Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Guest blogger Ghaz writes on Celebrating Malaysia's Independence (Merdeka) through music!

(The above photo came from a yearbook that Adnan Othman had saved from his school days - possibly from 1957!)  

Hi Carl,

How's life in Richmond? I think of you when Richmond or Virginia is mentioned in any current US TV series shown on our Malaysian television channels.

My country has just celebrated its National Day on 31 August, which is about 3 days ago. 

[NOTE: I'm late posting Ghaz's blog entry here so it was actually more than a week ago. Also, in case you don't already know... Malaysia first gained independence in 1957 - and the day is referred to as Hari Merdeka in Malay.]  

Coincidently, Hari Merdeka fell on a Sunday, which means we had another holiday the next day.

On 16 September, there will be another holiday called Malaysia Day, in remembrance of the formation of our country on the same date in 1963. 

Here we are, 30 million people living in a wonderful country in peace and harmony, despite our differences in race, religion, language, dialects and culture.
This is reflected in this year's National Day theme, "Malaysia, Here Is Where Love Is Born."

The excitement of witnessing the independence of Malaya from the British rule and the formation of Malaysia was also translated into songs by our creative composers back in the 1950s and the 1960s. Among them include the following:

Songs on Independence
Momo Latiff - Menanti Saat Bahagia (Waiting For The Happy Moment)

(I believe that this song is recorded in 1957, in the midst of the Merdeka spirit.)
Ahmad C.B. - Tanggal 31 (The 31st Day)

(The modern version of this song was recorded by Sudirman, the Asia's No. 1 Performer, which remains popular till the present day.)

Ahmad Jais - Bahtera Merdeka (Sailing to Independence)

(Recorded in 1969 on EMI, accompanied by Dendang Perindu Orchestra led by Kassim Masdor.)

(b) Songs on the formation of Malaysia

The Sundowners & The Tornadoes - Malaysia Wonderful

(A 1963 recording by The Sundowners, a Singaporean male singing trio, accompanied by a band called The Tornadoes. A rare song on Malaysia formation sung in English.)

Anneke Gronloh - Oh Malaysia

(Another English song glorifying Malaysia, sung by Anneke Gronloh, an Indonesian Dutch singer who recorded many Indonesian and English songs in Singapore, before returning to Holland and continued her singing career there.)

Bob Smit - Malaysia Satu Padu

(Go to the above URL, click song no. 69. This is a 1963 recording by Bob Smit, another Indonesian Dutch singer.Unfortunately, this song is not available on YouTube. Perhaps you can do something to make it available on the said website.)

Aziz Jaafar - Malaysia Baru (A New Malaysia)

(Taken from Shaw Brothers' 1963 film called Kaseh Tanpa Sayang or Love Without Affection; the late M. Bakri re-recorded this song in his 1965 EP accompanied by The Swallows' Combo)

P. Ramlee & Saloma - Zapin Malaysia

P. Ramlee & Saloma - Joget Malaysia

(Taken from Studio Merdeka's 1965 film called Ragam P. Ramlee or P. Ramlee's Variety.)

(c) Patriotic songs of Malaysia

Ahmad Daud - Nusajayahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AO6OdomZH8

(Taken from his 1965 EP accompanied by The Swallows' Combo, which also include the song Si Manis 17/Sweet 17 taken from the Shaw Brothers' film Pusaka Pontianak or The Vampire's Fortune.)

Ahmad Jais - Kucupan Azimat (The Kiss of Strength)


(From Ahmad Jais' debut EP in 1965, accompanied by John Lee Orchestra.)

Jamaluddin Alias - Malaysia Berjaya (Malaysia's Success)

Jamaluddin Alias - Perajurit Tanah Air (Our Country's Fighters)

(Jamaluddin Alias, one of the RTM retirees, has always been identified by his soprano-like voice and he is well-known for his rendition of Malaysian patriotic songs aired on radio and TV in the 1960s. The songs Malaysia Berjaya and Perajurit Tanah Air are the most favourite ones and even the kids love to sing them every time they play "soldiers' game" among themselves by marching around their neighbourhood. Although Jamaluddin's singing has always lifted up the patriotic spirit among Malaysians, he prefers to remain low-profile.)

