Sarawak Energy’s Warisan Sape Team to Attempt Malaysia Book of Records Entry with Longest Non-Stop Sape Performance

KUCHING, 12 FEBRUARY, 2019, Tuesday:  Sarawak Energy continues to work with indigenous communities to preserve Sarawak’s unique cultural heritage in music and handicraft. As part of this collaboration, the corporation initiated the Warisan Sape Telang Usan programme in 2016 to train 20 youths from Telang Usan, Baram in the art and skill of playing the Orang Ulu traditional lute or sape.  

To showcase the programme’s success and the skill of the Sape players under the programme, Sarawak Energy has organised the Longest Non-stop Sape Performance in partnership with RTM with a view to enter into the Malaysia Book of Records.

They will be joined by sape players from Baram and Belaga to make up a team of about 50 Sape musicians who will perform for 50 hours from 15 February until 17 February. The musicians will play individually or in groups in a non-stop continuous musical relay from 9.30am on 15 February up to 11.30am on 17 February, to achieve the 50-hour target.

To be held at the RTM Auditorium in Miri, the event will see Warisan Sape Telang Usan lead the non-stop performance supported by additional sape musicians from Baram and Belaga. The event will be aired live over some of RTM’s channels, showcasing different traditional and new sape tunes or melodies by both veteran and young players.

Warisan Sape Telang Usan was organised in partnership with the Village Development and Safety Committee of Long San in Baram and supported by two schools in the area- SMK Dato Temenggong Lawai Jau and SK St Pius. The first batch of trainee musicians enrolled for the 18-month training programme in 2016 and successfully completed the programme in 2017. They have played at various cultural events including at the Rainforest World Music Festivals in 2017 and 2018, and recorded a soon-to be released album Warisan Sape Telang Usan Recording in 2018.  They continue to be in demand at cultural events.

Internationally acclaimed sape maestro Mathew Ngau Jau will also participate at the event and visitors will have the opportunity to see his extraordinary sape playing skills.

Sarawak Energy’s General Manager for CSR and Sustainability, Jiwari Abdullah called on the public especially those living in Miri to come and support the effort to preserve and promote traditional music and musical instruments.

“The veteran players are getting old and we need the young players to learn from them through various ways including events like this,” said Jiwari, stressing on the need to preserve the musical heritage of the Orang Ulu for the future generation.

There will also be stalls offering wide range of local handicrafts which include sape with traditional design and food items to enrich visitors’ experience to the event.

File photo of members of the Warisan Sape Telang Usan at last year’s Rainforest World Music Festival.