Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Peristiwa dibulan November


Found in the online NST.

Khadijah Ibrahim’s The Pearl Anniversary Concert at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas had the audience mesmerised.

SHUIB TAIB was one of them.

THIRTY years of a glittering showbiz career sallied forth in a remarkable show by Khadijah Ibrahim billed “The Pearl Anniversary Concert” at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, Kuala Lumpur.

Khadijah took her audience back to the days when her hits like Ku Sangka Siang Kiranya Malam, Ku Pendam Sebuah Duka, Tangisan Hati Yang Derita and Janji Mu dominated the airwaves.

She began the show by singing a line from Leaving on a Jetplane, the first song she sang in public. Kathy, as she was known when she started her career, also entertained the audience with anecdotes.

“To finally make it here is just great. It’s tough competing with all the new stars like Mawi, er, who is he?, she joked. When I first started touring, I went to places like Jengka, Machang, Tasik Cini... not Los Angeles, mind you!
“With my looks, height, a name like Kathy and the fact that I could speak a little English, kampung folk thought I was a mat salleh. So it was all right for me to sing in English. They found it surprising though that I could sing in Malay as well.”

Back in 1979, this writer attended a RM5 concert on a school football field in Kampung Manjoi, Ipoh.

Artistes included Khadijah’s brother Latiff and comedians A.R Badul and the late Yusni Jaafar but Khadijah was the main draw with a 40-minute slot.

Those days, anyone worth her salt would be compared to the dynamic Anita Sarawak who was already well-known in the Asian region. The local Press was predicting Kathy to be the next Anita.

Thankfully, there was no need for comparisons. Khadijah proved that she could hold her own.

And her Pearl concert was added proof. With her powerful and at times husky vocals, Khadijah had the audience in the packed hall mesmerised.

“Before I recorded my first English album, I was required to prove that I could sing in English. I was asked to sing a song of Donna Summer’s (the queen of disco at the time),” said Khadijah before giving a soulful rendition of Summer’s version of MacArthur’s Park, another song she used to sing.

Khadijah recalled how her father did not get to see the day when she released her first album in 1978.

“Mum would follow me around then but after six months, I lost her too. Ladies and gentlemen, I dedicate this next song to my mother,” she said before belting out Mama Oh Mama.

Khadijah’s following medley of numbers reflected her career journey, with the audience cheering her on: Oh Kekasih Ku (a Malay version of Wishing on a Star), Ku Gembira Di Samping Mu, Potret Kasih, Kau Timbul Kembali, Sabar Menanti and English numbers like Memories (which she dedicated to her ex-husband, Mohd Rashid Fahmi Bastaloo), Everyday Girl as well as a cover version of Autumn Leaves.

In between her three costume changes, Khadijah introduced her guests, Datuk Ahmad Nawab and Ramli Sarip.

Ahmad was the man who was instrumental in Khadijah’s success, her mentor of sorts, having penned more than 2,000 songs and so many of her hits. The 75-year-old saxman hit the right notes with the audience when he played Spanish number Besame Mucho and his self-composed winner, Kali Terakhir Ku Lihat Wajah Mu.

Khadijah and Ramli did a beautiful duet with Doa Buat Kekasih, one of their evergreen hits. It also turned out to be the favourite number of Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Nur Zahirah, who was also present.

Others in the audience included singers Syafinaz Selamat, Halil Chik, politician Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and several corporate figures.

She ended her show with Peristiwa Di Bulan November, and from her performance that day, November 2008 will be hard to forget.

If you haven’t caught any of her shows, you should not miss any of her performances. For here is one entertainer who can lift up your spirit as high as her immitable vocals can soar!


AAH, it has been thirty long years and how I wish I had been able to see her perform during her heyday. Not that I was anywhere near Jengka or Cini the past 30 years. Then again I was not near New Zealand at any stage of my life either.

Kampung New Zealand I may have passed on the way to the East Coast though!

Like Shuib and many others in the sold out concert, I was mesmerized.

Mak thought she looks younger and smaller when she first appeared on stage. May be. She had to ask if she was my age which is not! She is older than me, but of definitely she looks younger than this blogger. But smaller?

I guess she didn't see her at Imbauan recently.

All in all, I have enjoyed her performance. She was cheeky with the glitters of the diamonds that she wore that night - I guess she was not unlike Madonna. She was funny and no one would be in doubt of her stature in the Malaysian entertainment scene.

Many song I seems to have forgotten but were rekindled in my mind. Memories - one song that caused this blogger to quiver in his seat. It has been so long. Everyday Girl too. I thought the best performance was Salam dari Benua. The composition was excellent, beside the singer of course.

All her songs from Ku Gembira disampingmu, Tangisan Hati, Ku sangka Siang, Potret Kasih would cause to writer to jog down memory lane. In fact those songs would have him running out breath, just to keep himself up. Her songs were great, so was she. You would have read the review in Mingguan last week beyond the excerpt above.