Hopefully, you will enjoy these songs, too.
Warmest regards,
Ghaz, KL

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Interview on WAVELENGTH with Ali Johan on BFM in PJ, Malaysia - August 16, 2014

Here's a link to the INTERVIEW on WAVELENGTH with Ali Johan on BFM from Aug 16, 2014, last week!!

Many thanks to Ali Johan, and BFM for inviting me to be on Wavelength.

And thanks also to Joe Chelliah for making the special effort to contact BFM on my behalf to suggest that they interview me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Giving a talk about my research project in Singapore tomorrow evening!


Took a bus back to SIngapore the very next day.. toured Jalan Ampas studios, and met the Rythmn Boys!

 JALAN AMPAS STUDIOS - Where Tan Sri P Ramlee's films were made for SHAW STUDIOS. 
(thanks to SHAW BROTHERS for giving me an exclusive tour and entry to the grounds)

Then the very same day, I went to Geylang Serai (the seedy red light district of Singapore - once called THE LIVERPOOL of Singapore) to meet the legendary Rythmn Boys - one of the absolute TOP bands from those days - and backing band for Adnan Othman for 4 EPs.

MEETING Zaleha Hamid again, and one day in Cool, Funky Johor Bahru

My sole mission in going to JOHOR was to meet up with 60s and 70s pop star Zaleha Hamid again. However, as a huge bonus, I also met up with a young lawyer in JB name Yi who bought my Pop Yeh Yeh comp and contacted me via Instagram.  He offered to show me around JB and also took me to the location for the interview with Zaleha.

The interview was AMAZING.  I will post some more anecdotes from this talk with Malay pop and "Dangdut Queen of Malaysia" very soon.
It also turned out that a really cool artists collective called JOHO (named for the local pronunciation of JOHOR) was right next to the shop where I did the interview with Zaleha Hamid.

Me and Yi
One of the artists for GOOGLE DOODLE visited JOHO's new location recently and decorated one of the walls.  It's really impressive close up but I couldnt manage to get a very good shot.

After the interview with Zaleha, Yi gave me his "Ten Cent Tour" of all the hip cool spots in JB (will post photos and links soon!), and then, offered me a spare bed to crash on at his family home.  SO GRATEFUL TO THIS GUY!!

Parting is such sweet sorrow....

Finally, the time to leave KL arrived and I had to say goodbye to Adnan and Fatimah, who have shown me the most incredible kindness and generosity in the past week.  Here's a photo taken the morning they drove me to the bus station (where I departed for Johor Bahru, and the Singapore the next day).  Words cannot express how grateful I am to them for all the help they gave me this past week.   I hope to see them again soon.   THANK YOU ADNAN and FATIMAH.

Of course, I also had to take a photo with Adnan's super-cool daughter Ariana who plays guitar in the power pop group COUPLE and also in the moody, experimental group The Venopian Solitude.

Interviews at THE STAR and BFM

BU 8 Building in PJ  - Home of BFM -  the Business Station
 A peek inside the BFM office
 ADNAN chatting with ALI JOHAN - host of "The Muddy Confluence" on BFM (among other productions he contributes to there)
I was invited by Ali Johan to do another interview at BFM (I did one with She Fah Szetu back in 2010) a day or so before I left KL.  Adnan came along and talked with Ali Johan a little bit before our interview (he said he didnt want to be interviewed and would rather that I do the talking for now.)

Then, the next day, I met up with Zack Yusof - a writer and producer for THE STAR.  He took me to HARD GRAFT RECORDS to do a video interview for THE STAR ONLINE  Zack also happens to do a show on BFM called 33RPM

I will post links to BOTH of these interviews as soon as they are available, but for now, I thought I'd just post some photos, and say THANKS to both of them for covering my POP YEH YEH Research project.