Wednesday, January 17, 2024

“GELOMBANG” (THE WAVE) - A Tribute to R. Ismail - written by Ghaz



In memoriam of R. Ismail (1937 – 2020)


One of the songs that inspires me to remain strong in facing life challenges is the one titled “Gelombang” (The Wave), sung by the late R. Ismail (1937 – 2020).  It was jointly written by Kassim Masdor and S. Sudarmaji for a television film by TV Singapura of the same title, produced in 1966.

R. Ismail accompanied by John Lee Orchestra: “Gelombang” (The Wave) (1966)

R. Ismail "Gelombang" (1966) - MuzikNusantara - YouTube


Born Ismail Abdul Rahman in Singapore on October 1, 1937, he followed the footstep of his father A. Rahman, a popular Malay singer in 1940s – 1950s. His recording career began as early as in 1948 when, at the small age of 11, he recorded his first song called “Setangkai Bunga Raya” (The Hibiscus) on record. As a child singer, he also performed in shows organized by an art group called Sriwana and on Radio Singapura. Beginning early 1960s, he became a playback singer for films produced by Cathay Keris studio and later on, Shaw Brothers’ Malay Film Production studio, both located in Singapore. His voice was borrowed by a Cathay Keris actor, the late Noordin Ahmad (1932 – 1971), due to their voice resemblance.

Among the classic Malay films in which R. Ismail was the playback singer: “Laila Majnun” (1962), “Jula Juli Bintang Tujoh” (1962), “Bidasari” (1965), “Gurindam Jiwa” (1966) and “Anak Buloh Betong” (1966).


R. Ismail & Rosiah Chik – “Menanti” (Waiting) – from the film “Laila Majnun” (1962)

R. Ismail & Rosiah Chik - Menanti (Official Audio) - YouTube


R. Ismail – “Nasib Malang” (Being Unfortunate) – from the film “Jula Juli Bintang Tujoh” (Jula Juli, The Seven Stars) (1962) R Ismail ~ Nasib Malang (

R. Ismail & Rahimah Simin – “Arti Chinta” (The Meaning of Love) from the film “Bidasari” (1965)*

Kini Dah Tiba - R Ismail, Rahimah Simin (

*In 1966, this song was re-recorded as “Kini Dah Tiba” (The Time Has Come) by Ahmad Daud and Saloma, accompanied by John Lee Orchestra on EMI/Parlophone. Then, A. Ramlie and Maria Bachok re-recorded this song as “Saat Bahagia” (The Moment of Happiness) in their LP titled “Kasih Berbunga Sepanjang Musim” (The Love Blossoms Throughout the Season) on Senada in 1976.


R. Ismail & Rafeah Buang – “Gurindam Jiwa” (Sonnettes for My Soul) from the film of the same title (1966) Rafeah Buang & R. Ismail "Gurindam Jiwa" Daripada Filem Gurindam Jiwa (1966) - MuzikNusantara (

R. Ismail & Rafeah Buang – “Dari Hati Ke Hati” (From Heart to Heart) from the film “Anak Buloh Betong” (The Magic Bamboo’s Son) (1966) Rafeah Buang & R. Ismail "Dari Hati Ke Hati" (1966) - MuzikNusantara (


Due to the popularity of his songs on the said films, many recording companies invited R. Ismail to record songs in their respective studios. From a playback singer, he became a recording artist and remained active in this field between 1963 and 1973. During the pop yeh yeh craze, he also managed to cut an album of the said genre with The Pretenders.


Studio recordings made by R. Ismail from 1963 to 1973.


