Sarawak Highland Folks Music Festival 2012

Attending Sarawak Highland Folks Music Festival 2012 (SHFMF 2012) was a great experience. It enriches me with the knowledge about ethnic groups in Sarawak in terms of culture; emphasizing in the music instruments, not to mention the dance and costume. Really, I have never seen one up-close before. I am truly blessed to be given this chance.

Staged in Long Bedian village situated deep in the tropical rainforest, overlooking Tenyok Mountain, the Sarawak Highland Folks Music Festival 2012 presents some of the finest folk musics from Sarawak.  Sarawak Highland Folks Music Festival is the brainchild of YB Senator Lihan Jok (Ahli Dewan Negara, Malaysia) in 2003 when he was the previous ADUN N.67 Telang Usan. In a separate interview at his home, he told that in terms of geography, the Sarawak’s ethnic groups live in the highlands and the way they live there contributed on how they express sadness and enjoyment through their music. This is the way of life that he intended to help revive. While this effort helps the younger generations to appreciate and learn more about folks music, the elders can also take the chance to brush up on their long-forgotten musical skills.

The objective of the festival is to be a platform to conserve folks music and further promote it on international level.

The two-day Sarawak Highland Folks Music Festival was launched on November 9, 2012 in Long Bedian, Miri, Sarawak by YB Dennis Ngau, ADUN N.67 Telang Usan. Speaking during the launch, YB Dennis told that the folks music festival is one very important event as it creates an environment that encourages and nourishes the creative spirit of folk musicians and music lovers whilst attempting to revive traditional forms of musical expression, including dance.

YB Dennis Ngau, ADUN N.67 Telang Usan.

Also there to witness the launch was YB Senator Lihan Jok (Ahli Dewan Negara), YBhg Encik Antonio Khati Galis (Residen Bahagian Miri), Mr Humphrey Robert Linggie (representative from Tourism Ministry, Sarawak), Encik Faizal ( representative from Prime Minister’s Department) and Paramount Chiefs from respective ethnic communities.

The festival showcases performances from 8 ethnic groups namely Sape symbolic opening performance by Kumpulan Akademi Sape SMK Long Lama, Long Dance (Datun Julut) by Kenyah community, Iban Gendang (Betabuh), Dak Selingut – Nose flute by Juk Wan, Gendang performance by Persatuan Bisaya Sarawak from Limbang, Tarian Bungan Ejing by Persatuan Berawan Sarawak, Belanggi-Sijinnye-Genang Manah-Ngugor by Dayak Bidayuh National Association Miri , Pagan Tawak & Nyiuan Kayau by Kayan community, Kelabit Dance by Kelabit communit and last but not least Sape music and Tangbut Buluh by the Kayan community. In-between ethnic performances, dances by Sanggar Budaya Miri enliven the festival.

Here is a video of performances during the first day. Am still editing the 2nd one, will upload once done.

During his closing speech on the second day, YB Senator Lihan Jok told that the festival will be organised every two years and with the road system in progress, it is hoped that in years to come, there will be more participations from more ethnic groups.

YB Senator Lihan Jok (Ahli Dewan Negara, Malaysia).

Here are more photos from the event:

Symbolic opening performance by Kumpulan Akademi Sape SMK Long Lama.

Long Dance (Datun Julut) by Kenyah community.

Dak Selingut – Nose flute by Juk Wan

Gendang performance by Persatuan Bisaya Sarawak from Limbang

Orang Ulu.


One for the album!


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  1. Hi Emila! You are indeed lucky to be selected to witness such cultural performance.

    Looking at the photos, it reminds me of Pesta Kaamatan or Harvest Festival back home in Sabah. There are some similarities in the music instruments and the traditional costumes. (The pic showing the Gendang performance by Persatuan Bisaya Sarawak; their attire is somewhat similar to the Kadazan-dusuns men’s attire – except the headgear’s color).

    I have yet to personally experience Sarawak’s music/festival… mostly via TV and internet only 🙁

  2. Kak, syoknya dapat pergi festival ni. Saya tak pernah pergi pun festival seumpama ini, selalu tengok di TV. Kadang-kadang di youtube je.

  3. teringin nak tengok dan dengar org main nose flute. Selalu hantar poskad je gambar org asli main nose flute yg ternyata sangat mendapat sambutan tapi tak tau apa nak cerita pasal gambar ..

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