Festival Melayu Ada: Fasa Ke-3 Revisited…

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Some of you eagle-eyed visitors to my blog must be wondering why I typed the word “Revisited” instead of “Review” in the title header above. For one, I feel that the latter word brings with it a lot of seriousness into the piece that I would be typing. Very much informative as well as carrying weight in passing thoughts across. That’s how most reviews are anyway. But after witnessing the abovementioned event last Saturday 25th April 2009 at Taman Warisan Singapura (Malay Cultural Heritage of Singapore), all thoughts of being too serious and / or analytical go out of the window.

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Wan & Eddy opened the show with two songs…

But wait a minute. I can still hear some people asking what in the world is Festival Muzik Ada??? Yes, there are people who still do not know about this event, even though it has been promoted extensively in Facebook, as well as typed about in this domain last month in early March 2009. Heck, even a part-time writer for Berita Harian had written an article about it a couple of weekends ago. I saw a prominent figure in the local entertainment industry asking one of her contacts in Facebook what the event was all about. So yes, into the third instalment in its quadrilogy, there are still those who are unfamiliar with this event. Which is why before I move on, I feel the need to requote what was said in its official Facebook Group page.

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Tengku Nur Lela with her hit single “Cinta Saat Akhir“…

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 weekend that is not only filled with camaraderie, but also a worthwhile interchange of ideas and experiences across individuals, including established artistes.

A video recording I took of Tengku Nur Lela‘s performance…

This noble effort is the concerted brainchild of local artiste Zaibaktian and famous actor / poet / director Rafaat Hamzah and is produced by the joint efforts of LeftWriteCentre and COKELAT Events & Production. Its first and second editions were held at Hajjah Esah Cafe at Bussorah Street on 1st and 28th March 2009 respectively. The third instalment of this quadrilogy was supposed to have been held at the same place again. Somehow licensing issues with regards to holding it at its usual venue, threatened to put the event off at the last minute, only for the kind intervention of the Malay Heritage Centre to resurrect it again.

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Klutz was quite a favourite with the audience judging by their reactions…

When I first got to know of its initial “cancellation”, I immediately sms-ed Ard (he of Bhumiband fame) to ask what was going on. He said that the show was not cancelled, but was supposed to be held on the second floor of the cafe. Based on my experience in its inaugural edition, coming at exactly noon was not a feasible idea since the show would be stopped for awhile in respect of the Zuhur prayers. And since they only received last minute confirmation that the show would go on, I thought that it would definitely start around 2-ish. Upon reaching the cafe a few minutes past 2pm, I saw that nobody familiar was around, so I thought perhaps they were upstairs setting things up. So I took the liberty to walk along the mall just to kill time. That’s when I met Janz who was manning his family shop (Mona J Bridal & Boutique) and he told me that the show had shifted to the Malay Heritage Centre. Thanks bro for the information!!!

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Konspirazy performing their hit “Bahtera Cinta“… Below is a recording of their performance…

What was supposed to start at 12 in the afternoon, eventually began at 3:15pm. This was to be expected, what with all the mumbo-jumbo that went on, the hassling for a place and the shifting of equipment from the cafe to the new venue. Fortunately the distance between the original place and the Heritage Centre was less than 300 metres away but the walk still felt like a long one, no thanks to the heatwave that’s been hitting the country for the past week. On hindsight, I was thankful that I did not bring my younger daughter along as she would have felt uncomfortable in the heat. The elder one was at my parents’ place for the weekend. The wife who was supposed to accompany me, ended up staying home due to a bad bout of diarrhoea, which explained why we did not attend my old friend, Firdaus‘ birthday party for his daughter later on. Apologies Fir if you are reading this.

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Fyno‘s performing of “Munajat Kasih” tugged at the heartstrings due to its deep message from within…

In my humble opinion, Festival Melayu Ada: Fasa Ke-3 certainly was not a serious affair to start with. Ok before anyone starts to think that I’m about to slate and denounce the show, no, I’m actually telling it as it is. When I said it’s not “serious”, for those who were there, I’m sure you would agree with me that the event was set in a relaxed and chilled atmosphere, filled with lots of friendly banter between the audience and the various acts that performed on that day. Not even the sweltering heat could spoil the mood of those who came from all over the country. And being understanding and almost sympathetic to their earlier plight, I think as the minutes progressed, the delay in starting it proper was all but forgotten by those who came to watch the event.