Rosiah Chik & R. Ismail accompanied by Megawati Orchestra – “Lagu2 Melayu Asli” (Malay Asli Songs), Mega Records (1963)


(1) “Kaseh Dan Rindu” (Love and Kindness) sung by R. Ismail & Rosiah Chik

R.Ismail & Rosiah Chik - Kasih dan Rindu (

(2) “Joget Kenangan Budi” (Joget of Memories on Kindness) sung by R.Ismail & Rosiah Chik


(3)“Gunong Panti” (Mount Panti) sung by R. Ismail

rosiah chik & r ismail _ gunong panti (


R. Ismail & John Lee Orchestra – “Chemburu” (Jealousy) – EMI/Parlophone, 1966


(1) “Ilham Penchipta” (A Creator’s Ideas),

(2) “Chemburu” (Jealousy),

(3) “Budi Dan Chita “A Deed and an Ambition”,

(4) “Di-Ambang Senja” (In the Brink of an Evening)

R. Ismail "R. Ismail (Chemburu)" 1966 FULL EP (


R. Ismail Dengan Pancharagam The Pretenders – Philips, 1967


(1)   “Tinggal Kenangan” (Only Memories)

(2)   “Harapan Tinggi Menggunong” (A Mountain-High Hope),

(3)   “Hayalan-Ku” (My Dream)**,

(4)   “Ku Pergi Ta’-Kan Lama” (I Won’t Be Away That Long)

R. Ismail & The Pretenders “R. Ismail Dengan Pancharagam The Pretenders” (1967) - FULL EP Remastered (

**The song “Hayalan-Ku” was also recorded by Rahmah Ali and The Pretenders for the 1967 Cathay Keris film “Dosa Wanita” (A Woman’s Sins).


The Times dengan R. Ismail dan Afidah Es – Olympic, 1969


(1)   “Seloka Budi” (The Gutter of Kindness) sung by R. Ismail & Afidah Es

R. Ismail & Afida Es - Seloka Budi (R. Ismail) - 1969 (

(2)   “Berpadu Chita” (Integrating Ambitions) sung by R. Ismail & Afidah Es

R. Ismail & Afida Es - Berpadu Chinta (Nani Sajang) - 1969 (



The Times dengan Bintang2 Radio dan TV: Zaleha Hamid, Jamal Awang, R. Ismail, Sulaiman Idros – Olympic, 1970


“Tiada Jaoh” (Not That far Away) performed by R. Ismail & The Times

R. Ismail dgn. The Times - Tiada Jauh (R. Ismail) - 1970 (


The Times dengan R. Ismail dan Maria B. – Oscar/Olympic, 1970


(1)   “Semarak Hati” sung by R. Ismail & Maria Bachok***

r ismail & maria b _ semarak hati (1970) (2nd upload) (

*** This song was originally sung by P. Ramlee and Rubiah for the film “Juwita” (1951).

(2)   “Sudah Takdir” (It Has Already Been Destined) sung by R. Ismail

R Ismail dgn. The Times - Sudah Takdir (R. Ismail) - Mac 1970 (


R. Ismail dan Siti Aishah – EMI/Parlophone, 1973


(1)   “Bulan Dan Juga Angin” (The Moon and the Wind)**** sung by R. Ismail & Siti Aishah,

(2)   “Wanita Dan Teruna” (A Woman and a Man)***** sung by R. Ismail & Siti Aishah,

(3)   “Tidurlah Permaisuri”(Go to Sleep, My Queen)******

(4)   “Gunong Banang” (Mount Banang) sung by R. Ismail.

**** Originally sung by P. Ramlee & Noormadiah for the film “Panggilan Pulau” (The Call from the Island) (1954)

***** Originally sung by Jasni & Lena for the film “Iman” (Faith) (1954)

****** Originally sung by P. Ramlee for the film “Putus Harapan” (The Lost Hope) (1953)

R. Ismail & Siti Aishah "R. Ismail Dan Siti Aishah" 1973 FULL EP (


After the above recording work, R. Ismail took a break from the entertainment circuit to focus on his job in the field of transportation. Nevertheless, in 1990 and 1992, he was invited by Life Records to record some traditional songs and re-record some hits from classic Malay films.


