Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Stills: Music


I am showcasing the music of the land of my birth. I returned to Sarawak recently and in 2009. I went to Mulu  and to long houses in Binatang and Sarikei.

When you visit Sarawak in Borneo, especially the week during the Gawai or harvest festival, there will be a lot of feasting and dancing. You will hear the music of the indigenous people.

The sape is one of the string instruments from the lute family, which has a short neck.
It is made from soft wood, usually the meranti's. The sape has quite an elongated body which is hollowed out and functions as a resonator. I was entertained by this musician when I went to Mulu Caves. Some one fondly dubbed it as the Sarawak guitar.


See a traditional dance from Sarawak.


This last piece is played by a Kelabit, my brother in law K and Sis in law A are Kelabits from the Bario Highlands in Borneo.



This is a Penan or Punan woman. The Penans are nomadic people in Sarawak,Borneo. Here she is using her nose to play a flute.

My younger brother, Dr Henry Chan, an anthropologist spent a lot of time in the jungle with them.


 These are repeats from the welcoming ceremony  by the Iban longhouse when we The Kai Chung school went to visit. The typical Iban agung ensemble will include a set of engkerumungs (small agungs arranged together side by side and played like a xylophone)



I asked my hostess if I could try, and she was happy to teach me.
I wasn't synchronized, but my mentor didn't laugh at me.

Sunday Stills, The Next Challenge – Music

This will be a fun challenge I think because music can be found in a lot of different people, places and things. Take some shots that reflect the music in your life.

1 comment:

Ann said...


Chen Francis Ms Chan these Kelabits are inborn musicians and IT experts. When I was in Tg. Lobang, we used to learn playing musical instruments together in the boarding house. They were able to perform on stage just after a few months while none of the chinese made it. Lately, I was told that they are good in IT too because the word "Kelabit" itself simply means Kelab(Club) IT!!! One of my classmate, Dato Idris Jala, a kelabit from Bario Highland is now a federal minister. Prior to this, he was the MD of MAS Airline...just imagine the MD came from the Bario Highland, a remote area in Borneo inaccessible except by plane!