KUCHING: Traditional music band At Adau, comprising five Sarawakians of different ethnicities and a South Korean, is a living example of unity in diversity.
Even the band’s name showcases multicultural harmony.
“At is a Bidayuh word meaning tree root and adau is a Kenyah name for a tree species used to make the sape, an Orang Ulu instrument,” explained Kenyah sape musician Ezra Tekola Samuel.
“It’s about going back to our roots and preserving our culture and music.”
Ezra, 25, said At Adau is a great model of what Malaysian unity looks like.
“Although we are from different ethnic groups, there are no racial boundaries between us. No matter what race or religion, we are friends and we make music together,” he said.
Fellow band member Alfonso Mckenzie, a 33-year-old Bidayuh, agreed.
“Malaysia is highly diverse and it’s our role to preserve the diversity. As a Malaysian I feel proud because with this band we can show people how different ethnic groups can unite.”
He said the band’s core values of unity, harmony, peace and love chime with the #AnakAnakMalaysia campaign organised by Eco World Development Group Bhd and Star Media Group in conjunction with the Merdeka month leading up to Malaysia Day.
Joining Ezra and Alfonso in wearing #AnakAnakMalaysia wristbands were other band members Jackson Lian, 33, of Kenyah-Bidayuh heritage; Meldrick Udos, 32, an Iban-Bidayuh; Cedric Riseng, 23, a Bidayuh; and Lee Ju-hyun, 42, from South Korea.
Lee came here in 2013 for the Rainforest World Music Festival, attended a Gawai closing ceremony in Lian’s village homestay and fell in love with Sarawak.
“It was amazing to see the harmony and unity of the people at the Gawai celebration. There are so many diverse races in Malaysia, unlike in Korea where we only have one race.
“I was very surprised to see this at first, especially in Sarawak, with all its different races and yet everyone lives together peacefully.
“This is something we need to learn,” she said.
Ju-hyun gave the thumbs-up to the #AnakAnakMalaysia campaign, saying it is a good way to get everyone to unite and that the band would do its part through its music.
“Music has no boundaries. It goes beyond all barriers of race, religion, politics and ideology.
“We want to use our music to spread love and peace.
“This campaign connects with our band’s values. If everyone loves art and music, there will be no war or conflict,” she added.