Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cinta Pertama

Kasih, bibirmu merah delima
Halus, seperti rambutmu
Wangi, bagai angin senja
Sesuci semurni kasihmu

Aku terperangkap dalam pelukan
Cinta pertama

So goes the song Cinta Pertama. I have always loved this song in the 70s. It was sung by an Indonesian girl group The Twins. And a couple of years ago, I was searching for this song in Jakarta; without knowing its title and the singer, it was hopeless. I thought that the name of the song was Dua Insan as that is the opening phrase of the song. I could not find it, though I did my best trying to humm this song to the sales girls there. The song was much older than them, I guess, for them to know it.

What I also didn't know is that this song was written by Bapak Idris Sardi, Indonesia's foremost violin player. To listen to Cinta Pertama (instrumental), click here.

I have the privilege to attend his concert at Istana Budaya last night, and he enthralled me with his skills. He is that good, even at 70. While he had won many awards and honoured in many ways, he was so humble. At the end of each song, while getting thunderous applause of appreciation from the crowd, he was pointing upward towards the sky, indicating that his skill is a gift from God, and that all the adulation should be given to Him and Him alone.

At times though, I wish Mustafa Fuzer Nawi had arranged the songs minus the horn section. In fact at times I wish that he would have chosen perhaps only a quartet of instrument (piano, guitar, a group of violins etc) to accompany Idris Sardi. That would have showcased his talent.

In last night performance, at times, the National Symphony Orchestra was simply too overwhelming. Even at times I feel the backup singers, Enam Dara, was not necessary. At times of course. Otherwise both did a good job. As always.

I would give him the thumb-up for Mawar Berduri, Dealova, Layu Sebelum Berkembang, Widuri and a host of PRamlee's songs. But I was eagerly waiting for Cinta Pertama. He didn't disappoint me.

It was not until at 10 pm (it was a no break concert) when he started to speak after performing practically non-stop. He starts learning violin at the age of 6. It was purely classical for him. If he learned the jazz, it would be pure jazz. He would wake up at 5 am to practise and there would always be a cane if he didn't or if he didn't do well in his practice.

Apparently he had been in Malaya performing in 1960 with a bunch of household names Indonesian singers. Bing Slamet (Nurlela, Serunai Malam), Sam Saimun (DiWajahmu Kulihat Bulan - the song I would melt for; and how I wish Arif would learn to play this song soon on the violin), (Titiek Puspa - she was young then (remaja was his word), and so sexy, according to Idris). They were here for a month going from state to state, even Terengganu.

According to Mak she has seen them performed, but didn't remember Idris Sardi. I am sure he was backing up the singers then.

All in all, he performed only 3 of his original songs while he had written about 800 songs. In fact he performed more PRamlee' songs to ensure the audience would have a good time. For the record Mohram (Mohar on flute and Ramlee on percussion) also took centre stage performing. I ho they will stick to their forte and be extremely good at it.

I do hope his tale would inspire Arif and Akmal to work as hard. He would not be where he is without hard work on his part, despite the talent that he has. One should be single minded pursuing one's purpose in life.


met with Cikgu Hizam and Cikgu Faridah at Istana Budaya. Both of them were the Hariri's teacher with Cikgu Faridah being my Standard 3 teacher in 1972 in Lenggong. I have written about her for last year's teachers' day celebration. Read it here.
Mak chatting with Cikgu Hizam and Cikgu Faridah.

The Hariris while waiting to go in at Istana Budaya.

it easy to just address someone as merely Pak Idris Sardi or as the host that night addressed him, Mas Idris. No Tun, no Tan Sri. No big head!


  1. was an exhilarating performance by the maestro idris sardi.Equipped with his wellcrafted and perfectly engineered electric violin he demonstrated his creativity on the instrument.
    With Mustapha Nawi as the master conductor the show started with the introductory fanfare...Satu Rasa.
    After having to wait almost 20 years,I finally got this opportunity to hear and see the great maestro performed.I remembered the times sowewhere in 1970 when my father played the album 'Kerontjong Eka Sapta'.Idris Sardi and his collegues recorded some sort of keronchong jazz pop tunes on this album. Songs like Whiter Shade of Pale was played with a keronchong version.Apparently Indonesians had exposure to jazz music as early as 1930s.From there onwards I began to follow his works till the present times.
    Yes, the song Cinta Pertama once heard on Malaysian air was phenomenal at that time.The 1970s till late 80s was the pinnacle of his career.Following the success of Cinta Pertama, he had composed some more fine and lovely tunes.The other song Persembahan Ku from the movie Lagu Untuk Mu was sung by Anna Mantovani & Breory Marantika was also popular at that time.Anna Mantovani was also the original singer for Cinta Pertama.
    I had the opportunity to retrieve some of his early recordings while in Jakarta a couple of years ago.In late 1950s he was a violinist for the Tetap Segar Orkestra under the direction of R.Pirngadie.That was the era of keronchong music.I was a bit dissapointed that some of the keronchong stuff was not performed that night.
    However, I felt grateful to him for performing excerpts of P.Ramlee compositions such as Ibu,Indah Istana Bunian and Getaran Jiwa which echoed across the hall.
    The love for wanting to learn and understand music has propelled me to take up violin lessons from a dedicated teacher since 8 years ago.It was technically a difficult instrument to master but with patience and perserverence I was able to reach level 5.As the maestro said,it needs discipline and sincerity in wanting to acquire knowledge.
    To the great maestro,Idris Sardi I say thank you for your beautiful music.May you always be protected in the hands of God.
    Lastly I would like to thank you for your story Cinta Pertama and I had enjoyed reading it.

  2. Dear Muzammil, a very big thanks for your comments & anecdotes. Thank you for dropping by. It really makes me wonder about Idris Sardi. Yes, Persembahanku is another beautiful song played that night.

    I have to agree with you that it was a bit disappointed that he (and the NSO) didnt play the keroncong. I guess they would need to bring a keroncong outfit for that purpose and probably decided against it.

    I think violin is perhaps one of the more difficult instrument to learn. But then again, I am a music illiterate.

    My son Arif is also a Grade 5 violin player and I can see the 'pain' he went through learning the instrument compared to when he was doing piano. Are you performing with any outfit at this moment?