Sapeq karaang

City Museum of Samarinda

The sapeq karaang is a musical instrument from the Dayak Bahau Busaang people of East Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is one of the oldest traditional musical instruments of the sapeq type. This one metre long instrument is played by plucking. The sapeq karaang functions as an accompaniment to rituals and folk entertainment dances.

Adrianus Liah plays the Sapeq Karaang instrument in traditional Dayak clothes.

An instrument with many uses

The sapeq karaang plays an important role in traditional dances and the music guides the action, motion, beat, and rhythm of the dancer. Over time the sapeq karaang has also developed into a popular form of entertainment and is used widely in the performing arts and with other musical instruments. Aside from being a musical instrument, the sapeq karaang is used as a communication medium in rituals and traditional ceremonies. It is believed to be a way to communicate with ancestors and of expressing gratitude and offering prayers.

The sapeq karaang is part of the collection of traditional musical instruments held by the Samarinda City Museum originating from the Dayak community. This collection was donated to the museum by Belawing Belureq (Dayung Aya'bo Belawing Belureq) from the Apo Lagaan Art Studio in 2018. The collection has high significance as it relates to the identity, diverse traditions and culture of the Dayak people.

Theo Nugraha, curator at the Samarinda City Museum, shares the significance of the Sapeq traditional musical instrument from Kalimantan.