RWMF’s youngest musician, Nikita aims to make a name for himself as a sape player
KUCHING: Names like Jerry Kamit and Elizabeth Bungan are among the famous musicians for the sape or sampe instrument, which is a traditional stringed musical instrument of the Orang Ulu community, namely Kenyah and Kayan, in Sarawak.
For the youngest sape musician, Nikita Sarna, 11, who is the youngest performer at the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2022, Jerry has always been his idol in the sape industry, so he hopes to one day pursue his dream of becoming a professional musician, following in the footsteps of Jerry and Elizabeth.
“In the next few years, I dream of opening my own sape class, like my teacher Hallan Hashim. I can’t wait to make it happen.
“My first idol for sape instruments was Jerry Kamit and my cousin introduced me to Hallan Hashim who is now my teacher. He told me about Alena Murang (an internationally recognized Sarawak sape player) and now I can’t believe I’m actually on stage Alena, “she said.
Nikita or better known as Niki said she was proud to be able to perform at RWMF, let alone on the same stage as the person she admires, Alena.
Alena, who is from Kelabit and of Italian-English descent, is also a singer and songwriter.
“This was our first collaboration and I got to know her when I was nine years old and since then started to get interested in her, seeing her play sape, it was so calm and beautiful.
“RWMF is a lot of fun and this is the first time I have performed in front of a crowd like this. I am excited but at the same time quite nervous to perform here,” she said.
Nikita, who is of Kayan and Punjabi descent, said she owned a sape instrument when she was eight years old after watching a YouTube video clip at a family gathering in conjunction with Christmas and immediately fell in love with a musical instrument that resembles a guitar and belongs to the chordofon or stringed musical instrument family.
The Selayang-born and later moved to Miri when he was seven years old said he was lucky as both his mother and father gave strong support to his dream of playing sape and mesmerizing the audience with his skills.
Nikita will showcase her sape playing skills at the RWMF 2022 highlight event tonight with local and international artists such as Alena, Tima Vaananen from Finland, Yayi Cai (China) and Flame of the Forest (Singapore).
source – BERNAMA