Opinions & People

Focusing on…Nisa Addina Taufik

by Su Aziz

A talented young violinist from Sarawak is one of the key performers for MOCAfest during the 13th WIEF. Before that, she talks about how she’d change the world if she could and how she’d put her popularity to good use.

Fluid, precise drawing of her bow across the violin’s strings produces affecting, robust tunes that belie a demure and soft-spoken person who’s generous with her smile. Meet Nisa Addina Taufik and she’ll be performing at MOCAfest during the 13th WIEF in Kuching this November.

Her love affair with the violin started at the age of seven. ‘I was having piano lessons with my teacher and I saw her tuning another student’s violin. I immediately fell in love with the Instrument,’ she recalls. ‘I chose it because it has a beautiful tone.’ Sarawak’s star violinist stands at just over five feet tall and may look featherweight but 21-year-old Nisa has been commanding the stage from an early age.

Today, she has two albums under her belt and is making waves in the international music industry. She’s also a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, United States. Two years ago, in 2015, she joined a band of Berklee students called Fluorescent Collective. It’s founded by Boston-based Malaysian pianist and recording artist, JennHwan Wong.

Here, we catch up with her for a short interview.

What does your perfect day look like?
My perfect day is a day when I’m very productive with musical ideas and
brainstorming, hanging and jamming with friends. Basically, having fun while doing
what I love. Oh, and also video games and my favourite TV shows, but I don’t think
all of that can fit in a day.

Right now, what’s the most important thing to you?
Right now, the most important thing for me is to improve myself on my skills as a
musician and prepare myself for the outside world after graduating. It’s going to be a
whole new experience because I won’t have assignments due anymore but
actual clients instead – not just for performance gigs but also production gigs too.

What are the three things about a violin that not many people know?
1. Fiddles and violins are the same instrument. Fiddlers play bluegrass or country and
prefer to call it a fiddle.
2. Violin is hard to master.
3. The bow hair is made out of horse hair and we apply rosin to create friction on it.
With that being said, anything oily on the bow will ruin the hair and the cost to re-hair
a bow is pretty expensive. There are natural oils on our skin, so if you see a violin
bow (or any other string instrument bow) please don’t touch the hair!

If you can change one thing about the world now, what would it be?
If I could change one thing in the world, I’d change how people perceive art in general
as something unneeded or unimportant. It’s actually pretty important in our daily
lives, everything from architecture to music therapy to how we describe things
through visuals. It’s not just science, or just art. It’s a collaboration of both that makes it a
perfect balance.

How would you use your popularity?
I want to use my popularity to create a more positive and hopeful environment for the
people in my generation in Malaysia. I hope as a musician during this era I can contribute
to the music industry, and also inspire others as well, with my own style and approach.

Any plans for a third album?
Yes, it’s in its planning stages. I have a few songs in mind.

Where are your three favourite spots in Sarawak?
1. Damai Beach, because it’s a nice get-away place.
2. Kelab Golf Sarawak, because I used to go there a lot when I was a little.
3. Sarawak Cultural Village, because I love how Sarawak’s many, many traditions are brought together under one roof.

What can we expect from your performance in Kuching for MOCAfest?
You can expect an original composition about the Rainforest. It’ll be a *collaboration between two ‘Kuching-ites’. Also, thank you to the organisers of WIEF and MOCAfest for having me at this forum in Kuching!


*Nisa performed virtually from Boston with fellow Sarawakian Jeremy Kamit, a sape player, on 22 Nov 2017 during MOCAfest’s Soundscape and performed her own composition which was specially arranged for MOCAfest.

For more on 13th WIEF and our Foundation’s initiatives, download our 2017 report here.

6 Nov 2017
Last modified: 12 Jun 2018
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