Jennifer Santa Liman a Sarawak born Iban lady lawyer is famous for her accoustic sape playing. And for the record (Guiness or otherwise) she is the only female Sape player from Sarawak of good repute. Sape players from Sarawak for centuries have been men only. For that she deserves a pat on her back.
If she is in China she would be considered a national treasure and would be receiving a national pension every month.
Recently at the 2010 Legal Year Opening Gala Dinner in Sibu she staged a remarkable performance probably never seen before by most of the learned audience. Her talented and nimble fingers flew across the sape and produced some ethereal music bringing the sape to a wider world audience.
She is self taught and plays by ear. But not having formal music education does not mean that she cannot play classical numbers. Her "Amazing Grace" number was most impressive.
This sape was hand made specifically for her from a single tree from the Baram.
The sape is a traditional lute of many of the Orang Ulu or "upriver people"of Sarawak and Central Borneo. Sapes are carved from a single bole of wood, with many modern instruments reaching over a metre in length. Here in the photo you can see that her sape is more than a metre long.
Initially the sape was a fairly limited instrument with two strings and only three frets. Its use was restricted to a form of ritualistic music to induce trance. In the last century, the sape gradually became a social instrument to accompany dances or as a form of entertainment.
Jennifer's sape is a four string instrument and is therefore very versatile.
You can also find her on Youtube.
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