Iban music needs more research for quality — Composer

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Isa (right) and Lim talk about the development of Iban music at Unimas’ library recently.

KUCHING: Extensive research on the development of Iban music needs to be done to strengthen the quality of Iban songs and hence spur the growth of the industry.

Music composer Isa Lee believed that Iban music industry needed to keep pace with the tremendous changes in the music scene of today, more so with the growing influence of music from various other languages and countries.

As most Iban songs in the market are meant to entertain or captivate the mood of listeners, he believed that the industry should churn more music that could motivate, inspire and touch the lives of people beyond the scope of entertainment.

The SMK Green Road teacher said some of the Iban songs in the market today possessed the quality of other songs in the region and that the industry had the potential to spread its wing outside the country. However, studies to develop the industry, Iban songs in particular, remained scarce compared to proper researches conducted on other subjects regarding the lives and ways of living of the Iban community.

“Through music, we can popularise our culture, language and lifestyle to the world. Most importantly, music can unite people. One good example is when we socialise and have a good time together under one roof while listening to music.

“That is why it is important that we do research to revolutionise Iban music so it can develop into a global standard. We have to strive to improve into making Iban music industry better rather than just maintaining the current quality,” he said in a statement received here recently.

In his recent discussion with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) music lecturer Connie Lim, they agreed that the development of Iban music had begun to attract attention in South East Asia. The quality of Iban music could be considered on par with other music in the region, except that none had yet to penetrate the global market.

Isa was content that a non-Iban such as Lim had shown deep interest in Iban music. He said this went to show that there were many interesting scopes, topics or issues yet to be explored with regards to Iban music. He hoped more Iban intellectuals would be bold enough to conduct research on Iban songs or its music industry.

“Otherwise, don’t be surprised if people from other races do their own studies on Iban music industry because many Iban songs today are well received by others.”

Isa, who is a Unimas music graduate in 2004, currently pursues a Masters degree in Iban literature (specialising in Iban pop songs styled lyric) at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris at Tanjung Malim, Perak.