5 min with Alena Murang
We were honoured that Alena Murang was willing to spend 5min from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for our blog. Thank you Alena!!!
How did you get interested in learning the sape? Did you play any musical instrument before that?
I learnt traditional dancing since age 6, and then my cousins and I decided to learnt the sape’ as teenagers. We were the first students of Mathew Ngau Jau.
We are very impressed that you were not only the first female sape player but now you have also founded the first all girl sape band in Malaysia? How did the idea of Ilu Leto come about?
Rosemary, Munirih and I were all living in KL, and playing sape’ as solo musicians, or with the guy sape’ players living in KL. I just thought it would be nice to play together as women, I think there’s a different sound and different emotion and energy when women play as compared to men. We had our first performance together as “Ato Leto” at Gaslight Cafe in KL. Soon after, Tasneem, Iqa and Elizabeth who are based in Sarawak joined us and we then got together to perform at festivals in Sarawak. We became “Ilu Leto”. We’re playing our first overseas show in Taiwan in October.
So you observe any special routine before a performance?
I meditate, and look for my late grandparents. If I can, I stand barefoot on the earth before a show.
With which artist (classical or contemporary, local or foreign) would you like to collaborate?