Aisah (sixth right) and Zainal (seventh left) play the Sape to launch the attempt for the 'Longest Non- stop Sape Performance' while other guests look on.

MIRI: It was a massive show of racial harmony and unity when an attempt to enter Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) for the longest non-stop Sape performance kicked off here yesterday.

Fifty-four Sape players of various racial and religious background mostly from Baram and Belaga areas, including internationally acclaimed Sape master Mathew Ngau Jau are playing together for 50 hours from Feb 15 to 17 while showcasing the traditional art and cultural heritage of the Orang Ulu community in Sarawak.

The musicians either play individually or in groups in a non-stop continuous musical relay starting from 9.30am yesterday (Feb 15) up to 11.30am on Feb 17.

Sarawak Energy executive vice president for corporate services Aisah Eden said the attempt organised by Sarawak Energy in collaboration with RTM goes a long way in promoting Sape music and producing younger players.

“This meets our goal of preserving art and culture in the state which seems to be fading over time,” she said when officiating at the launching ceremony at Auditorium RTM Miri here yesterday.

Aisah said this is the first such attempt in Malaysia Book of Records.

“To preserve the Sape tradition and heritage, Sarawak Energy partnered with Long San Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) in 2016 for a Sape training programme targeted at youths in the rural areas,” Aisah added.

A total of 20 participants including students from SMK Temenggong Lawai Jau and SK St Pius completed the 18-month training programme known as Warisan Sape Telang Usan in 2017.

“The programme focused on playing traditional tunes popular amongst the Orang Ulu folk.

“Those who had completed their training became competent Sape players, with some performing at Rainforest World Music Festival in 2017 and 2018,” she said.

They had also recorded a soon-to-be released album 'Warisan Sape Telang Usan Recording in 2018'.

The attempt at MBR which will end this Sunday also features stalls offering a wide range of local handicrafts, including Sape with traditional design and food to enrich visitors' experience.

The attempt is aired live over some of RTM's channels, with different traditional and new Sape tunes by both veteran and young players.

Also present at the launch were Sarawak broadcasting director Zainal Abidin Asri Abd Wahid, RTM Sarawak deputy director Tabat Sakai, Sarawak Energy general manager (for corporate social responsibility and sustainability) Jiwari Abdullah, RTM Miri controller Zaidi Bujang, Malaysia Book of Records business development manager Edwin Yeoh and several community leaders.

> Source: Borneo Post Online