Sarawak Energy Launches ‘Warisan Sape Telang Usan’

State utility works with Baram community to promote the development of young sape players

KUCHING, 9th SEPTEMBER 2016, FRIDAY:  Sarawak Energy is working with the Baram community on a cultural project, the “Warisan Sape Telang Usan” (Telang Usan Sape Heritage), to help preserve and promote the interest, especially among the young in playing the traditional Orang Ulu musical instrument, the sape.  

The corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative aims to grow and develop young sape players in the Long San community of Ulu Baram, as part of Sarawak Energy's ongoing effort to preserve Sarawak's unique cultural heritage, particularly in the Orang Ulu community living in the Telang Usan area.  

The community project is undertaken in partnership with the village development and security committee (JKKK) of Long San and supported by the management of SMK Temenggong Dato Lawai Jau and St Pius Primary school. 20 young people were selected to learn the skills under the mentorship and guidance of two renowned sape players, Alex Apoi Lanyau from Long San and Matius Erang from Long Mekaba.

The lessons are conducted every weekend over a span of 72 weeks, consisting of three skill levels and after successfully completed all of these levels, the trainees are considered to have mastered sape playing.

Launching the project, Jiwari Abdullah, Sarawak Energy’s head of CSR, said; “Sarawak Energy aims to preserve and at the same time promote the culture and heritage of Sarawak's indigenous communities. We have worked with communities and sponsored initiatives in Murum, Belaga and Baleh. This builds on our overall CSR programme which pairs development with communities at its heart."

Jiwari continued," Some of the best sape players have already passed on. We hope to contribute to the various efforts for the preservation and sustainability of this cultural legacy by providing a platform through which such skills can continue to be cultivated and enhance.”

Jiwari said growing the interest of sape music among the young would also help in promoting and sharing the traditional sape music beyond the Orang Ulu community.

According to the project’s coordinator, Augustine Supen Taja, Sarawak Energy’s Senior Executive for Community Relations, the participants of the Warisan Sape Telang Usan recently did a maiden performance at the official closing ceremony of the 4th Mobile Youth Transformation Vocational (MYTV) programme in Baram and will also play in the upcoming Baram Sape Master Kuala Lumpur - London 2016 competition on Malaysia Day (September 16).

Also present at the launch were Stell Sindau, Sarawak Energy’s Community Relations Advisor, Joanne Tan
(陈楚燕) , Senior Manager for Social Investment and Community Development, Lucia Paya, Long San’s Community Leader, Mathew Belulok, Tanjong Tepalit’s Community Leader, Guru Besar of SMK Temenggong Dato Lawai Jau and SRK St Pius, JKKK members and the youth from Long San.

Sarawak Energy Head of CSR Jiwari Abdullah officially launches the Warisan Sape Telang Usan cultural project as (from third left) Sarawak Energy’s Community Relations Advisor Stell Sindau, Long San community leader Lucia Paya, Sarawak Energy’s Senior Manager for Social Investment and Community Development Joanne Tan and others look on.

The students showcase their Sape playing skills at the launch.

The students showcase their Sape playing skills at the launch.