Festival Melayu Ada: Zaibaktian & Friends…


I took a break from typing out my previous entry on Pesta Perdana 10 to attend this event, albeit for about two hours or so last Sunday, 1st March 2009, at Bussorah Street. I had intended to come to support my relative, Ard (he of Bhumiband fame), who was one of the slated performers. For the uninitiated, and this I quote from the information given through its event promotion in Facebook, “Melayu Ada is a festival that celebrates Malay music and poetry. It hopes to be a platform especially for budding and aspiring talents who wish to showcase their unreleased works and/or works in progress. The festival also acts as a sharing and interaction ground amongst musicians, writers and enthusiasts alike. A chill-out Sunday that is not only filled with camaraderie, but also a worthwhile interchange of ideas and experiences across individuals, including established artistes. Festival Melayu Ada: Zaibaktian & Friends on 1st of March is a free music showcase by aspiring upcoming/established independent music acts in Singapore‘s Malay music industry.


Tengku Nur Lela doing her sound check…

In truth, I had only planned to come and watch Ard in action as well as buy his EP album which has just been released, that too if the timing of his performance coincided with my free time on Sunday. Sundays are afterall always spent with family or attending weddings / functions followed by my dose of football in the evening along with my neighbourhood friends. Knowing from Ard‘s Facebook status that his alloted time of performance was supposed to be at 12:10pm, I thought it was just the perfect time for me to see him perform since the last time I saw him in action was when he performed with BhumiBand. I had afterall made plans with the wife to bring the family to visit my parents in the evening prior to football.


Zaibaktian doing his own sound check…

I arrived at Bussorah Street at around 12:10pm, just right for me to watch Ard perform. Or so I thought. When I reached the venue, Hajjah Esah Cafe, they were still doing sound checks with Tengku Nur Lela, an up-and-coming singer under the tutelage of Yazri of Merah fame, followed by Zaibaktian himself. I took some positives out of it in that it was an opportunity to see the other acts, instead of seeing the negativity that the show which was slated to start at 11am, only started one and a half hours later. And so, the show kicked off at 12:30pm with Tengku Nur Lela singing Rossa‘s first hit single “Tegar” and a single she has recorded waiting to be heard on local radio entitled “Cinta Saat Akhir“. For a newbie, I thought she was quite cool and even though my ears detected her single has some similarities to Saida‘s “Sedalamnya Cinta“, the vocal execution made me fall in love with the song and can’t wait to hear it on radio. I think it should be out soon within the next few weeks.


Zaibaktian, the host, interviewing Tengku Nur Lela

Next up was Hirman Rasid. From what I found out about him on Wikipedia, “Hirman Rasid or better known as Hirman is a 26 year old Singaporean indie-folk singer. Other than singing or composing, Hirman is active in poetry and is recognized as a rare talent in this day and age. Hirman has stated a few inspirations leading up to his compositions such as Radiohead, Coldplay and many British indie bands. A few of Hirman‘s favourite artistes are Sarah Bareilles, Brett Anderson, Kasabian, Coldplay, Radiohead. Hirman sports a bald-head and wears specs. He is currently working at Bread n Butter located at Wisma Atria. Hirman lives in the north-eastern side of Singapore (Sengkang).” Ahhh… My fellow kampung boy… Interesting… Even more interesting was his performance because it really reminded me of watching Art Fazil or even Mohd Khair Mohd Yassin, both of Rausyanfikir fame. The beauty of his performance lies in the lyrics that he sang. And poetry being made into music is meant to challenge your mind into deciphering what it means. This guy addresses spirituality in a very relaxed manner without being preachy. He is in the process of completing an album in the folk genre.


This is Hirman performing his first song “Landasan“…

By then I came to realise that each performer was given two to three songs to perform. Which I think was an extremely good enough introduction to their abilities, even if some of them were singing cover songs. I think if I was 10 years younger, I would have jumped at the chance of performing as well since this showcase is opened to talents who want their voices to be heard, but it’s ok, I’m happy just being a blogger and watching people with much refined singing ability than I do, strut their stuff. The days of yearning to perform on the big stage is somehow gone and will never happen again since my wedding performance. Hirman then made way for another lady, going by the stage name “Diana Nightingale“. I’ve seen Diana around when I was studying in Temasek Polytechnic more than a decade ago, but back then I think she was one of the last persons I could imagine performing since she did not come across as someone who would be interested in performing on the big stage. But looks can be deceiving and this lady can sure sing and play the guitar as well. Singing three songs (the last being Republik‘s “Hanya Ingin Kau Tahu“), she gave a good account of herself, charting some life experiences along the way through the first two songs that she sang; her influence in music as well as sharing a woman’s emotions. I think ladies out there can somehow get acquainted to her songs as she is quite the songwriter who pens songs based on how women out there feel.


Diana singing Republik‘s “Hanya Ingin Kau Tahu“…

When Diana‘s slot ended at about 1:10pm, there was a break in respect of Zuhur which was due at 1:19pm. I dunno if the decision to have a break was because of the event venue’s close proximity to the Sultan Mosque and since the call for prayer could be heard from where we were, but I think for the benefit of doubt, I have to take my hat off to the organisers for respecting the prayer timing and at the same time, for encouraging those watching to observe their responsibilities during the break. I think this is sorely lacking in our community nowadays when it comes to organising entertainment-slanted programmes. Unless the show is organised by mosques or Muslim organisations, sometimes there are no breaks in respect of prayer timings or even providing a place to observe our responsibilities. I’m sure we all want the best of both worlds, here and the HereAfter, and together we should encourage one another to embrace both. I was extremely impressed with this, even if it meant I had to wait a little longer to watch Ard.


