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Hevance is not your typical rock band; they come from the roots of Borneo and are ‘Iban’, one of the main ethnic groups of ‘Dayak’, based in Bintulu, Sarawak. To share their rich heritage with the world, most of their songs are in their native language with an exceptional few in English. Formed in 2001, the band consistently climbed the ladder towards success and persistently strived for excellence until their second single “Aku Nemu” meaning ‘I know you’ in English, became a hit in 2010, increasing their popularity immensely.
Hevance has released a number of Iban songs over the years, including: “Anang Alah,” (in English, ‘undeafeated’) “Bajik,” (‘Beautiful’) “Belama,” (‘forever’), and “Pulai,” (‘Going back home’). Their most recent concert was last year October at the Asia Music Festival. They gave a brilliant performance and took the audience off guard by their superb style and music. Toonari Post had the chance to meet the band after their set for an exclusive interview, where Aldrich (Vocal/Guitar) the band leader, spoke about Hevances’ journey over the years.
What is the inspiration behind your music? “Honestly speaking, the inspiration comes from within us, we are all the way from South East Asia, and each of us, have our own set of beliefs and because of that, our music is natural, it just happens. It represents our struggles, our ups and downs, and life in Sarawak.” Aldrich explained as his band members backed him up.
Hevance has a diverse fan base scattered all over the world, Aldrich said, “We have a lot of fans from Indonesia, the States, England, Japan, and Malaysia; we are also influenced by Christian bands such as Hillsong & Giving My Best (GMB), Praise/Worship music, and Pop/Rock Bands.” Aside from Aldrich, Hevance is made up of Joners on Lead Guitar, Lucas on Bass Guitar, Nathaniel on Keyboard, and Gideon on Drums.
At the festival, they sang an English song titled “Dream.” Aldrich told us, the message behind the song, “I wrote the song back in 2008, I was recording in my room, when all of a sudden the lyrics came out to be about time, past memories, more importantly moments, and how a dream can be a mere imagination of something one wants to be so real.”
The band had a tight schedule as they were making last minute arrangements for a photo shoot; regardless, they gave us a sneak peek of their latest song “Iya” meaning ‘Her’ in English to be released sometime this year. Truly, Hevance was one of the most humble bands at the festival; they ended the interview thanking their fans for their continued support.
Asia Music Festival 2013 was their first international gig, they shared this experience with bands from India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, and Brunei. For regular updates, follow Hevance on Facebook.
Image credit: Yasmin Pascual Khalil