Monday, July 21, 2008

Imbauan at the Philharmonic with Khadijah Ibrahim

Tonight is the night Khadijah Ibrahim overwhelmes the orchestra at the Philharmonic!

Seriously I thought she would not be able to carry many of the songs especially on the high notes, but carry it she could and more actually.

I love her rendition of Jimmy Boyle's Jauh Jauh. Actually I like the elegant arrangement of that song. To me, I have heard many versions of this beautiful song, but this arrangement tops it all. Khadijah is as always soulful. She is so classy.

She is good too with her rendition of Cemburu and Tanah Pusaka, among others.

The PETRONAS Performing Group come out great, to my opinion. Much better arrangement, much better display from the orchestra than say at Istana Budaya. The instrument are more subtle, the different sections of the orchestra tend to complement each other, rather than competing with one another, like always at Istana Budaya. Hiburkan lah Hati ku, Mohon Kasih, Resam Dunia are some of the songs being showcased tonight.

I have really enjoyed my night at the MPO.

But it is not without shortcoming, and I guess at times it may sound petty. But I would say my piece here and I didn't like the initial arrangement of the traditional song Mas Merah. I believe that you cannot get more Malay than this song. This song epitomize the very essence of the Malays and yet it was led by the "Chinese Violin" (I don't know the its real name), and for a good part of the song, it sounds Chinese to me, and the irony of it all, that this song to my mind, is Andre Goh's.

Until the singer with full traditional gear starts singing it that is. May be I am too much a traditionalist, I don't know.

It is a beautiful traditional piece.

I would like to see more of the traditional instrument like the gambus and accordian being featured as solo instrument rather than as back-up and perhaps putting these musicians at the front rather than the back.

Any kudos to PETRONAS Performing Art Group and PETRONAS in general. Tan Sri Hassan Merican, the PETRONAS' President was a guest tonight and I saw Adibah Nor in the audience and I must say Khadijah Ibrahim's rendition of Jauh Jauh is far superior to Adibah's.

Khadijah was playful enough in her performance quite often teasing the orchestra members and the conductor, and apparently even Tan Sri Hassan was not spared when she noted that a medly of the songs from the 50s she is singing perhaps suits him more than it suits her!

I have a guest, Kak Yus, a former principal of the Ambacang Primary School in Padang. I am sure she had enjoyed it as much as I do. I met her while I was tracking the foot steps and life of Sitti Nurbaya during one of my trip to the land of the Minang more than 10 years ago.
My guest Kak Yus (2nd from left) and the family with the MPO CEO Puan Juniwati (sixth from left) and her husband En Harun (third from left). All three of us used to work in the same section, in the department that the good datuk who signed the contract in the previous entry, headed. And I used to report to her at one time at the oil refinery in the East Coast.

I am now a fan of the PPAG and I am saying goodbye to Istana Budaya (in principle). For sure I would be coming back for the 30th Anniversary Concert of Khadijah Ibrahim. I am praying hard that she would be singing Janjimu. Of course I have many favourites like Ku Sangka Siang kiranya Malam, Tangisan Hati yang Derita, Ku Pendam Sebuah Duka, but this song from 1980, Janjimu is special. Just way too special for me.

I wonder if I could ask the MPO CEO to do me a favour and convey it to Kathy. Hmmm...

I would melt, if she sings that song in November, I know I would.

And of course my SPM 1980 will always be remembered by her song "Peristiwa dibulan November."


  1. Hi, Have shown your blog to Khaty Ibrahim. She said thank you for the compliments and support given. She is also looking forward to a fantastic show in November.


    Ridhwan - from the Khadijah Ibrahim Family

  2. Dear Ridhwan,

    When I wrote that piece, I didnt realize she could be reading it. It is an honour to have her visiting my blog. Have been a fan since her early days when I was in secondary school.

    I am looking forward to her fantastic show in November myself.

  3. Dear Rahman,

    Do visit Khaty's Official Page in for updates and be a fan. Regards - Ridhwan