R. Ismail featured on the above albums by Life Records in the early 1990s.


R. Ismail – “Direnjis-renjis” (Being Sprinkled) (1990)********

R. Ismail - Di Renjis Renjis (Official Audio) (

******** Originally sung by P. Ramlee for the film “Taqdir Illahi” (The Act of God) (1950)


R. Ismail & Maznah Ali – “Inai Pengantin” (Henna Leaves for The Bride and The Groom) (1990)

Maznah Ali & R. Ismail - Inang Pengantin (Official Audio) (


R. Ismail – “Pengantin Bersanding” (The Bride and The Groom on the Dais) (1990)*********

R. Ismail - Pengantin Bersanding (Official Audio) (

******** Originally sung by Jasni for the film “Bujang Lapok” (The Old Bachelors) (1957). In 1977, it was re-recorded by Sanisah Huri on Senada’s LP “Namamu Nyanyian Hidupku” (Your Name is the Song of My Life).


R. Ismail – “Gunung Payung” (Mount Umbrella) (1992)**********

R. Ismail - Gunung Payung (Official Audio) (

********** Originally sung by P. Ramlee & Saloma for the film “Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup” (The Devouring Rock) (1959). In 1976, it was re-recorded by Suara Perindu on Senada.


R. Ismail – “Selamat Pengantin Baru” (Best Wishes for the Just-Married Couple) (1992)

R. Ismail - Selamat Pengantin Baru (Official Audio) (


The establishment of Klasik Nasional (then renamed Radio Klasik) by RTM in 2006 has indeed brought back the light to R. Ismail’s singing career after years of hiatus. He then appeared more frequently on TV and stage shows both in Malaysia and Singapore. To facilitate this arrangement, he had also resided in Kuala Lumpur, while at the same time, continued to visit his children and undergoing medical check-ups in Singapore.


R. Ismail performing “Gelombang” live onstage at the grand finale of Bintang Klasik Nasional 2008 singing competition organized by RTM. R.ISMAIL - GELOMBANG (


However, his health had begun to deteriorate, hence forcing him to return to the republic for good. Eventually, on September 13, 2020, R. Ismail passed away at the age of 83 in Sengkang Hospital, Singapore due to heart, lung and kidney failures. 


Three of his children – Elfee, Iskandar and Aslina – had followed his footstep in the rendition of Malay traditional songs. In 2023, they performed together in memoriam of their late father at Singapore’s National Library Board.


R. Ismail and his son Elfee singing together a traditional Malay song called “Pak Ngah Balik” (The Middle Uncle Returns). R.Ismail dan Anak Elfee Ismail lagu Pak Ngah Balik - YouTube 


Ku hadapi dengan tenang (I face the challenges calmly) ….

Ku tempuh juga gelombang (I still fight the strong wave) ….

Biar hanya tinggal tulang (Even though only my skeleton remains intact) ….

Aku tak akan tumbang (I will never fall down to surrender)!


Alfatihah to R. Ismail (1937 – 2020), may he rest in peace … Ameen!


Ghaz, KL




I wish to put on credit the providers of inputs whom I referred to in writing this article, particularly:


Radio & Television of Malaysia (RTM); Radio & Television of Singapore (RTS); National Library Board, Singapore;

Shaw Brothers’ Malay Film Production, Singapore; Cathay Keris Film Production, Singapore; EMI Records, Singapore; Life Records, Singapore and Malaysia; Olympic Records, Singapore (now defunct, copyright subject to current owners); Berita Harian (Malaysia); Berita Mediacorp; Hamlau Lahabau of Muzik Nusantara; Cikgu Hj. Hassny of Nostalgia Hassny; Pop OK Clasical; Yudhie (ud) from Sarawak; Discog; and other contributors of R. Ismail’s songs (names as mentioned on respective YouTube Channels).

Thursday, June 29, 2023

A Tribute to singer S.Roha - written by Ghaz




S. Roha in her younger days as a singer.

Sometime in the middle of last year, my wife and I had a chit-chatting with my uncle’s wife, whose two brothers used to be newsreaders for the Malay channel of the Singaporean television. We asked her if she knows the whereabouts of S. Roha, an iconic pop yeh yeh singer of the late 1960s until the early 1970s. She told us that the singer now lives in Johor Bahru but sadly, she is in poor health condition. Being absent from the entertainment for a long period of time, we can only hope for her speedy recovery.

