Matthew Ngau Jau is Sarawak Arts and Culture Figure 2016

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Sape master Matthew Ngau Jau

Renowned Sape player or master Matthew Ngau Jau was awarded the Sarawak Arts & Culture Figure 2016 in recognition of his contributions raising local arts and music to international recognition.

The award was presented by Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here recently. Abdul Karim was representing Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, who is also Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

“The contribution and dedication provided by the state cultural art activists should be seen as a major contribution towards the development and growth in the arts nationwide,” said National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN) Sarawak director Zaifri Husin in his appreciation speech.

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Matthew (second left) receiving his award of Sarawak Arts & Culture Figure 2016 from Abdul Karim (second right). Also seen are Abdullah Saidol (left) and Zaifri (right).

He pointed out that Matthew was selected as the recipient of the award based on several criteria including his outstanding contribution to the local music industry.

Among the contribution made by the inspiring artist originally from Sungai Baram was to introduce Sape music to the world through his tireless performances around the world which included Germany, France, Australia, Italy, South Africa and the United States.

Apart from playing sape’ music, Matthew also crafts the musical instrument himself as well as creates traditional paintings, dances and many more.

Matthew also provides guidance to people  interested in learning the arts, including dwellers of Tuyang Longhouse, a homestay he operates now in Bau.

Matthew is also the recipient of the National Heritage award presented by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia in 2015.

His extensive experience in sape music has made him a consultant in the field of sape music for undergraduates in their studies of the traditional musical instrument.

Also present was Semop assemblyman Abdullah Saidol.

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Matthew and family members were all smiles after receiving his award.

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