7–8 SEP 2018 8.30PM

Kenyalang Alive: Sape Musica Expression


Call +(60)3–2614 8261 / +(60)3–2614 8260 to purchase tickets


(50% discount for senior citizens, students & differently abled)



The performance is based on the Sape instrument under the theme “The Evolution of Sape Music” and is divided into three segments–authentic, new compositions and world music.

Sape is a lute-like instrument with traditions rooted in the Kenyah and Kayan communities of Sarawak and Kalimantan, Borneo. It is carved out from a single bole of wood, and was made out of Adau wood, which in the olden days was believed to have magical properties in both sound and healing functions.

Originally, Sape was played for ritual ceremonies in the long house. However, the changing of times resulted in this instrument being used for entertainment and social activities, for example accompanying Borneo Island’s traditional dances like Ngajat and Datun Julud. Its music has also been made varied according to specific festivities like weddings, birthdays and harvest festival, and passed on to generations. Sape receives attention from traditional music fans due to the instrument’s calm and infatuating melody. In fact, the innovation of electric Sape has attracted the new generations to play this instrument.

This one-and-a-half hour performance will present Sape Music in Solo, Duo, Trio and Group formats accompanied by traditional Orang Ulu music & dance. There will be appearances by a few guest artists including Alena Murang, Bob AF, Ilu Leto and Persatuan Anak Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur.

Read more on the Festival blog here.

About the Artist

Sape Collective

A network of Sape’ performers based in Kuala Lumpur, the KL Sape’ Collective are Sape trainers and solo Sape musicians who have played in various 6 and events around the world. They’ll be presenting music from the Kenyah, Kelabit (Orang Ulu) and Iban tribes of Borneo.

Guest Artists featured in Kenyalang Alive include:

Matthew Ngau Jau

Matthew Ngau Jau is a Kenyah Ngorek Sape’ Master, with close to 30 years experience, and is a community acknowledged authority of the instrument, both in the art of performing and making the instrument. He learned how to play the instrument during his childhood at Long Semiyang, Ulu Baram in Sarawak (Malaysia). After his school education, and having pursued a career in teaching, Ngau Jau came under the guidance of the late Tusau Padan, a master sape musician and artist.

Ngau Jau formed the traditional group Lan-e Tuyang (meaning among friends) together with his late uncle Uchau Bilung.

Since the death of Tusau Padan, Matthew has become the leading promoter of the art of sape music and also the art of painting Kenyah traditional motifs on bark. He is also an expert in the Orang-Ulu warrior dance and is a skilled blow-pipe exponent. Combining all these skills, Mathew is much sought after to promote the traditional arts of Sarawak.

With Lan-e Tuyang, Ngau Jau has performed at numerous venues throughout the globe as well as tourism promotions in Europe, Australia and Asia.

In 2015, Matthew Ngau Jau was declared Malaysia’s Living National Heritage by Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture for his contribution to the promotion of Sape’ locally and globally.

Mathew Ngau Jau is represented by The Tuyang Initiative, a social enterprise focused on inclusive promotion and development of Dayak cultural heritage for a chance at fair economic opportunities and preservation of tradition, arts & culture.
Alena Murang

Growing up in Borneo, Alena was surrounded by a rich natural environment, and cultures of many different indigenous cultures of the island. She is part Kelabit – one of the smallest ethnic groups on the island.

Borneo is ingrained in the person that she is. Taking this and coupling it with her travels, her aspirations, her battles and her questions, she strives to communicate her perspectives and ideas through visual art and through her music.

Learning from her Kelabit and Kenyah elders, Alena sings, dances and plays the sape’ (a traditional lute instrument). She is one of the first and few female sape’ players to perform & teach in public.

Alena is also a founder member of Ilu Leto, a band of six female sape’ players from Borneo.

Anderson Kallang 
Anderson has improvised his own style of sape music by creating his own unique tempo, resonance, melody and other musical features. All these make his sape music different from the traditional two string sape music.
Saufi Aiman Yahya

Saufi Aiman Yahya won four gold medals and a silver medal during the by-invitation-only 21st Annual World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA). this championship dubbed as the “Olympics” for amateurs and professionals in performing arts.

Initially a guitar player, Saufi, taught himself how to play the sape’ about eight years ago.

Illu Leto represented by:

Munirih Jebeni 

Rosmary Colony Joel 

Tasneem Bolhassan 

Ilu Leto is a band that consists of beautiful and very talented female Sape’ players from Sarawak from various backgrounds and races.

Traditionally it was taboo for women to play or even touch the sape. Nowadays, everyone can learn to play it regardless of gender and that is how was how Ilu Leto was formed as the members broke ancient traditions to pursue their dream of creating an all female Sape’ band.

The members if Ilu Leto are dedicated to exploring and sharing the musical traditions of the land; combining song, dance and music of Kenyah, Kelabit and Iban tribes.

Other Performers:

Leslie Eli
Garry Sudom Raymond
Abisheg M

Venue sponsor

Venue sponsor

CSR (Community Outreach Program) Partner

LendLease Foundation
Main Sponsor
Yayasan Hasanah Tulips Movement PTPK Caring Pharmacy A-Day ElleForElle

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