Alena Murang's video showcases Sarawakian heritage, wins styling award at video fest


Kuching-born KL-based musician/artist Alena Murang won the Best Styling award at the Buenos Aires Music Video Festival in Argentina for her 2019 Midang Midang music video.

Midang Midang’s director Sarah Lois Dorai and hair and makeup artist Gebriel Padan will share the award with Alena.

“We are very honoured and very proud to showcase Sarawak identity and stories through fashion and through film. We’re so thankful to everyone involved in the styling, ” says Alena, 31.

The sape (traditional lute) player, who has Kelabit and Italian-English parentage, says her outfits and accessories featured in the music video were all from Sarawakian designers and traditional craft workers.

Her Kelabit influences in the video can also be seen with the traditional beads used. A dress with a motif of the late sape master Tusau Padan is also a tribute to the Sarawakian legend.

Midang Midang was also in the running for the Best International Video - alongside Madonna - but the award went to Spanish singer Maria José Llergo’s A través de ti.

The winners were announced recently on the festival’s website.

“To be recognised for our cultural heritage on an international stage is encouraging for us, to see that although our native community is so small we were able to create something that people could relate to or that people around the world wanted to watch, ” says Alena.

“We want our stories to go far. It encourages us to create more and to be brave with our ideas, ” she adds.

Midang Midang is an old Kelabit song which Alena learnt from her grand aunt (Tepu’ Ira). It is about a young girl watching leaves dry in the sun.

The music video was produced by KL-based film creative hub Project Room and Alena’s Kanid Studio. It was shot in the Bario highlands and Miri’s Tusan Beach in Sarawak.

“We've seen from this video the potential and the power that it has to showcase our culture across the world. I hope that (arts) funding bodies, particularly from the government, will seriously consider supporting music videos as they have the potential to carry powerful messages, ” concludes Alena.

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