Friday, April 24, 2015

New faces to perform at Sabah Fest

KOTA KINABALU: Talents and skills of indigenous communities will be paramount in portraying the state’s rare and uniquely diverse heritage during the 2015 Sabah Fest, said Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

He said the ministry would pursue an authentic production by transforming the festival into another avenue that will truly unearth, nurture and showcase local talents beyond the realms of the Sabah Cultural Board (LKS).

“We are not engaging the Sabah Cultural Board performers this year because we want to train and extend the opportunity to new faces. The ministry also wants to expand the search of dance talents in Sabah outside of the confinements of the ministry’s Sabah Cultural Board,” explained the minister during the festival’s press conference here yesterday.

However, Masidi said the ministry would not completely exclude LKS from the production.

“We will use the board’s in-house choreographers for the show. I am a person who likes to give opportunities to our own people. The show will be choreographed by locals,” he clarified.

He said the ministry would also increase the existing language accessibility of this year’s Sabah Fest to cater for locals as well as foreign visitors of the event and amplify foreign influences in the state in the showcase through elements such as music.

The three-day festival, to be held at the National Department for Culture and Arts in Sabah (JKKNS) from May 1 to 3, will revolve around the cultures and legends of indigenous communities found in localities around the state’s “Agop”, which means cave in Ida’an language, stated the minister.

“Agop” is familiar to Sabah’s rarely known East Coast communities, namely the Ida’an, Orang Sungai, Dusun Begak and Dusun Subpan, who identify with the mysterious ancient cave culture, tradition and practices.

Our caves have played an important role in East Coast Sabah’s civilization growth and the establishment of a trade centre there, said Masidi.

“We will exhibit the cave findings that have triggered the commercialization of the bird’s nest product that has lured the people of China to come here since then and till today,” he stated while adding that communities would also have likely established trade with sultanates in Kalimantan and surrounding Kingdoms.

Sabah Fest will stage the “Agop” musical show daily throughout the festival and hold a special premier show on May 2 this year, which will be attended by the Head of State and Chief Minister, said Masidi.