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

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