Ethnic music to be compiled

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 13 Jun 2004

MIRI: The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry wants to compile a comprehensive record of traditional music and dances of every ethnic group in the country, especially the minority groups. 

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the huge diversity of cultural wealth possessed by every race in the country must be preserved so that they could be handed down to future generations. 

These vastly different attractions were also assets that could be used to promote higher degree of national integration among the different states, he said. 

“The native songs and music of every ethnic group are very unique in nature. Each is different compared to the others. 

KEEN INTEREST: Dr Rais taking a closer look at a ‘sape,’ used by an Orang Ulu musical group, during the open house celebration in Miri yesterday. The minister spent some time chatting with people of various ethnic groups at the event.  

“For example, the music and songs of the Orang Ulu are haunting and serene. The melody from the sape (Orang Ulu traditional guitar) can captivate a person. They are vastly different from what the people in other states have, for example, Kelantan. 

“Kelantan people have their own unique music, songs and dramas, for example, the wayang kulit (shadow play), which is not widely known in Sarawak. All these are rich diverse cultural heritages that we must preserve comprehensively,” he said yesterday. 

Dr Rais, who was in Miri to attend the National Gawai Dayak Open House, said the government at the federal and state levels must take the lead in conserving all these rich cultural assets so that they would not be lost, forgotten or neglected. 

He said it was the Government’s responsibility to ensure that recordings of these songs, music, dances and dramas were not only properly preserved, but also utilised as assets to enhance unity and understanding among all the states and promote inter-state visits. 

“The people of Kelantan, for example, would love to know more about the Penans or the various Orang Ulu groups in Sarawak as they have seldom met. People in Sarawak, likewise, would want to understand more about the people in the other states. 

“One of the best way to inculcate these interests is through traditional music and songs, which are very attractive and captivating,” he stressed. 

Dr Rais said his ministry wants to highlight the haunting mysterious Orang Ulu music on a wider-scale in Kuala Lumpur.  

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