Kenyalang Alive: Sape Musica Expression
The performance is based on the Sape instrument under the theme “The Evolution of Sape Music” and is divided into three segments–authentic, new compositions and world music.
Sape is a guitar-shaped traditional music instrument originated from Sarawak and Kalimantan in Borneo Island. This instrument is usually used by the Kenyah, Kayan, Iban, Dayak and Kelabit ethnics. Sape is made of soft wood like Meranti, and can produce an infatuating rhythm in tandem with the background of Borneo tropical jungle.
Originally, Sape was played for ritual ceremonies in the long house. However, the changing of times resulted in this instrument being used for entertainment and social activities, for example accompanying Borneo Island’s traditional dances like Ngajat and Datun Julud. Its music has also been made varied according to specific festivities like weddings, birthdays and harvest festival, and passed on to generations. Sape receives attention from traditional music fans due to the instrument’s calm and infatuating melody. In fact, the innovation of electric Sape has attracted the new generations to play this instrument.
This one-and-a-half hour performance will present Sape Music in Solo, Duo, Trio and Group formats accompanied by traditional Orang Ulu music & dance. There will be appearances by a few guest artists including Alena Murang, Bob AF, Ilu Leto and Persatuan Anak Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur.
Guest Artists featured in Kenyalang Alive include:
Matthew Ngau Jau
Mathew Ngau Jau is a Kenyah Ngorek Sape’ Master, with close to 30 years experience, and is a community acknowledged authority of the instrument, both in the art of performing and making the instrument. He learned how to play the instrument during his childhood at Long Semiyang, Ulu Baram in Sarawak (Malaysia). After his school education, and having pursued a career in teaching, Ngau Jau came under the guidance of the late Tusau Padan, a master sape musician and artist.
Since the death of Tusau Padan, Matthew has become the leading promoter of the art of sape music and also the art of painting Kenyah traditional motifs on bark. He is also an expert in the Orang-Ulu warrior dance and is a skilled blow-pipe exponent. Combining all these skills, Mathew is much sought after to promote the traditional arts of Sarawak.
With Lan-e Tuyang, Ngau Jau has performed at numerous venues throughout the globe as well as tourism promotions in Europe, Australia and Asia.
In Protected content , Matthew Ngau Jau was declared Malaysia’s Living National Heritage by Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture for his contribution to the promotion of Sape’ locally and globally.
Mathew Ngau Jau is represented by The Tuyang Initiative, a social enterprise focused on inclusive promotion and development of Dayak cultural heritage for a chance at fair economic opportunities and preservation of tradition, arts & culture.
Growing up in Borneo, Alena was surrounded by a rich natural environment, and cultures of many different indigenous cultures of the island. She is part Kelabit – one of the smallest ethnic groups on the island.
Learning from her Kelabit and Kenyah elders, Alena sings, dances and plays the sape’ (a traditional lute instrument). She is one of the first and few female sape’ players to perform & teach in public.
Alena is also a founder member of Ilu Leto, a band of six female sape’ players from Borneo.
Note: Also performed on 8 September 8.30pm. Tickets sold at RM20 (normal) and RM50 (VIP)
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