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