Bornean Masters & Makers

Learn from the masters.

Weaving, beading, dancing, singing or Sape playing. These are amongst the many skills practiced by the indigenous communities of Borneo for generations.

Here’s a chance for you to get a glimpse and learn the same methods the community themselves would impart onto their next generation.

The artisans & practitioners we share with you are acknowledged in their communities as master or true practitioners.

Mathew Ngau Jau

Sape Master performer and maker

Mathew Ngau Jau, of the Ngorek tribe, is known as Keeper of the Kenyah Ngorek Songs, from Long Semiang in Ulu Baram.

He is one of the few professional Sape players in Borneo and is recognised as the undisputed authority on the instrument.

His musical work is based on age-old Sape techniques, which he also highlights in his own contemporary and innovative compositions. His appearances internationally have not only brought the Sape to the world audience, it has also given the younger generation of the region a fresh interest in this cultural heritage. 

In 2015, Mathew was awarded Living National Heritage by the Malaysian government. 

Mathew is amongst only five Living National Heritage of Malaysia.

SAPE : The long lute-like stringed instrument made from a single bole of wood which is hallowed out and decorated with elaborate designs. Originally played for headling rites and was capable of bringing about a trance state.

Adrian Jo Milang

Traditional Singer/Storyteller

Adrian is not your typical 20-year old. He can teach you about epic warrior stories and beautiful epic poems…told in the Kayan language and in song. 

This is the Kayan oral art form of the Parap and Takna’ in which outsiders would only typically experience as part of a visit to a longhouse or to a Kayan event.

Adrian who is based in Bintulu, but whose family is from Tubau, is immensely passionate about sharing this art form in other Kayan villages as well as locally & internationally as means to ensure its preservation for generations to come.

Rose Belare

Traditional craft maker

Rose Belare is from Long Tungan in Baram. With over 30 years of experience across a multitude of traditional craft making skills namely weaving, beading and embroidery, she has ventured into efforts to contemporarize traditional designs to suit the taste of the modern market.

Rose is also working with rural communities to ensure responsible and sustainable extraction of raw materials like bamboo and tree bark. This gives income for the community and allow craft makers to focus on the design and production.

Rose, with her husband Jarau Braim also choreograph traditional Kenyah dance performances and cultural demonstrations. They have performed and exhibited both locally and internationally.

Rose also conducts crafts workshops in rural villages so the women can use their crafts-making skills as a tool to relief poverty.

SABU ULENG : The “Sabu Uleng” in Kenyah literally means the “necklace with red pendant” is a traditional piece of the Orang Ulu community. Traditionally, it is shaped and designed from rare and durable materials such as stone and glassbeads. It was once believed that the owners of such beads render power to it.

Services offered

  • Classes and workshops (Private & Group)
  • Cultural demonstrations & exhibitions
  • Private art or product commissions
  • Talent booking for Events

Contact us

Please let us know should you be interested in our Masters & Makers.

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