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Rafaat Hamzah, one of the co-organisers in deep conversation with Sharil of No Strings Attached / X-Tech / Ossuary

Compared to the very first one that I watched last month, the series has most definitely grown in stature and the number of people who attended has grown in size. I reckoned that with the crowd that had gathered the other day, perhaps not doing it at Hajjah Esah Cafe was a total blessing in disguise. I just couldn’t see how the crowd which numbered between 150-200 people (a decent turnout given the hot weather and our community’s lack of interest / ignorance for independent acts), could possibly squeeze along the mall where the cafe is situated, without blocking the entrances to the other shops. For now, events such as these would be able to attract a decent crowd based on its good network and promotion via word-of-mouth as well as through the popularity of online portals like Facebook.

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Tengku Adil began his set by singing “Cinta Ini Membunuhku“, made famous by Indonesian group D’Masiv and below is a video recording of his own hit single “Itu Yang Pasti“…

Last Saturday‘s event was for me, another introduction to acts I have not gotten to acquaint myself with at the second edition of the series, which I did not attend due to prior commitments. Groups like Klutz and Konspirazy as well as Fyno of Cucu Dato’ Merah fame, were something new to the ears. Their singles “Kerna Kau Aku“,  “Bahtera Cinta” and “Munajat Kasih” respectively, have been rising up the local charts so it was good to finally see them live in action and they most definitely did not disappoint with their individual showmanship. I was also pleasantly surprised to know that my reservist mate, Fuzz, happens to be Klutz‘s lead singer. Singapore is indeed a small place to live in.

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Yunos Erksan tries to forget “Mariam“, to no avail…

As promised by the organisers, this event is a good “breeding ground” for new talents to showcase their wares. This was evident when we had the duo of Wan & Eddy opening the show and afterwards we had the likes of Zakiah and No Strings Attached. The latter are actually no strangers to the local music scene as two of their members, Fadz and Sharil, are from X-Tech, yes, those guys who gave excellent performances week in and out at last year’s Anugerah Band. I wonder if being in this group is a side project for them, but it was indeed nice to see them performing melancholic songs for a change as opposed to the high-octane performances we were used to seeing in last year’s reality TV series. Quite surreal to see Fadz singing without his trademark style of jumping around and high screeches, but I enjoyed their performance all the same.

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No Strings Attached performing “Indah“…

If in the first edition, we had a guitar-playing female singer in Diana Nightingale (who now reminds me of Malaysia‘s Yuna in terms of image), this time round we had a newbie Zakiah taking over the mantle. For those of you who would like to get acquainted with her, you can go to YouTube and view Tengku Nur Lela‘s music video “Cinta Saat Akhir“, where she is the model in the clip. Zakiah has a distinct style different from Diana and her voice is slightly raspy. While I appreciate her performance, somehow I felt she kinda spoilt it by constantly speaking in English when it was evident who her audience were. It would have been ok had there been just the younger generation who speak and understand the language but there were also some of those from the older generation amongst the crowd.

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Zakiah is one talent to look out for in the near future

Being new and distinctively shy, she is most definitely forgiven and she would do well to improve on the interaction and communication bit. Minimising the slang could also be another option, as we all know how turned off it could be to some people, given that our community is extremely critical of people speaking with a Caucasian twang, no matter if it’s American, British or Australian. To them, it’s like putting up a false front. I’m sure you guys know what I’m talking about. Hope Zakiah does not take offence with what I have to say and use my words to improve on her future performances. She has the potential with good looks and talent to boot. All she needs to do is gain her confidence performing on a bigger stage and smoothen all the other rough edges.

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Elmi reciting his poetry with Yunos accompanying him…

The event was not all about singing acts though. Two thirds into the show and during Yunos Erksan‘s set, he invited local poet Elmi Zulkarnain to recite his poetry and a beautiful one it is I must say. Entitled “Anak Melayu Teguh Berdiri“, it highlighted the positive aspects of our community and repelled the negative characteristics that have become a stereotype to us. Just listening to it increased the burning passion and pride one feels as a Singaporean Malay, no matter what our ethnic roots are. It helped that Elmi read it with such gusto, till the mood was infectious enough for those who watched, to share his desire and cheered out loud once he was done. It felt like watching a very rousing political rally somehow, minus the politics and character assassinations.

