Sarawak Energy's Indigenous Community Partnerships Featured At The Rainforest World Music Festival 2017

KUCHING, 22ND JULY, 2017, SATURDAY: Two of Sarawak Energy’s indigenous community partnerships focusing on the preservation of cultural identity and native traditions involving the Murum Penans and the Kenyahs of Telang Usan debuted at the iconic Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2017.
A group of Murum Penan artisans showcased their weaving and beading skills at the Rainforest World Crafts Bazaar while another group comprising sape masters and apprentices of the ‘Warisan Sape Telang Usan’ (Telang Usan Sape Heritage) programme serenaded festival goers.

Aisah Eden, Sarawak Energy’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Services said the corporation was pleased to support both groups to showcase their talents at the internationally acclaimed festival in which Sarawak Energy was a gold sponsor.
“We believe that with the right exposure, these artisans and musicians will gain confidence and be encouraged to achieve more by promoting and sharing their cultural heritage. While held locally, the RWMF is an international platform that provides wonderful exposure. ”

Adding on, Jiwari Abdullah, Sarawak Energy’s head of Corporate Social Responsibility said,"We started by working closely with the respective communities to identify the programmes which best suited them. This has grown tremendously. To witness them perform and participate at the international level Rainforest World Music Festival demonstrates the successful nature of these programmes.”

At the craft bazaar, the artisans not only exhibited their craft-making skills but also welcomed craft enthusiasts to try weaving and beading, aside from exchanging knowledge with other craft exhibitors to explore creative designs and perfecting their respective skills. The sale of their craft products namely the lavung (headgear), ajat (carrier), kitong (small basket), ba’sa (bangles), beaded necklaces and key-chains were also very encouraging. Since 2015, the artisans have been taking turns to attend exhibitions to gain the necessary exposure. RWMF2017 is the sixth handicraft exhibition to feature the crafts of the Murum Penans.

Sharing on the experience Penan weaver Bawe Adu from Long Wat, Tegulang Resettlement said, “This is my first outing to an event like this through which I am able to showcase my weaving skills. It is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. What interests me is I get to see the designs of other craft products of the other exhibitors.”

Meanwhile, the group of sape musicians from Warisan Sape Telang Usan entertained festival goers with traditional tunes like ‘Elun Jebut’ and ‘Suling Apui’. This was also their first performance at RWMF. Nevertheless, they did not fail to get festival goers on their feet and try some of the cultural dance movements of the Orang Ulu community.

Sape master Alek Apoi Lanyau from Long San, Baram said, “It gives us great pride to be here at the Rainforest World Music Festival and to be able to perform our own native cultural tunes alongside international musicians. We have been training for moments like this and we hope the local and international visitors enjoy our music as much as we do.”
Warisan Sape Telang Usan, launched last year and supported by Sarawak Energy, saw some 20 young novices learning how to play the sape under the mentorship and guidance of masters Alek and Matius Erang from Long Mekaba. The group has since performed at the closing ceremony of the 4th Mobile Youth Transformation Vocational programme in Baram, the Baram Sape Master Kuala Lumpur-London 2016 competition on Malaysia Day and the Warisan Sape Telang Usan Competition 2017 at Long San.

Supporting handicraft development of the Murum Penans and the Warisan Sape Telang Usan are part of Sarawak Energy's community investment initiatives. Others include the ground-breaking Murum Penan Literacy Programme which equipped about 400 Murum Penan adults with reading and writing skills, education performance programme for Murum Penan students, skills development for youths in Baram and Baleh and an annual contribution to the Bakun Charitable Trust Fund to support the education of students in the Murum and Belaga area among others.

Warisan Sape Telang Usan performs soothing classical renditions at the RWMF2017

Festival goers join in the traditional dance of the Orang Ulu community.

Murum Penan Handicraft booth at the Rainforest World Craft Bazaar garnered good response from the festival goers.  

One of the Murum Penan artisan Bawe Adu guides one of the visitors on how to weave a basket.