ALENA MURANG'S DEBUT EP
Released in August 2016, the EP, titled “Flight”, is a representation of three Kenyah folksongs and two Kelabit songs. Producer, Josh Maran (of PepperJam Productions), is Alena’s cousin, and is also part Kelabit. Together they share their interpretation of the songs.
EP Artwork by Russell Powell
LILING / RI'E RI'E
A Kenyah folk song, sung by most of the Orang Ulu people of Borneo. It is usually sung at joyous occasions such as welcoming ceremonies, weddings and after a community gathering. The whole longhouse/ community dances in a straight line, moving from one end of the longhouse to the other in circles, singing the chorus. The verses are never fixed, and are made up on the spot by anyone, usually for the context of the occasion. Alena has included a Kelabit lyrics (ri’e ri’e) in this track, which has never been done before. These were written by her father.
A song about being together. Alena plays and sings the version of this Kenyah song that was taught to her by her sape’ teacher, Mathew Ngau.
An old Kelabit love song, from the Pre-Christian era. A young girl sings about watching the leaves dry in the sun, while calling out to a lover to come and lie with her. Alena learnt this song from a Kelabit elder, Tepu’ Ira, who encourages her to share it with a global audience. Kelabits did not use many musical instruments and many songs were accompanied by the sound of stomping feet on the wooden floor, or on a bamboo mat, which has been imitated on this track.
An old Kelabit song (“layut”) that depicts the hardship of young ladies in the olden days. It is sung by a young girl who is saying: I’ve no energy to pound the padi, I can’t carry water in bamboo because it’s too heavy, I can’t wrap the rice in leaves because the rice is too hot for my hands… This song was taught to Alena by Tepu’ Do’o Ayu. Many Kelabits no longer remeber the meaning of the phrase “Re Lekuah”, which perhaps means oh dear or to let out a sigh.
LAN E' TUYANG
A Kenyah folk song, usually sung in harmonies by the Kenyah community. On the EP, Alena plays the instrumental tune on the sape’.