Sarawak artist Alena Murang has dropped a soothing new single ‘Meno” with a tranquil music video to boot.
The music video premiered on YouTube on Friday (January 29). In the clip, Alena, strums her signature instrument: the Sape, a traditional lute of the native Ulu (upriver) people in Sarawak. There are also scenes of her backing band playing, as well as scenic views of rivers and mountains in her home state.
According to Murang, the track title ‘Meno” means “a feeling of yearning for something or someone” in the language of the Kenyah people.
Watch the video clip below.
Murang told Astro Awani that the idea for the music video came from the long journeys her ancestors took from the highlands of Sarawak to trade in the coastal town of Miri.
“At the time they sang ‘Belian Meno’ which means yearning or thinking of something that is not there,” she said.
She said her ancestors endured rough journeys, passing through rainforests and rivers with small boats and sleeping in longhouses.
“Recently, I am frequently traveling abroad. I will sing this song on stage and think about how I missed my home village,” the Kuala Lumpur-based artist said, adding that the current pandemic has prevented her from returning to Sarawak often.
According to Astro Awani, the music video was endorsed by Malaysia’s Multimedia and Communications Ministry and is part of the ‘Roads to Our Heritage’ musical project. The project involves three albums by Murang as well as the bands Estranged and Stonebay. It will also include a documentary series exploring East Malaysia’s music heritage in the states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Alena released her debut five-track EP ‘Flight’ in 2016, and has since released several singles such as ‘Pemung Jae’ and ‘Re Lekuah’ last year.
The artist, known for her folk songs that draw from the Kelabit and Kenyah indigenous groups, has also performed at numerous international festivals such as SXSW (US), Colour of Ostrava (Czeck Republic), Paris Fashion Week (France), OzAsia Festival (Australia), and more.