the call came at 4am on sunday and MN set off immediately. i only found out later that morning, uchau bilong just passed away.
the name may be unfamilliar to most of us. but among sape players, he is known as among the greatest. i have had the privilege of only a brief encounter with uchau about a year ago. and i got his CD in my car.
i attended his funeral on monday. while his descendents are into tribal stuff, neither of them took on their father’s sape skills. as his casket travelled to the local cemetary, it was asang lawai (another sape legend) and his son uynes, who played uchau’s signature tune “titik kenai ujan” at the back of mathew ngau’s truck.
uchau is buried near the grave of another great sape player, tusau padan, who died just a few years ago.
sudah tak ramai yang pandai main sape rancak dengan bunga, asang tells me.