Writing – my coffee table book

I wrote my first blog SabahSongs from 2009-12. It was about people working in the field of music in Sabah, which is on the island of Borneo, and is the birthplace of my parents. I moved there for the first time in 2008.

When I said I was going to Australia, supporters of the blog asked if it could be made into a book.

SabahSongs is about people working in contemporary music: rock, blues, jazz, Chinese orchestra, and metal. I met gentle, talented musicians who trusted me enough to tell me their stories. Together we made something beautiful.

Natural History Publications (Borneo) agreed to publish it under its Opus Publications label. The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment for Sabah made a large order, and SabahSongs: Contemporary Music in Sabah is now among the ministerial gifts representing the state of Sabah, given to visiting dignitaries and taken abroad.

It’s a 250-page coffee table book with big, glossy photographs of music events and artists. There are 150 pages of interviews with musicians, sound engineers, lighting engineers, luthiers, academicians, composers and conductors, and reviews of events ranging from classical concerts to thrash metal gigs.

NHP sent me photos of the first print run. It took my breath away.

Joanna Funk SabahSongs: Contemporary Music in Sabah

My late father Bill Funk was Press Secretary to last Governor of British North Borneo William Goode. Some of his written work is kept in the Sabah archives. Fifty years later, his daughter’s book entered the Sabah State Library. The circle of life, unplanned and serendipitous.

In Sabah, I discovered my roots. Lasting friendships were made. I left something very good there, and took something very good with me.



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