During my teenage years in the early 1990s, I remember watching S. Roha in a short interview on the same TV channel on an Eid program. Since then, I kept on wondering how popular she was in her heydays. Eventually, my curiosity was answered decades later.

S. Roha was born in Singapore circa 1950 as Siti Roha Chik Tajuddin. In her early involvement in pop yeh yeh music, she used her first stage name Roha Chik and managed to cut an EP on Globe Record with a local band named The Keens. However, such move did not have so much impact on her singing career.

Roha Chik & The Keens: Chinta Pertama (The First Love)  roha chik & the keens _ chinta pertama (1967) - YouTube

Roha Chik & The Keens: Mari Gembira (Let’s Be Happy) roha chik & the keens _ mari gembira (1967) - YouTube

Roha Chik & The Keens: Janji Tak Sampai (A Promise Undelivered) roha chik & the keens _ janji tak sampai (1967) - YouTube

Roha Chik & The Keens: Surat Dari-nya (A Letter from Him) Surat Darinya S Roha - YouTube

In 1967, Roha changed her stage name from Roha Chik to just S. Roha. By this time, she was assigned under Olympic Records, in which she cut a split EP with the accompaniment of The Sangam Boys, initially led by A. Aziz Abdullah. The two songs from the said EP, Selamat Jalan (Goodbye) and Gelisah Semenjak Berpisah (Anxious After a Split) became instant hits on both sides of the Causeway.

S. Roha & The Sangam Boys: Selamat Jalan (Goodbye) SELAMAT JALAN - S.ROHA - YouTube

S. Roha & The Sangam Boys: Gelisah Semenjak Berpisah (Anxious After a Split) s roha _ gelisah semenjak berpisah (1967) - YouTube

Beginning 1968, in line with The Sangam Boys’ change of musical genre from pop yeh yeh to Hindustani beat, Roha started singing cover versions of current Hindi film songs in Malay lyrics. The same style was applied in her later recording works with the band until her expiry of contract with Olympic Records in 1969. Meanwhile, she also began to sing in duet with many male singers, such as Syed Hashim Abdullah (the second leader of The Sangam Boys), Salim I., Rahim Jantan, A. Talib, A. Halim, Jeffridin and also her former husband, A. Romzi. 

S. Roha’s further recordings with The Sangam Boys between 1968 and 1969.

S. Roha & The Sangam Boys – Hidop Untok Chinta (Living for Love) HIDUP UNTUK CINTA - S.ROHA & THE SANGAM BOYS - YouTube

S. Roha & The Sangam Boys – Aku Di-Fitnah (I Was Slandered) s roha _ aku difitnah (1969) - YouTube

S. Roha & The Sangam Boys – Aku, Dunia Dan Manusia (Me, the World and the Human Being) s roha _ aku dunia dan manusia - YouTube

Songs from S. Roha’s EP titled Janji (A Promise) in 1969, recorded with The Sangam Boys featuring Janji (A Promise), Happy Birthday To You, Roh-ku Kembali (My Soul Returns) and Si-Lunchai (The Boy Named Lunchai).

S. ROHA - Video Files Album EP "JANJI" (1969) - S. ROHA - YouTube

S. Roha also appeared on the TV Singapura entertainment Dendang Ria in 1969, where she performed a song called Pelita (The Lantern), accompanied by the Radio & Television Singapore (RTS) Orchestra led by Ahmad Jaafar. This is my personal favorite of her singing style, where her rendition had improved a lot since then.

S Roha Pelita (1969)(EP)(Piring Hitam) - YouTube

Meanwhile, from 1969 to 1971, she also began to sing in duet with many male singers, such as Syed Hashim Abdullah (the second leader of The Sangam Boys), Salim I., Rahim Jantan, A. Talib, A. Halim, Jeffridin and her former husband, A. Romzi.

