Visitors at the Kuching Esplanade were mesmerised by a performance of a traditional musician playing an instrument that resembled a smaller sape, a famous traditional musical instrument of the people of Sarawak while singing an ethnic song.
Titled Busak Baku, the song belongs to the Lun Bawang tribe in Sarawak that revolves around a type of flower.
The traditional musician who sang the song and played the instrument known as tapi is Peter Rinung Paris, 50.
"This is a treasure of the Lun Bawang community forgotten by society today, we want it to be preserved and highlighted, especially among the public who never knew the existence of this musical instrument," said the Kuching branch Sarawak Lun Bawang Association (PLBS) chairman Dr Mohd Shafiq Abdullah @ Padan Kapong.
He said efforts to reintroduce and revive the musical instrument were actively carried out through workshops to find protégés to continue the legacy.
"The workshops were held in Lawas with the support of the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts. Now we have got five protégés under the age of 18," he told Bernama when met at the Lun Bawang booth set up in conjunction with the Unity Week event, here recently.
He said the participants were not only taught how to play the tapi, but they were also exposed to tapi making.
According to him, a tapi has two strings, unlike sape which has four and the instrument is often played during the harvest season, festivals or to welcome guests which will be accompanied by dances and song verses such as pantun.
Meanwhile, on the development of the traditional musical instrument, Peter said a Sarawakian, Belle Sisoski, 17, who incorporated a tapi element in her song titled 'Stop Your Game' managed to become a finalist representing Malaysia in the ongoing Commonwealth Song Contest (CSC) held online until May 31.
"My tapi is already 60 years old. Belle expressed her desire for me to produce something similar to this to be played in her song. So in this world, there are only two tapi with the same pattern," he said, adding the public can support the budding singer by voting for the song at https://www.commonwealthsongcontest.com.
The Lun Bawang booth also showcases clothes and wedding gifts as well as traditional food of the community such as nuba' laya (rice wrapped in leaves) and pinaram benak, a delicacy also made from rice.
The Unity Week Campaign will draw the curtain in this city on Friday and continue in several locations in other states until May 28 such as Bertam Square, Penang, Papar Community Hall, Sabah, Dataran Tasik Kluang, Johor and Pantai Balok Recreation Centre, Kuantan, Pahang.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency