awareness activities and fund-raising efforts to garner support from the public.

Its Kick The Bag Habit campaign alone early this year managed to get over RM90,000 for this cause.

Joanna Bessey, celebrity and Save Belum-Temenggor campaign ambassador, calls for Malaysians to rally once again for Mother Nature.

"Phase 1 of the campaign succeeded because of people power. I believe we can do the same for Temenggor.

"Something that's 130 million years cannot be grown back. You cannot replant it and think that it's going to come back. It doesn't."