S. Roha & S. Hashim Abdullah with The Sangam Boys – Tunggu Saja Oh Sayang (Just Wait for Me, My Dear) s roha & s h abdullah _ tunggu saja oh sayang - YouTube

S. Roha & Salim I. with The Wisma – Oh Salamah SALIM I & S.ROHA - OH SALAMAH (HQ) - YouTube

S. Roha & Rahim Jantan with Band Titiwangsa - Jangan Lupakan Daku (Don’t Forget Me) Rahim Jantan & S Roha - Jangan Lupakan Daku - YouTube

S. Roha & Jeffridin with The Wanderers – Ke Binaria (Going to the Funfair) s roha & jefrydeen _ ke binaria (1971) - YouTube

S. Roha, Faridah Mansor & A Talib with The Wanderers – Ayam Banyak Bini (The Rooster with many Wives) A Talib - Ayam banyak bini - YouTube

S. Roha & A. Romzi – Usek Mengusek Membawa Bahagia Usik Mengusik Membawa Bahagia..A Romzi & S Roha - YouTube

At the end of pop yeh yeh craze, it was reported in that S. Roha began singing in a nightclub. Nevertheless, she also appeared on TV and radio shows, once in a while, besides acting as a small role in the film Mat Tenggek (1979) under the direction of Mat Sentol.

S. Roha in the film Mat Tenggek (1979) directed by comedian Mat Sentol. 



In the early 1980s, S. Roha recorded two following Eid songs, namely:             

S. Roha – Selamat Hari Lebaran (Happy Eid) Selamat Hari Lebaran - YouTube

S. Roha – Hari Raya Hari Bahagia (Eid is a Happy Day) HARI RAYA HARI BAHAGIA - S.ROHA (60AN) - YouTube

However, with the appearance of more new and young stars, her popularity began to fade. After a long hiatus, S. Roha returned to the entertainment circuit by performing at a giant pop yeh yeh concert in Singapore in 2005.

S. Roha – Janji (A Promise) S ROHA - Janji , Konsert Gergasi 60an 2005 - YouTube

S. Roha – Hidup Untuk Cinta (Living for Love) S ROHA - Hidup untuk cinta , Konsert Gergasi 60an 2005 - YouTube

Due to her comeback, she was invited to perform at a theatre titled “Suzana@60” at the Istana Budaya (The Palace of Culture) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2006, in which she performed her signature hit Janji.

S. Roha on the CD cover for Suzana @ 60 -- top row, second from right (between A Rahman Hassan and A Halim)

Thanks to such exposure, S. Roha was invited by Life Records (Singapore) to re-record Malay oldies with comedian Wahid Satay (1930 – 2023) in a karaoke album.

S. Roha & Wahid Satay – Sikit Kasi Banyak Mintak (Giving A Litte, Asking A Lot) Wahid Satay & S. Roha - Sikit Kasi Banyak Minta (Official Karaoke Video) - YouTube

S. Roha & Wahid Satay – Sengketa Dan Damai (In A Quarrel and in Peace) wahid satay & sroha - sengketa dan damai - YouTube

S. Roha & Wahid Satay – Cik Mamat Parang Tajam (Mr. Mamat and His Sharp Machete) Wahid Satay & S. Roha - Cik Mamat Parang Tajam (Official Karaoke Video) - YouTube

It is hoped that this humble writing of mine would spark the remembrance of the pop yeh yeh enthusiasts to S. Roha, another queen of pop yeh yeh and Hindustani-Malay songs, whose singing had shaped the 1960s with lots of fun and joy, despite the simple and humble lifestyle of the people back then.

Ghaz, KL

Friday, June 2, 2023

"Pop Yeh Yeh Lives On!" - a blog post by friend and guest writer, Mohamad Afendi Othman

Pop Yeh Yeh Music Lives On: A Look at the Genre’s Enduring Legacy


Step back in time to a sunny Saturday morning in 1970, where the air is filled with anticipation. School is out, but my responsibilities as a caretaker of our family cattle beckon me to rise early. However, before tending to those duties, I reach out and switch on the crackling transistor radio, eager to immerse myself in the world of lively tunes with fast tempos and soothing melodies.


