Tuesday, July 24, 2012


All biographical info in this post was quoted directly from From Blitz2000 

(more great information about the great Tan Sri P Ramlee can be found here : http://www.p-ramlee.com/)


Salmah binti Ismail or better known as Saloma (22 January 1935 - 25 April 1983) was a Malaysian film actress and singer. She was the third wife of the film actor, director, singer and songwriter Tan Sri P.Ramlee. 

Salmah was born on 22 January 1935 at Pasir Panjang Singapore.  Coming from a family with artistic leanings (both her sisters Mimi Loma and Mariani were famous actresses on their own right), she displayed [acting] talents of her own as a singer at weddings and family events at 13.

As she became more well-known in Singapore she joined the Panca Sitara Group, a band of musicians under the leadership of P. Ramlee. Around this time she also sang with the Kalung Senandung Group at Radio Singapura and entertained acting offers in musical films of the era, usually playing P.Ramlee's love interest and/or the village ingenué.

Legend has it that her stage name was coined by Run Run Shaw of Shaw Bros when the film  Saloma which starred Rita Hayworth hit the box office. Other opinions favored the story that the name was given to her by her future husband P. Ramlee. They were married in 1961 and were widely regarded as the first true power couple  of the Malaysian film industry.  

Apart from her artistry, Saloma was also famous as a screen beauty: her hourglass figure, magnificent hairdos and iconic kebaya dresses were copied by young ladies of the 60's.

Saloma's voice is best described by the Malay adage lemak merdu (literally meaning fat-melodious), a term connotating a sensuous honey-thick flow of sound with a lot of overtones. Although capable of perfectly executed high notes, usually her songs employed her middle voice, which was a creamy mezzo-soprano  capable of transcending such genres as jazz, cha-cha, pop, and traditional Malay folk. 

The beauty of her voice was such that P. Ramlee once remarked he could not envision his songs sung by singers any other than Saloma. Their creative partnership in film and music was still unmatched in Malaysia today. Her contributions to Malaysian art was such that she was credited as Biduanita in the credits of her films, the term being equivalent to Italian prima donna assoluta. This was cemented by her awards Ahli Mangku Negara (1975) and Biduanita Negara (1979) respectively. Saloma was considered predecessor to such singers as Sharifah Aini and Rafeah Buang in terms of vocal type, repertoire and in setting a very high standard for Malaysian female vocalists.

Saloma survived P. Ramlee by a decade and continued singing in television programs and film soundtrack until the 80's.

Saloma died on 25 April 1983 at Assunta Hospital, Petaling Jaya Selangor Malaysia  from liver failure associated with jaundice. She was buried at Jalan Ampang Muslim Cementery Kuala Lumpur next to the grave of her husband, P.Ramlee .

 In 2003, in honour of her contributions to the Malaysian entertainment industry, the Saloma Bistro  was set up in Jalan Ampang Kuala Lumpur.

Saloma's solo works frequently features in the soundtracks of her film. Her voice was also sometimes used in dubbing, for example the female part ofTaman Firdausi from Nasib Do Re Mi.
  • Mengapa Dirindu
  • Kain Songket
  • Bunga Tanjung
  • Hilang Terang Timbul Gelap
  • Perwira
  • Tiru Macam Saya
  • Inang Baru
  • Bila Larut Malam
  • Keroncong Singapura
  • Tiga Abdul
  • Aci Aci Buka Pintu
  • Lagu Anak Rantau
  • Bila Hati Telah Retak
  • Tari Silat Melayu
  • Bossanova
  • Selamat Hari Raya
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Kelohan
She also frequently partners P. Ramlee in memorable duets such as:
  • Gelora
  • Malam Ku Bermimpi
  • Burung Pungguk
  • Di Mana Suara Burung Kenari
  • Hancur Badan di Kandung Badan
  • Joget Malaysia
  • Rukun Islam
  • Sri Bulan
  • Jikalau Ku tahu
  • Bahagia
  • Saat yang Bahagia
  • Dalam Air Terbayang Wajah
  • Sedangkan Lidah Lagi Tergigit
  • Seniman Bujang Lapok
  • Ragam P. Ramlee
  • Sabaruddin Tukang Kasut
  • Bila Hati Telah Retak
  • Si Tanggang
  • Ahmad Albab
  • and many more.... 

 Related source : Wikipedia

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