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Ard broke into an impromptu opening which showcased the creativity he possesses in him…

Ard singing his first single to hit the airwaves, “Aku Akan Hilang“…

The Festival Melayu Ada series has so far been a success from the two events that I attended. Not only has it forged a spirit of camaraderie and fellowship amongst the local musicians taking part, it has also created a sense of belonging amongst the regular audience who came to brave the rain and endured the heat from the sun rays. The event not only allowed new acts to shine and start from humble beginnings, it also gave some of them the platform to promote their hard work in the form of singles, EPs and full albums. A pity I did not manage to stay till the end on Saturday as I was forced to rush off home, but I believe those who stayed still could not get enough of it. Apologies for not saying my goodbyes to everyone there.

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Zaibaktian with a new song entitled “Keagunganmu“…

The Festival Melayu Ada series will come to a closure this coming Sunday 3rd May 2009, and will be part of the Malay Arts Festival programme to be held at the Malay Heritage Centre, from 6pm onwards. The Malay Arts Festival however will be from 1-3 May 2009 from 11:00am-10:00pm. More details can be found by clicking here. This is your final opportunity to enjoy good, clean entertainment for free and see for yourself the strong spirit and bond that has been forged amongst artistes and supporters, not to mention the great music that our talented artistes are able to compose for your ears to savour. Like the term that is so often used and has become some sort of motto during the event, it is definitely “BAIK SEKALI!!!“. I leave you now with  the poem written and recited by Elmi Zulkarnain entitled “Anak Melayu Teguh Berdiri“…

Video courtesy of Elmi Zulkarnain

Anak Melayu Teguh Berdiri

Ku Intip-intip, ku belek-belek
Inilah bicara bitara seorang seniman
Intipati untuk dicerna pendengar budiman

Kecamuk rasa
Beku suara
Aku kais sejarah bangsa
Zaman Sultan mabuk kuasa
Hingga zaman dijajah sengsara
Aku tinta apa yang patut dikata
Terus mencoret apa yang nyata

Tentang Melayu pantang menyerah
Tentang Melayu yang enggan kalah

Aku mampu ke tebingan yang terjal
Jangan berani kau panggil aku bebal
Aku bukan bangsa yang gagal
Aku Melayu, anak bangsa yang cekal

Aku, aku :

Orang laut, orang Kallang, orang Seletar, orang Selat
Orang Gelam.

Aku Jawa, Boyan, Bugis, Minangkabau, Banjar dan Batak.

Aku,
orang Melayu Singapura

Anak jati pulau ini …

Tikamlah aku dengan kata-katamu
Cincanglah aku dengan pandangmu
Bencilah aku sebenci hatimu

Aku akan tetap teguh berdiri
Dari lampauku yang menjerut
Dari lautan yang hitam berkalut
Dengan semangat kental tiada lagi rapuh

Aku bukan insan yang merintih
Bukan manusia yang menagih
Dahagakan belas yang menampar pedih

Ibarat purnama & sang mentari
Seperti adanya pasang surut lautan Ilahi
Seperti harapan yang menggunung tinggi

Akan tetap aku teguh berdiri !!!

Jangan berani engkau mencerca aku dalam sejarah
Jangan sesekali memijak namaku hingga tenggelam dimamah tanah
Kerana iras semangat pahlawan, aku akan terus teguh berdiri

Seperti Adnan di Bukit Chandu
Dan satria-satria keagungan bumi Melayu

Wartakan pada semua,
Wartakan pada dunia,

Aku, aku Anak Melayu!!!

– hasil nukilan Elmi Zulkarnain…

 

Anugerah 2009 – Promising Or Otherwise???

I apologise if I have disappeared over the past fortnight, in fact the past month as I was tied down with both work and situations at home which called for my pressing concerns. When I was more free, blogging was the last thing on my mind. Hence why this blog seemed to be dead. I wouldn’t lie and say that during the time away, thoughts of packing it in did cross my mind. With the popularity of Facebook and now Twitter, blogging seems to have lost its zest in me. Luckily I’m doing this on a hobby basis but I hope none of you out there actually crave to read what is in store in my thoughts on a daily basis.

anugerah2009(banner taken off Anugerah 2009 official website)

And so I’m sure most of you have heard or read about the news and information regarding the upcoming Anugerah 2009 competition. If you have been living on a different planet or in a different realm, here’s a recap I’ve taken from the official press release of the programme:

Anugerah, one of the most anticipated TV series on Suria is back and the search for the next greatest sensation will begin soon. For the third consecutive year, the winner of the Anugerah competition will walk away with a recording opportunity with a regional record label.