Little did I know then that the songs I tuned into would become the foundation of a genre known as 'Pop Yeh Yeh.' This unique fusion of pop, beat, and rock music, infused with a touch of local Malaysian and Singaporean flavors, captivated audiences everywhere. It was a harmonious blend of Western influences brought by the British Invasion, with bands like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Zombies, The Who, and The Kinks, interwoven with melancholic melodies and wailing voices reminiscent of Arabic inspiration. Pop Yeh Yeh became a reflection of the cultural and social changes that swept through the region during that time.


While the late 1960s witnessed the influence of Bollywood and disco beats, the radio stations remained faithful to Pop Yeh Yeh, playing these songs regularly well into the 1970s and early 1980s. Even in the mid-1980s, a group of determined PYY singers, led by A. Rahman Hassan, joined forces and staged electrifying live performances to revive the genre.


Some managed to reunite the original bands, known as 'Kugiran' (derived from the Malay acronym 'KUmpulan-GItar-RANcak,' meaning fast-beat-guitar-group), while others formed new bands, as many original band members had retired from the music scene. But the music persisted, fueled by the unwavering support of its dedicated followers. Pop Yeh Yeh's legacy remained steadfast, continuing to inspire and influence contemporary music in Malaysia and Singapore.


Among the prominent Pop Yeh Yeh groups, Kassim Selamat & The Swallows stood out as a fan favorite. Renowned for their vibrant live performances and flamboyant stage costumes, they initially recorded songs in Malay. However, it was when they sang in their native Bawean dialect that their music resonated most deeply with audiences, amassing a devoted following within and beyond the region.


Another influential group, The Rhythm Boys, captivated listeners with their infectious melodies, upbeat rhythms, and effortlessly smooth performances. They became the go-to choice for artists seeking an exceptional backing group, their talents enhancing the works of fellow musician



The Swallows and The Rhythm Boys were not the only icons of Pop Yeh Yeh. A. Ramlie, with his soulful voice and romantic ballads, left an indelible mark on the genre. 



Similarly, Salim I commanded attention with his powerful, high-energy vocals, captivating audiences far and wide.


The influence of Pop Yeh Yeh extended to female artists as well. Roziah Latiff, known for her soft vocals and impeccable fashion sense, became a notable figure in the industry. 



Another remarkable female artist, June Abdullah, backed by The Cliffters, not only possessed a keen sense of style but also infused R&B elements into her songs, creating a unique blend.


Despite Pop Yeh Yeh experiencing a decline in popularity during the late 1960s, its legacy continued to shape the music industry in Malaysia and Singapore. Today, the genre's most beloved songs and artists are still cherished and celebrated. Contemporary musicians reinterpret and cover these classics, ensuring their enduring presence.


The impact of Pop Yeh Yeh extends beyond the realm of music. It became a cultural movement, mirroring the aspirations and identity of a new generation of Malaysians and Singaporeans. It was a time when the youth came together, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers, to revel in their shared experiences. Pop Yeh Yeh became a symbol of hope and unity, leaving an indelible imprint on the cultural fabric of Malaysia and Singapore, a testament to its enduring influence.


Recognizing the significance of Pop Yeh Yeh, cultural events and exhibitions pay homage to its legacy. The National Museum of Singapore curated an exhibition titled "The Way We Were: Singapore's Music Scene in the 60s and 70s," transporting visitors to the era when Pop Yeh Yeh held sway over the music scene. Vintage instruments, records, and posters adorned the exhibition, offering a captivating glimpse into the vibrant Pop Yeh Yeh era.


Moreover, the celebration of Pop Yeh Yeh's legacy extends beyond museum walls. Kuala Lumpur plays host to the annual Pop Yeh Yeh Festival, a joyous gathering where renowned Pop Yeh Yeh musicians take the stage alongside emerging talents who carry the torch forward. This festival becomes a jubilant celebration of the music's cultural significance, drawing music enthusiasts from all corners of Malaysia and beyond.


