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Alena Murang / ‘We come from a line of warriors and heroes’

REVIEW OF THE WEEK: Alena Murang’s latest music video “Warrior Spirit”, a single from album titled “Sky Songs”.

Alena Murang "Warrior Spirit" music video from album 'Sky Songs'. Photo by Vignes Balasingam. Music Press Asia

Alena Murang’s latest music video of its single “Warrior Spirit” [“Sky Song” album] is anything but ordinary. Clad in beautiful costumes inspired by her cultural heritage from Borneo, she dances ever so gracefully and always with a group dressed in spectacular silhouette alongside intricate handmade beaded accessories that became almost synonymous with creatures and verdure which we unapologetically admire in mother nature.

Admiringly known as Sarawak’s Sape’ queen, Alena Murang has fed us with some of Sarawak’s amazing heritage; one that belongs to the Dayak Kelabit heritage — one that not only represents ferocity but also of strength of its people. And this music video has transcended not only a culture almost purified of external element of a byzantine world we live in, but leave us contemplating the inconsequential element of our livelihood today, especially during post-pandemic times. The question here is ‘why is it important to feature a dance rather than a full performance centered around the artist and her band?’ And although Alena was seen rather spectacularly right in the heart of it, it is the unified motion of beautiful choreography that has enlivened and awakened the spiritual aspect of warriorhood. In circumspect, a lustrous work of art form being passed on.

Showcasing the heritage and ultimately her indigenous roots, Alena Murang brings forth a common ground we can all admit and understand. Would life persist without our roots or community? Or perhaps if we can see from another perspective of ‘could one man be his own island?’ Presuming we all have choices to make, I’d have to say no. Because life is inadvertently meaningless without a community. While we may think that the pandemic has forcibly challenged our social norms only temporarily, there have been areas in mental health and psychology that may need more urgent assistance. What matters now more than ever, we’ve come to realize that family support, whether it’s financial or emotional, is crucial in beating a pandemic. Alena’s “Warrior Spirit” helps us all admit to the strength found in the force of unity.

Warrior Spirit is an expression of sophisticated ingenuity of a culture that has continued to exist and thrive even in this generation. So, it is indeed true grace in all its form and has splendidly encapsulated all its mysticism in just one visual feast.

CREDITS:

  • The music video, co-produced by Kanid Studio and Project Room, is supported by CENDANA, Sarawak Tourism Board and Sarawak Convention Bureau.
  • The music video is the work of the same team behind Alena Murang’s award-winning music video “Midang Midang” (2019), directed by her cousin, Sarah Lois Dorai, and co-produced with production house Project Room.
  • The video features Alena’s bandmates, Joshua Maran, Jonathan Wong Ketshin, Herman Ramanado and Jimmy Chong, all of whom were instrumental in the creation of the track.
  • Costumes and accessories are styled by Styllar and working with Malaysian designers and craftswomen, and make up artist Gebriel Padan. 

Related reads Feature / Tourism & Conservation: What Do You Know About Sarawak & its Culture?

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