This year, the Anugerah Champion will win prizes worth $250,000, which includes a recording contract with Suria Records Sdn Bhd (SRC), $10000 cash and an Artiste Management Contract with MediaCorp. The 1st runner-up will take home $120000 worth of prizes, comprising of a recording contract with Gumbira and an Artiste Management contract with MediaCorp.

Anugerah was introduced 10 years ago and has discovered many talents and bands such as Hyrul Anuar, Fauzie Laily, Syed Azmir, Aliff Aziz, Maiya Rahman and Rancour. Several of these talents have become household names and some of them have made it across the Causeway too.

Anugerah will continue to look for all rounded performers that exude charm and confidence and strong personality. The contestants will be judged by three resident judges, Ann Hussein, Eddy Ali and Gani Karim and a guest judge. The total score will be made up of the judges’ score (50%) and audience votes (50%).

Anugerah 2009 will be hosted by MediaCorp RIA 897FM’s personality Fiza O and Anugerah’s famed Fauzie Laily. The 12-episode reality series will make its debut “live” every Tuesday from 9 June 2009 at 8.30pm on Suria.

The new champion trophy for the winner is specially designed by a talented group of second year students from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). Suria received more than 100 designs. The winning trophy will be revealed during the Grand Finals.

Anugerah registration form can be downloaded from Anugerah’s microsite at http://anugerah2009.suria.sg from Thursday 16 April to Saturday 2 May 2009 and it is also available at the following venues from Thursday 16 April 2009, during office hours (Monday to Friday at 9am to 5pm):

MediaCorp Reception (Suria) 12, Prince Edward Road
Level 5, Podium A, Bestway Building Singapore 079212 &

• MediaCorp Reception, Andrew Road,
Caldecott Broadcast Centre, Singapore 299939

Anugerah’s one-day registration opens on Saturday, 2 May 2009 at Eastpoint Mall from 9am to 3pm. Viewers and supporters are welcomed to watch the public auditions at the same venue on 2, 3, 9 and 10 May 2009.

The prizes just keep getting better with each passing year isn’t it??? You must be wondering why I came up with the abovementioned title and whether I did it just to create a bit of controversy even before the competition starts. Actually I’m happy that the prizes in store highlight how the programme has evolved and progressed over the years. However, it has to be said for all the talk about recording contracts and all, I have yet to see a resolve being made between the last Anugerah winner Aliff Aziz and his management as well as the much talked-about album release of last year’s Anugerah Band winner, Rancour. And it has taken an extremely long time for the likes of Maiya Rahman and Hyrul Anuar to come up with a full album of their own.

Not that I’m discouraging wannabe contestants into realising their dreams. But I hope that they do their respective homework as well when it comes to living the dream in this small industry of ours. They have to be 100% sure, certain, patient and have that passion burning in them, even if things are not looking good. They need that to survive when things do not seem to be rosy. I’m sure experienced hands in the industry would do well to dispense tips and guide this new batch of contestants so that past experiences could be learnt and avoided wherever that was made.

The only complaint I have with regards to the coming season is the choice of judges cos before the press release was made, the teaser that they gave to the public was we would be having a new set of judges. I quote from the official website “A new phase in Anugerah, a brand new panel of judges with new comments. Anugerah will be revealing its new line-up of critics who will have vigilant eyes, on a look out for the new Anugerah star.” Looking at the three resident judges, they certainly don’t look “brand new” to me. More a case of recycling. While Ann Hussein is very much welcomed as her views in the last season was very much spot-on, the same could not be said of the other two. Expect more cliched and oft-heard comments like “You sold the song!!!” from you-know-who. My plea to them is to be honest and cynical when they have and need to. They are afterall responsible for moulding these wannabes to be tough when it comes to receiving critical comments. Niceties could result in complacency as was evidently seen in the previous seasons.

This domain, like the previous Anugerah Band season, would be constantly active with me passing my thoughts and criticisms on the show and the contestants. And let me warn you, comments made in my blog are strictly my own personal views so for those of you who would want to get all emotional like during the Anugerah Band season, at least comment with some logic and a bit of courtesy.

See What I Mean???

I know some bikers or their partners, spouses or girlfriends might have cried foul reading my previous entry. But I have my reasons, valid ones really. And most people I believe, shared my sentiments. Not that I hate bikers, far from it. But the actions of a small minority seemed to have spoilt the reputations of bikers as a whole. Just look at the following video clip I captured when I attended a wedding this past weekend.

