Malaysian acts Estranged and Alena Murang launched their recently produced documentary on Borneo music today at Drum Asia Studio in Desa Sri Hartamas.
The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (K-KOMM) funded a project consisting of one documentary and three music albums, as part of its Digital Content Fund (DKD) for the music industry. This is awarded in support of local art practitioners during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Estranged and Alena Murang are also joined by Dr. Nadia Widyawati from the Conservatory of Music, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) as the lead researcher for this project. This is aimed at further documenting the stories of traditional music instruments and their makers as educational references and archiving for future generations.
DOCUMENTARY: ‘In the Roads To Our Heritage’
The 6-part series of the documentary ‘In the Roads To Our Heritage’ sees Estranged, Alena Murang, and Dr. Nadia travel across Sabah and Sarawak in search of traditional musical instrument makers.
Additionally, they also learn the art of making the instruments, understanding the intricacies of the music, and incorporating them into their songs. The instruments included in the documentary are gambus, sompoton and sundatang in Sabah; and sape’, jatung utang and selingut in Sarawak.
The documentary series covers almost 1000 km of roads, features in-depth interviews with native traditional music craftsmen of Sabah and Sarawak, a rediscovering of local traditional cultures and roots, as well as a showcase of beautiful scenic routes.
Both Estranged and Alena have a passion for preserving the local culture and heritage and this project gives them an opportunity to get these stories documented beautifully.
The Roads To Our Heritage project collaborators include DrumAsia Studio as the audio Partners, Bryan Kouju Studio as the video partners together with Triumph Motorcycles Malaysia, Insta360, Sirnasin, Holeshot Motowear, Tempatan Fest, and event partner Kanid Studio.
Alena Murang: The three music albums that were produced as part of this project are Alena Murang’s Sky Songs (which was launched on 31 March 2021), Estranged’s Sepenuhnya Vol. 02 and Velvet Aduk’s Reality.
Inspired by the stories of her ancestors that lived in the skies and on Earth, Alena Murang’s album is a journey of song through the cosmos; a song for the warriors that watch the mist rise on the morning of battle; a song of watching the clouds to tell of a good time to migrate; a song with lamentations of thunder and the moon.
The award-winning Sape’ songstress was recently nominated for the Budding Artist Award at the 15th Freshmusic X Taiwan ASEAN Music Network (TAMA). Among other wins include Best World Music Video at the 2021 BAMV Film Festival, Best Music Video at the 2021 New York International Film Awards and many more.
Estranged: In a world where releasing an album might seem irrelevant for some artists, it might not be the case for Estranged. To them, having an album is important for the fans and adds colour to the local music industry.
‘Sepenuhnya Vol. 02’ is Estranged fifth album after ‘Sepenuhnya Vol. 01’ that was launched in 2016. After 6 years, the band made a comeback with 10 songs in various genres. Rock and pop are still the two key elements to the album but this time, they incorporated traditional Borneo music elements, as Borneo is Estranged identity since the very beginning.
Velvet Aduk: Reality is an album that combines all of Velvet’s writing in different tunes and genres, it feels like a narration of real-life stories when you start digging into the lyrics. Reality is an expression of sadness where one tries to end everything abruptly because of life pressures, only to realize that there is no easy way out.
In this album, Velvet dedicates the song MAMA to her children and it is an expression of sadness to watch them grow too fast but at the same time still very happy to be able to witness every moment of their growth. It speaks about a mother’s endless love and support towards their children no matter how old they are.
Watch the trailer of ‘Roads To Our Heritage’ below.