Yunos Erksan with his Mariam trilogy…

The show resumed five minutes before 2pm with Yunos Erksan taking centrestage with a trilogy of songs dedicated to someone named Mariam. This guy’s voice actually made my hair stood. It was loud, rich and what some might term as “creamy”. It had all the right essence of a rockstar in the making, even if his songs came across as ballads. He could switch from Malay to English with ease cos when he did a short sound check in English prior to performing, you cannot detect any Malay accent in him. Listening to him sing felt as though I was listening to a real professional who’s been around for ages. God knows how a talent like this is still stuck underground when he should already be established by now. Hopefully this particular gig would open doors for him, not only him but the others who needed it to kickstart their respective careers in this small industry of ours.


Ard being interviewed by Zaibaktian…

Ard came on shortly afterwards. I noticed that by the time Ard performed, the crowd had swelled and were quite into his performance. Local bands Raven and Cucu Dato’ Merah were also seen arriving around the same time from opposite directions. Ard sang three songs, “Asik-Asik“, “Hanya Kamu” and “Aku Akan Hilang“. The latter two songs have been included in  his newly released single album entitled “Aku, Dia & Gitar“. There’s nothing much to comment about Ard‘s singing except that watching him sing is akin to watching those black singers who sing jazzy tunes, along with facial expressions. I thought “Hanya Kamu” would have been a more appropriate song to introduce to the radio listeners than “Aku Akan Hilang” because personally I felt that it had a more spiritual message to it to go along with its melodious tune, but I’m sure he has a certain strategy in going about introducing his songs to listeners. Really loved his performance, he really has a distinct showmanship and it helps that he has been around for some time to know how to whip up the crowd’s interest.


Ard performing “Hanya Kamu“…

By the time Ard‘s slot ended at about 2.30pm, I could not stay on as I had promised in my Facebook status that my Pesta Perdana 10 review would be up by 4pm and I still had some editing to do before I could post it up. Though I had planned on staying to watch Tengku Adil, I had to take my leave and hope that some day I could catch him in action. Fortunately clips of his performances that day could be found on YouTube, so I guess that’s quite a consolation. Before I left, I managed to get hold of Ard‘s EP album, which to me should not be sold at $6 but at least $10 since the album has about six songs in it and good ones I must say. Really, I don’t mind paying a bit more for quality. That’s the least I could do to support local talents. Even though we’re related, I told him before I do not want any complimentary copies, I want to buy it and pay for his hard work in producing the album. I think it’s high time we start paying for the hard work of our local talents, rather than wait for it to be uploaded and for us to download for free.


Ard ending his performance with “Aku Akan Hilang“…

Even though I did not stay on to watch Fyno (of Cucu Dato’ Merah fame), Raven, Samsuri, Rowell Sakti and Zaibaktian himself, I believe the event itself was a resounding success. This was quite evident by the presence of several local artistes like Fauzie Laily and Wahyu Rahman amongst others.  Not even the heavy downpour shortly after I left could dampen the spirits of those in attendance, as seen by their finale video, which Zaibaktian had uploaded in his Facebook profile. This event promised and delivered beyond expectations, even if there was no stage and they had to make do with a humble venue. But I have great belief that subsequent events would be even greater than this. A pity that the slated emcee for the event, Ashmie (of Yazid Pakai Lampin fame) was not able to make it at the last moment as he was involved in an accident whilst on the way to the event venue. Here’s wishing Ashmie a speedy recovery!!!


Tengku Adil performing “Jauh“…

Did I just say subsequent events in the last paragraph??? Yes, Zaibaktian who took over emcee duties that day had announced that last Sunday‘s event was the first of a quadrilogy and the next event is slated for 29th March 2009. The event venue will be confirmed soon and God willing if there is nothing on on that day, I would be lending my support. For those of you who are interested to perform in upcoming Festival Melayu Ada events, please feel free to contact Zaibaktian through Facebook or his email address: zaibaktian@gmail.com. All types of performers are very much welcomed, whether you are established or not. This would be a great platform for you to showcase your abilities. Who knows, for those of you who need an avenue to be heard, this could be the one for you. Congratulations to all who made it happened that day. You definitely showed that we do have great talents waiting to be tapped. Hope you guys enjoy this rousing finale by the artistes who performed on that day, an encore of Zaibaktian‘s “Lelaki Baru“… 

Video courtesy of Zaibaktian… Thanks bro…!!!

Author: Pujangga Malam™

Well-known on RIA 89.7FM as a controversial and sensational critic able to invoke thought-provoking and sometimes, fiery responses from fellow listeners. Have since evolved into a distinguished blogger of reputable claim with takes on the Malay entertainment industry and football-related matters. Brutally honest and believes in only reporting the truth as I see, hear or experience it. Self-styled critic who does not mince his words and is definitely a non-conformist.

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