I know this particular review I’m gonna make is almost 3 weeks late and kinda stale already. I should have included it in my last entry but as you know, that last entry was already too long and I could not have simply squeezed this in as I had a 12am dateline to meet then. Due to the bandwith lag, the last entry was posted at 5am!!! So I was right not to put it in, lest I would have been too tired to get up and say my Aidiladha prayers…
On 30th December 2006, I attended the long and much-awaited launch of Imran Ajmain‘s album entitled “Dengan Secara Kebetulan“. I’ve been harping and hyping about the album since last February and honestly I was beginning to sound like a broken record till finally it was released in stores on 19th December 2006. Not that I’m blaming Imran for the delay. As he had mentioned in his blog, it had been postponed about 3 times due to circumstances and disagreements which I know no further details of. I’m sure he himself felt unhappy at the delay, but all is well now that it has finally been released.
The event was held at the Glass Hall of the National Art Museum. It was organised by Beats Society, which most people know as the organisation where Imran is the Grandmaster (or is it “Pimp Daddy” in hip hop speak???) and supported by WorkHeart. The event was scheduled to start at 7pm but people were waiting outside the area since 6:30pm when I arrived. It was free admission to all but priority and seats were given to invited guests from the local entertainment industry. I felt very much out of place cos most of the crowd made up of those from the 13-25 age group. I decided not to go in first, preferring to hang around with Raudha of WorkHeart outside the hall.
One by one, the stars came. There was Ali of Anugerah fame, Nuradee, Nurul, Rima Melati and Norfasarie. A while later Suzairhe, Fauzie Laily, Hyrul Anuar, Fadhilah (Erlin Montel) and the Anugerah Skrin finalists turned up as well. It was definitely heartwarming to see so many local artistes coming down to lend support to the album launch. You always hear of the bad side of the entertainment industry where artistes stab each others’ backs or bitch about the other, but this was something which we all welcome and make us respect them. For that, I take my hat off to them for their support. However, I did not see any representatives from the radio side attending the event.
Once the Suria stars had gone in, I followed suit and got myself a seat behind Fauzie Laily, right at the corner about 3 rows from the front. I’ve gotta thank the good people of WorkHeart for letting me have a seat, even though there was a miscommunication as to the confirming of my attendance to the event. I was just glad to sit down as I did not feel comfortable standing with the crowd since most of them were much younger than me. No, it’s not a matter of me being pompous or choosy with who I mix around or stand with, but a matter of feeling old with the people around me.
The show kicked off at 7:12pm with Zee, the emcee for the event doing the introductions. Before Imran came on, this guy by the name of Hafiz recited a “pantun” which Imran had painstakingly composed. In fact before every song that Imran sang that night, there was always a “pantun” recited and they can be found before almost every song in the album. A pity this Hafiz did not recite it with enough feel that Imran had done which I felt did not give justice to the beautifully-crafted words. But to his credit, he did improve as he went on.
Imran sang almost every song in the album and he was simply excellent with his vocal range from the catchy numbers (Taurus, Sudah Tu Sudah, Kata Orang) to the soulful ones (Seribu Tahun, Ghaibmu, Apa Salah Beta). Imran took the time to introduce the artistes under his Beats Society stable by giving them a chance to accompany him in almost every song he sung. Amongst the many artistes under Beats Society, I was most impressed by Zul Mystroe‘s beatboxing abilities. Not many people give credit to those who are masters of this craft and he is certainly a class act from what I observed. Others like Freaky Z could cut it as a stand-up comedian if he was to venture into acting or hosting. He had the audience in stitches with his antics and even brought the house down with a Malay song Imran had composed for him. A pity I had to leave the hall to observe my responsibilities, which in turn made me missed the last 3 songs.
It was a great event, not too posh yet elegant in its own right. Imran proved yet again what an extraordinary singer he is. He took the trouble to speak in English to introduce his songs to the non-Malay audience. It was heartwarming to read the papers the following day on why he is very particular when people take speaking in Malay for granted. It shows that the younger generation cares after all for the language. If there’s something he could improve on, is that he should try to loosen up and treat the audience in a non-business-like manner. I don’t deny the jitters and fears to impress the audience and learning to loosen up will come through more experiences performing. Most singers start that way too and his journey has only just begun. Through time, I am confident he would be an entertainer extraodinaire.
I was more impressed by the effort he took to explain his rationale behind speaking in English, the meanings to some of the songs and as to why he never allow others to download his singles whenever they email or see him online. Which was why I had been pestering him to release the album as quickly as possible as I too had been guilty of asking him for the singles just to listen on my own and not to share with others for others to download.
Speaking of the album, dare I say it’s gonna be nominated at this year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik and hopefully bag something??? Call me biased, but that’s how I feel it should be rewarded. Listening to the lyrics alone made me appreciate the effort Imran took to uphold the beauty of the Malay language in its simplicity and intricacy, the traditional idioms that have been passed down from generation to generation adding more spice to it. Yes, songs like “Kata Orang” may sound like Taufik Batisah‘s “Sombong” or “Compromise” like Justin Timberlake‘s “My Love“, but they’re mere coincidences as the album had been recorded when the latter hit the airwaves and Imran himself being the composer for the former. Heck even renowned composers like Melly Goeslaw, KRU and Ajai are known to do tweaks to some of their hits and give rise to more hits. He is one hell of a songwriter and how I wished I was a singer so I could sing one of his compositions.
I’d like to thank Imran for including my wedding photos as part of his video montage for “Seribu Tahun“. I totally forgot all about it till it was shown in the background to accompany him when he sang the song. Well you can view it in this clip that I’ve included. It’s on the 41st-48th second of the clip. I was even more touched by Imran‘s gesture of appreciation when I met him after the event. Even though he was tired and hungry, he still received me with warmth and a look of contentment. He surprised me with a hug as he thanked me for all my words of encouragement and praises in my previous entries, which I totally did not expect and was a little slow to reciprocate as it caught me by surprise. I didn’t know he’s been reading my entries so it was an honour for me to have him as one of my readers. Cos really, I dunno who’s been reading my entries (unless you guys comment in my comment box or tag board) except that I have vague ideas of where my readers come from through my Sitemeter reports.
For all the good things that I’ve said regarding the album launch, surely there were things that might have come up short. Personally, I wasn’t too pleased with the timing of the event, firstly being the eve of Hari Raya Haji and secondly eating up the whole of Maghrib, of which the audience made up of mostly Muslim youths. However to be fair to the organisers and giving the benefit of doubt, they were working on a lot of restrictions and it was unavoidable, try as they might to avoid since the album launch had been postponed since God-knows-when for God-knows-how-long. Secondly the Bencoolen Mosque was just a street away so people should have the initiative to make their way down to observe their responsibilities. So it’s not that bad after all if you look at things as a whole. Other than that, for me the event was nothing short of excellent as not only did I enjoy the performances, I also got to know Suzairhe, Rima Melati and Nurul as well as seeing my old friends Fauzie Laily, Fadhilah and Junaidi …