Sarawakian singer-songwriter Alena Murang has recently been awarded the Best Asia & Pacific Music Video and Honourable Mention for Best Costume awards at the International Music Video Awards in the UK.

The sape player, who is of Dayak Kelabit descent, recently released a statement regarding the award, which she received for her MV, “Warrior Spirit”, saying, “I feel so incredibly proud of the whole team that put in their time and energy towards this music video.”

“It’s been a really rough period for people in film and music so it’s heart-warming to not just be able to achieve in creating this music video, but also have the added bonus of these international awards. We can do great things when we work together,” she added.

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Alena is of Dayak Kelabit descent

Alena, who revealed that her great great-great-grandfather Balang Nganud was a great warrior that was dubbed ‘the Tiger that floats enemies’ heads downriver’, also expressed, “Though we no longer practise that anymore, we inherited their spirit, their courage, their strength, and moreover, the courage to fight together for something greater than ourselves. I think many Malaysians, and people across the world also, can relate to the spirit of the warrior.”

Inspired by Alena’s cultural heritage and the people of Borneo, the music video was directed by Sarah Lois Dorai, who also expressed her desire to see more native voices receiving support in the future now that their music video has proven that there is an interest in the stories from indigenous communities.

Aside from the aforementioned title, the music video has also received an Honourable Mention for Best Costume at the same awards. It was also chosen as an Official Selection at the New York International Film Awards and a semi-finalist for Best Film at the 2021 Los Angeles Film Awards.

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