By Vanishaa Vasudhevan

Celebrate Gawai with Alena Murang and Velvet Aduk’s New Song, “Bejugit Betanda Menari” 

It is not just a rhythmic cadence, it is the echoes of our forebears. 
 velvet aduk alena murang

As the vibrant celebrations of Gawai draw near, the melodious landscape of Borneo comes alive with a rhythmic celebration of culture and unity. Sabahan singer-songwriter Velvet Aduk and Sarawak’s sape’ songstress, Alena Murang, have harmonised their talents to deliver a spirited anthem titled “Bejugit Betanda Menari” (meaning Dance Dance Dance), this May. 

This dynamic alliance marks a fusion of cultures as the duo effortlessly blends Bahasa Iban and Bahasa Malaysia lyrics, adorned with subtle nods to Velvet’s heritage with Bahasa Dusun. “Bejugit Betanda Menari” encapsulates the essence of Gawai, portraying the joyous gatherings, laughter, and lively grooving that define the festivities.

“We’ve been planning to write a song together, and this year’s Gawai seemed like the perfect occasion. The song is about coming together to celebrate and embracing the joy of laughter, conversation, and dance,” shared Alena, reflecting on the collaborative process.

“We had a lot of fun crafting this song, and we hope listeners will feel the same cheer and energy that inspired its creation. Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai to all celebrating!” Velvet echoed Alena’s sentiments, expressing their shared excitement for the launch. 

For Velvet Aduk, whose rhythmic odyssey spans 18 years, this teamwork represents a dynamic evolution of her artistic journey. Rising to prominence as a finalist on Akademi Fantasia 4 in 2006, Velvet’s distinctive fusion of contemporary rhythms with traditional Bornean sounds has captivated audiences worldwide. From her viral hit “Sumandak Sabah” to her recent English album Darkest Knight, Velvet continues to push boundaries, uniting the gap between modernity and ethos with every note she sings.

Alena Murang, on the other hand, stands as a beacon of cultural preservation and innovation. Hailing from the indigenous Kelabit community, one of Borneo’s smallest tribes, her melodic prowess extends beyond mere performance; it is a testament to her commitment to preserving and revitalising the rich ancestry of her people. As a musician who professionally mastered the sape‘, the classic lute instrument of the highland tribes, her music serves as a bridge between past and present, customs and novelty.

Together, Velvet and Alena embark on a musical journey that transcends borders and generations, offering listeners a new perspective on heritage songs.

Join them on May 28 as “Bejugit Betanda Menari” makes its debut on all major streaming platforms accompanied by a music video on YouTube, offering viewers a visual feast of Gawai celebrations in Borneo. Additionally, a karaoke version of the song will be released shortly after, inviting fans to fuse in the merrymaking from the comfort of their homes.