What in the world was this guy thinking??? The married couple were not even entering the carpark along with their entourage but he was revving his engine as though there was no one else living in the area. I only managed to capture a few seconds of the clip but within the space of 10 minutes, he was revving his engine, perhaps testing out how it might sound once the wedding car made its arrival. If this is not public nuisance, I dunno what is…

I rest my case…

Wedding Convoys Should Be Outlawed!!!

Apologies for the non-updates for about a fortnight now. Honestly I didn’t have any suitable material nor subject to talk about till today. Ok, maybe some of you expected yours truly to give another round of update on the second edition of Festival Melayu Ada or to lesser extents, the launching of the compilation album by B8, Zynal and Indonesian group Gasing, or Fauzie Laily‘s showcase at Mayuni Omar‘s Music Cafe, all of which occured over the weekend. Fact is, I did not even attend a single music / entertainment-related event or showcase this past weekend due to personal commitments and the matter of having my second child being down with influenza. Even then, had this particular thing that I am gonna talk about had not happened, I guess the dust and cobwebs would be added on even more on this blog.

I’m sure most, if not all of you have attended weddings whereby the groom would announce his arrival by having a convoy of motorbikes or cars accompanying the wedding car. I’ve seen and experienced that quite a bit, especially when my sister-in-law got married back in 2002. So far I’ve had different experiences with regards to such a grand entrance by a groom, but none have been as bad as what happened this past Sunday. You see, my home is directly facing a multi-purpose hall and whenever there is a function or funeral, we’ll be the ones that will be the worst off in that we have to take in the din. But that’s all fine and dandy cos we’ve grown accustomed to it. But nothing we’ve gone through before this could top the earful experience we had on Sunday.

It so happened that when the groom arrived along with his entourage, I had just painstakingly put my daughter, who was ill, to sleep. And that too after we had a difficult time making her sleep as she needed the rest. Normally when such a convoy arrive and make their entrance known, they would just rumble into the carpark without the need to rev their engines. But this was different. The twenty odd motorbikes literally revved their engines as though they owned the place and did not stop revving even when the wedding car had stopped. You can somehow guess how peeved and worried I was that my daughter would wake up after all that hard work putting her to sleep. Most of the time I can tolerate such a ruckus, but not that day. I had half the mind to stick my head out of the window, hurl some abuse and wave my fists at them. I was close to doing that. And I’m sure whenever such an entrance is made, the residents, depending on their tolerance level, would either be disturbed or choose to let it pass.

Which is why I think for the benefit and pure consideration of residents living in the vicinity, this kind of novel practice of announcing the groom’s arrival should be outlawed or at the very least impose some kind of permit to be granted for them to disturb the peace. Can you imagine the trouble others have to go through having to go through all these even if it’s for a few minutes??? Those who would be studying cannot concentrate, those that are ill and need a rest cannot rest in peace, those that had just returned from work and needed to sleep would be rudely awakened. You’ll catch my drift nonetheless. Ok so some of you might counter and say what’s the difference between a few minutes of the revving of engines as compared to the sound of the beatings of the kompang / hadrah or the incessant off-pitch / off-key / out-of-tune wedding singers whose only shot at stardom are during wedding functions??? The difference is the amount of decibels emitted and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you what the combination of twenty-odd bikes whose engines were revved up sound like compared to the beatings of the kompang / hadrah or the singing “sensations”. One is already bad enough and enough for one to curse under your breath if someone in the neighbourhood were to do that. Multiply that by twenty and I’m sure you can understand my pain.

I listed the same title header in my Facebook status on Monday and most of the replies I received agreed to what I said with the exception of those who own a bike. Naturally they were defensive about it and I don’t blame them. But just to let them know again and for those of you who ride a bike, this is NOT AN ATTACK ON YOU. Other weddings I went to before this were good and the bikers were generally civilised. Even if they did rev their engines, they were still going along the main road. Only when they turned into the carpark did they tone down the noise level. But sadly the actions of a minority of bikers have spoilt the reputation of most of these civilised ones. And I for one think that because of these uncivilised and inconsiderate people, these kind of convoys should be outlawed for disturbing the peace. One of my Facebook contacts even said that they were blocked by a car so that the whole convoy could travel together!!! In the end they were still stuck at the junction since the light was red again. Imagine if a pregnant lady is going through labour and had to experience all these??? Such audacity to take the law into their own hands, without proper authority, is extremely disgraceful. Sometimes I dunno why people have no consideration nor basic courtesy for their surroundings and think the world owes it to them. Like what another one of my contacts said, “A simple rule: Nobody should ever upstage the newly-wedded couple on their special day…” and it is most definitely an apt reminder…