The enduring allure of Pop Yeh Yeh lies not only in nostalgia but also in the tireless efforts of musicians and enthusiasts dedicated to keeping the flame alive. In Malaysia, numerous bands and artists continue to breathe life into Pop Yeh Yeh, ensuring its melodies resonate with new audiences who may not have been acquainted with the genre before.


Pop Yeh Yeh's legacy stands as a testament to its cultural and musical significance. It served as a movement that mirrored the hopes and aspirations of a generation, forging a sense of unity amidst diversity. The fusion of Western pop and rock with traditional Malay folk music birthed a distinctive sound that reverberated through the contemporary music scene. As the music industry and cultural landscape of Malaysia and Singapore evolve, Pop Yeh Yeh remains a steadfast testament to its enduring impact.


Though Pop Yeh Yeh's golden era may have blossomed in the 1960s and early 1970s, its spirit perseveres, sustained by the unwavering dedication of musicians, enthusiasts, and the cultural events that honor its legacy. Its nostalgic value, cultural significance, and profound influence on contemporary music ensure that Pop Yeh Yeh will continue to reverberate through the hearts of those who appreciate its rich heritage. As long as there are individuals who cherish the music and its enduring legacy, Pop Yeh Yeh will remain alive, a timeless echo of an era that shaped the musical landscape of a nation.

Written by Afendi - May 2023  

Monday, April 24, 2023

POP YEH YEH singer June Abdullah - some videos of recent performances

A few videos and photos June Abdullah sent me after I interviewed her for the Pop Yeh Yeh documentary!  



 Alternate video 

June Abdullah & The Zurah - PENGEMBARA - 1985







An overview of singer/actress Norma Zainal - by Ghaz


In my recent WhatsApp, I briefed you on a singer-actress of the 1960s named Norma (sometimes spelt Normah) Zainal. She began her singing career in 1964 together with her elder sister Hamidah Zainal and Noorsiah Yem, forming a trio called "Tiga Serangkai" (Three Strings), where they managed to record an EP by Philips Singapore. 
Norma Zainal (centre) as one of the members of Tiga Serangkai, featured in this 1964 EP:  

Tiga Serangkai featuring Rahmah Hassan in their song "Lenggang Singapura", accompanied by Orkes Rangkaian Lima Sekawan led by composer Ali Ahmad.

In 1966, she began acting in a Cathay Keris film titled "Jiran Sekampong" (Neighbors of the Same Village) as a heroine. However, Norma is more popular playing negative roles in her later acting, such as in the films "Kacha Permata" (Glass Diamond) [Shaw Brothers' MFP, 1966], "A-Go-Go '67" [Shaw Brothers' MFP, 1967] and "Kekaseh" (Lovers) [Cathay Keris, 1968]. 
Watch "Kacha Permata" here:   


Zaiton (the actress, not Siti Zaiton)  and Norma Zainal, two stars from the film "Kacha Permata" (1966) met each other again at a reunion organized by a Singaporean reporter in 2019.

Norma Zainal showing to Singapore Berita Harian reporters a videoclip of her performing "Panggilan Rohani" with The Blue Beats in the film "A-Go-Go '67".      (photo credit: Siti Aisyah Nordin)  - Article HERE

In the same films that she acted, Norma also sang "Playboy" in "Kacha Permata" with the accompaniment of Les Kafila's, followed by "Panggilan Rohani" (The Call of My Soul) in "A-Go-Go '67" with The Blue Beats. Another recording work by her is a song titled "Terima Surat" (Receiving A Letter) from a 1969 EP called "Dendang Ria", accompanied by the RTS Orchestra. (RTS =Radio & Television of Singapore). "Dendang Ria" was a weekly TV Singapura entertainment program, which began its show in 1963. I read from the "Dendang Ria" record sleeve that by this time, Norma Zainal had become a nightclub singer.  I also saw in e-Bay a decade years ago another EP done by her, but perhaps it was an early 1970s release by an independent, small recording company. Unfortunately, I didn't capture the details.

PANGGILAN ROHANI | Normah Zainal & The Bluebeats | OST A Go-Go 1967

Norma Zainal & Les Kafilas - Playboy


Warmest regards,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia