Sample Orang Ulu culture at highland music, dance festival

Jok (fifth left) and Dennis (on Jok’s right) with other members of the organising committee pose for a group photo after the press conference.

MIRI: Embark on a tour to the sub-district of Long Bedian, Baram next week to immerse in the rich culture of the highlanders in the north at Sarawak Highland Folks Music and Dance Festival 2018.

The fourth edition of this festival jointly organised by Telang Usan District Office, Long Bedian Sub-District Office and Long Bedian village security and development committee will take place from Dec 14 to 15.

According to co-organising chairman Jok Eng Jok, members of the Orang Ulu sub-groups from several villages in Baram will be performing their distinctive music, dances and songs.

“Sarawak Highland Folks Music and Dance Festival 2018 will explore the best of Orang Ulu performing arts including traditional music, dance and theatre. Participants will play their traditional musical instruments, sing traditional songs and showcase traditional dances and plays.

“Most of these performances are usually not performed at other occasions,” said Jok at a press conference here yesterday.

He added that the festival aims to promote arts and culture through music and entertainment as well as to provide an avenue to further enhance tourism products in the state and the highlands in particular.

“It is also hoped that it will act as a platform for the younger generation to explore their talent in traditional arts to prevent it from going extinct over time,” said Jok, adding that over 3,000 festival goers are expected at the event.

Activities planned for the two-day event will include talks by various government agencies, a handicraft sale and exhibition to provide locals the opportunity to get involved in economic activities.

Baram MP Anyi Ngau is expected to officiate at the launching of the festival on Dec 15.

Present at the press conference were Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, representatives from Marudi District Council and headmen of several participating villages.

Dennis emphasised the strong need to turn the bi-annual festival into a tourism product, especially for Apoh region of Baram.

“With road upgrading projects from Long Bedian and several villages in the Apoh region as announced by the state government, as well as the Long Lama Bridge which will be completed next year, we believe this programme will attract many visitors to this area,” said Dennis.

Dennis pointed out that the festival is strategically located as Long Bedian is located between Mulu National Park and Loagan Bunut National Park.

Apart from Sarawak Highland Folks Music and Dance Festival, Dennis added, several activities had also been organised in his constituency in recent years to promote tourism spots and culture including the Long Lama Water Festival, Pesta Penguman Asen (Local Food Festival), a sape competition in Long San and the Baram White Water Rafting Challenge at Sungai Tinjar, Baram.

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