Monday, October 10, 2016

Alena Murang's EP "Flight" Launch in Kuala Lumpur

About two weeks ago, I managed to squeeze some time out of my hectic schedule to attend Alena Murang's EP launch happening in Timbre at The Row, KL. I arrived early and secured a front seat together with my friend, Jackie, and it was a great experience seeing a local Sarawakian talent performing traditional musical scores on stage, live on a Saturday evening. Alena's speciality is a traditional guitar like string instrument called Sape', which she incorporated prominently in all her music in the latest EP, "Flight". Many local Sarawakian artists were also featured on set, notably Amir Jahari who did a beautiful duet with Alena on the song "Ingga" which was sung entirely in a local Sarawakian language (or Bahasa Sarawak).

I brought along the E-M10 Mark II and several M.Zuiko lenses and shot the performance. I used mainly Aperture Priority, switching lenses when necessary (mostly between wide angle, 12mm F2 and 45mm F1.8). The lighting was not that good, with the light hitting directly from the front creating very unflattering outcome. I would have preferred if the main light was shined more from the side. Nonetheless, we were there to enjoy live music and truly Alena has made it huge with her debut album! She is also a painter and TV host for local stations, and have appeared as a speaker on TDxKL talk this year! The EP launch was a huge success with full house strong support from the fans, and I personally decided not to get my CD autographed in the same session as that would mean I need to battle the impossibly long queue!

Sape', a traditional Sarawakian musical instrument was Alena Murang's signature sound in all her music. I am proud to see a Sarawakian making it huge and took the opportunity to spread the awareness and love for Sape'! I cannot help but feel homesick when I hear Sape's tunes, which is always so smooth, soothing yet energetic and radiant at the same time. 



Alena also has very lovely vocals, haunting yet sweet. She sang some real, old traditional old folks songs from the tribes of Kelabit. Some of the tunes she had just recently learned this year in her journey of discovering her roots, and learning more about the many colorful Sarawakian culture. 


It was a full house! Thankfully I arrived early, else I would be one of those standing all the way at the back. 

One of the things I love about Alena is her broad, bright smile, even in the midst of performance, which was amazing. 





Tapping the mat on the floor is one of the local "percussion" methods used in traditional long houses, to accompany songs or music! And she did that live while playing Sape'. 









I have a video recording of Alena Murang performing Penung- Jae. Recorded fully hand-held with the E-M10 Mark II, 


I sure hope to catch the future performance of Alena Murang!

To find out more about Alena Murang and her music, please go to the following sites:
Official Art + Music Site: http://www.alenamurang.com/

15 comments :

  1. Maybe not your best works, my friend...

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    1. Are you saying I should not enjoy myself listening to great music and relax, instead go full on crazy shooting the event?

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    2. Are you saying I should not enjoy myself listening to great music and relax, instead go full on crazy shooting the event?

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. I'm only saying you're so often inspiring me with your works that this set is a litte bit disappointing for me. But most important is "Enjoy music!". ;-)

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  2. I really enjoyed your video (and photos!) ... lovely lady, lovely playing and lovely singing. One suggestion, when you video, turn off auto WB, because shifting WB is kind of distracting. Thanks for expanding my musical and cultural horizons! Brian in Oregon.

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  4. Other's may not agree, but I think the shots are very good! The close up photos are especially nice. Very sharp with rich colors in her outfit. The EM10 II does well in poor lighting. I'm a Nikon shooter wanting to add mirrorless to my gear. I've been considering the EM10 II and a couple primes. The more I see of what this particular camera can do has me leaning more towards it. Less expensive than some of the others too. Nice work as always Robin.

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    1. The 45mm F1.8 is a nice sharp lens and not expensive, for wide angle you will have not much choice for auto-focus and sharp lens, only two : summix leica 15mm or Zuiko 12mm. I was disappointed by my Omd-5 mkII until I discovered the "super spot af" option. For Flash not so much possibilities like Canon or Nikon (radio ttl). For my return in Thailand I let my Canon 5D II at home...

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  5. Other's may not agree, but I think the shots are very good! The close up photos are especially nice. Very sharp with rich colors in her outfit. The EM10 II does well in poor lighting. I'm a Nikon shooter wanting to add mirrorless to my gear. I've been considering the EM10 II and a couple primes. The more I see of what this particular camera can do has me leaning more towards it. Less expensive than some of the others too. Nice work as always Robin.

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