SIBU: Sape, a traditional Orang Ulu musical instrument, is still popular today mainly due to aggressive promotion by the media and Ministry of Tourism and Culture, said sape master Mathew Ngau Jau.
He said with the assistance of the government, he had been able to play for a global audience all these years.
Thus far, Mathew had wowed audiences in countries such as Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Holland, Australia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia.
A regular feature at the annual Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching, he is due to perform at an international performance concert in the United States in August this year.
Mathew, a Kenyah from Baram, is a celebrity of sorts. He was named one of Malaysia’s Living Heritage by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture last year.
The former SMK Bau teacher has been playing sape professionally for some 20 years.
“Sape, to me, is just like my second wife. I play and sleep with it every day,” he said here yesterday when he symbolically handed a sape to University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS). It was received on UCTS’ behalf by vice-chancellor Professor Dato Dr Abdul Hakim Juri.
UCTS has just formed a sape club. UCTS senior manager (Students Development and Services) Clement Langet Sabang said club members were privileged to learn sape under Mathew.
He said the club had so far bought four sapes from Mathew, including the one received by Abdul Hakim.