But to be honest, at one stage I was disappointed. In fact I was disappointed the moment I stepped into the hall, still smiling in anticipation of Janjimu for which this blogger would be ever so grateful to her. (I mentioned to Datuk Ahmad Jais that I have not heard of Nak Dara Rindu, an asli-laced song not to be confused with PRamlee's. But he didn't perform it when he did the concert at Istana budaya.)

I was expecting a full philharmonic orchestra to complement the DFP but instead we had a 'normal' band (3 guitars, keyboard, and a piano).

To say I am a bit disappointed would be an understatement to be honest. I guess I am now old enough to be wanting to listen to a bit more sophistication in musical presentation than say a 3-guitar and a keyboard band. Nevermind if Jenny Chin was on keyboard. To me, keyboard cheapen the sound especially if it was trying to imitate the wonderful sound of violins in an orchestra.

Especially when the DFP has a full size pipe organ adorning the wall of the stage!

Hence I thought highly of the arrangement of Salam dari Benua with violin, acoustic guitar and I guess a piano. Excellent!

I was hoping that she would not do medley of her major songs. Unfortunately Tangisan Hatiku Yang Derita, and Ku sangka Siang (not to mention Janjimu) were sung in shorter version of a medley.

I wonder how she would sound in the full splendour of a phiharmonic orchestra.

My other dislike would be all the names of the politicians and corporate figures mentioned over and over again by her. I never thought highly of them, and wonder what they had done to her career anyway. But I guess it is her show and not for me to decide how she wants to thank anyone for their support

Anyway, Dear Khatijah Ibrahim, I grew up listening to many of your songs especially the ones in 1980. Your songs remain high on my list of songs I would listen to, but please don't take what I am saying here in negativity.

I am giving you my honest opinion. I hope you would do another concert, this time with the back up of a full orchestra.

I would be the first to buy the ticket.


I thought there is no need for me to be waxing lyrically about her performance. It had been published by NST and Utusan. She is that good, I must admit. In fact I think she is great!


  1. Dear Rahman,
    This is Ismail Gareth - the presenter of Khadijah's Pearl Anniversary Concerts. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reflections on the shows. Your comments are full of insight and you have an engaging way of relating the repertoire to your personal circumstances. This is in the best spirit of all such cultural criticism. You make two (slightly adverse) comments towards the end and I'd like to respond to each briefly. Under ideal circumstances we would have loved to have had a full symphony orchestra - after all it is acoustically one of the best halls in the world and the MPO is a fine ensemble. The fundamental reason it didn't happen is that we couldn't afford an orchestra - the cost was simply prohibitive. Once that was the case we decided to work with what we take to be the best group of musicians around under Mac Chew and Jenny Chin's musical direction. Actually it was a 10-piece band plus Jae Sern on violin and I thought the arrangements beautifully realised. I have mixed feelings on the second comment. I tend to agree about the politicans - or at least most of them. But Khadijah does have a lot of friends (from across the political spectrum) from that "profession" and I guess felt moved to thank them, though some have done precious little for her in career or other terms. On the corporates I feel it was entirely proper that she thanked them. Our small company - Impress Creative - took the whole burden of putting on the concerts and let me assure you the core costs were considerable. There was a point at the beginning of November when we thought we might not make it. But hat tip to the main sponsors who came in under their corporate social responsibility programmes and helped us considerably. If they hadn't I would have had to remortgage my house! Early in the new year we hope to be making our donation to the designated charities that Khadijah mentioned. Again, this is at least in part thanks to the sponsors. I hope my own comment has been helpful. Please visit our website at: And anybody who nominates Camus' The Outsider as one of his books is a man I'd like one day to meet. Cheers, Ismail Gareth

  2. Dear Ismail,

    Sorry for the late reply, and thank you very much for responding to this nobody making noises at his blog. I am impressed thus far with responses from you and Ridwan (for my Imbauan commentary). If only more Malaysian companies could be more responsive to their clients like you do....

    Understood your limitations in organizing the concert. Like she had mentioned during the night, many would pay top dollar to pay Celine Dion, but not for local artist.

    Yes, it was a 10-piece band, and in fact I enjoyed it better when the arrangement called for less instrument like the Dr Wan Zawawi's classic.

    Anyway, thanks again for the explanation and I would have to be thankful for organizing the concert that allowed old fans of hers like this blogger to enjoy her classy performance in such a nice setting.

    All the best to Kathy and Impress Creative and looking forward to a new venture from you.

    Selamat Hari Raya IdilAdha.



    As for choosing the book by Albert Camus, I didn't comprehend the book initially when we did a literary review on the book during my matric days in Perth. But I grew fond of it. For some reasons, this book remained etched in my memory.

    Such a classic, this book is.