in my defense, i did not act alone. it was a phenomenally effortless group effort in collaboration with the band. you see, i wanted a backstage exclusive of the band ‘masters of sape’ and their setup for the first night’s concert. and me and the band, kitorang dah bertahun-tahun dah berkawan so depa pun takde hal for me to follow them. mathew stuck one of his homemade hats on my head and aku selamba je walked through the security sekali dengan the band.
passing through the security dengan muka pokerface yang amat convincing sekali. jalan cepat-cepat.
the programming for stage2. complicated, with a garang looking technician guarding it.
the view from stage2. also known as the tree stage. because ada pokok tumbuh right through the stage.
mathew and tegit tuning their sapes. which is a fine art. every sape is homemade, has different dimensions and vibrates on different tones. tuning these things is almost completely, if not totally and completely, by ear.
the sound of the sape is low and hollow and comes out from the back of the instrument. categorically, the sape is a form of boat lute. all these musician’s sapes have been fitted with simple pickups to capture and amplify their sounds.
sape strings, for most orang ulu players, are still largely fishing lines. adalah some yang pakai the super soft guitar strings tapi for those who stay in places like belaga and ulu baram, kat situ takde kedai guitar. so mereka pakai fishing lines. either that or telecom wires or bicycle cables (inside joke).
tuning three sapes for the show.
masters of sape played opening for the entire rainforest world music festival this year. oh, gambar ini dah lepas keluar dari the stage area. i got to hand it to the security guys, they are good at what they do. oh, and they are actually polite about it also, and even thanked me for not arguing with them.
tegit usat, master of sape
asang lawai, master of sape
mathew ngau jau, master of sape
the band’s gig was short. 15 minutes only. but you know, what randy said was right. unless you actually take a boat and hike for several hours into the ulu, it is unlikely that you will find three sape masters jamming together in a place like this.
and yea, i do listen to mainstream music too. tapi sekali-sekala, it is pretty refreshing to listen to ethnic roots music. it has heart. and that is not easy to come by.