Location : One Malaysia Cultural Village, Sibu Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
The sape’ (sampek, sampeh, sapek) is a traditional lute of many of the Orang Ulu or “upriver people”, mainly the “Kayan” and “Kenyah” community. Sape also known as Borneo Guitar. Sapes are carved from a single bole of wood, with many modern instruments reaching over a metre in length. (Wikipedia)
First of all let us congratulate Alexander Diglin the organiser and president of PEBEDAS on his first try at Borneo Youth Sape Festival. Good job. It certainly made our 7 hr drive from Kuching to the venue One Malaysia Cultural Village in Sibu worth the while. The venue choice was great. The booths showcasing the sape producers gave us a chance to know them and their products better.
The afternoon session kicked off with the younger players competiting against each other while their sifus seated in a long row at the front judging them. Among the judges were maestros Mathiew Ngau, Jerry Kamit , Eugene Kuek, Saufi Aiman, and Salomon Gau. A star studded lineup, bravo.
The evening session belonged to the seniors, a father and son duet, a father and daughter duet and a bunch of awesome bands including an all girls band to give us a night to remember forever. I never saw sape the same way again after that night. The variety in styles was beyond expectation and imagination.
Although all players were awesome in their own right, Jimpau Balan’s piece for healing was unique and outstanding. It struck a special chord in the heart at a spiritual level. As he explained, that piece used to be played by Kenyah shamans to invite the dewas for healing the sick in the longhouse.
Can’t wait for BYSF 2.0 to happen. Hopefully, the Ministry of Tourism will continue to support this event and make it an annual affair.
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