the festival day arrives and we all head to the culture village in high spirits. the crowd is a little slow this year, but this did not mean that there was quite a large audience for the workshop and concert sessions. and while mathew, being the popular one, went around shaking hands with people, asang and uynes looks actually quite excited.
i am assigned as an interpreter for asang during his workshop sessions. the first one was in the iban longhouse and asang opened with a great version of the song, you guessed it – uyau untang! :)
thing is, he played the long version but the rest of the participants in his workshop was happy to play along with him as lead. after the session, so many people came up to take pictures with him and he was so happy.
even the other participants in the session came to take a group picture with him. and even while we were walking back to the theater to keep the sape after the session, people kept stopping to take pictures with him.
laku jugak ha, asang tells me, and laughs.
that’s the band practicing on the tree stage. that’s the fourth member of the band, lawai, mathew’s son. he plays the slotong, a bidayuh bamboo instrument.
view of the concert area from the tree stage. yes, i can finally said that i have stood on a stage at the festival. it was not during the performance, but that really is not the point :D
the band’s first song for the evening was a tribute to uchau bilong.
i looked around the crowd as the band played. there are about three kinds of people. the kind who don’t get traditional music and are uninterested. the kind that tries to understand the music. and the kind that just allows the music to immerse its tune into them. sadly, there are not that many of these kind of people.
i spoke to some people later in the festival and we agree that not everyone is here for the music. lots come to party and lots come to drink and meet people. and these are absolutely not wrong reasons to come for the festival. it is just that i wish that more people appreciate the pure traditional tunes, you know?
that’s the discovery channel getting ready to do an interview with the band.
asang’s other workshop at the theatre. mathew had given him strict instructions not to over play his sape and he cut the two songs he played – bakung pok and uru kawa – into nice short pieces.
asang and uynes posing with the red chamber band after the workshop. they were interested in their sape and posed with it. did you know that asang made the two sapes himself? and there is supposed to be a bird at the top of the sape. but i already talked about that in part 1.
following the band had been an awesome experience. i was all of it – interpreter. groupie. fan girl. person who helped carry cable wires and other equipment. it was awesome.