Monday, May 11, 2009

BDB - Band Dari Boyan

(Taken from M Star Online wo permission)

I would have never thought of it.

I mean when Black Dog Bone first appeared on the music scene in the mid-70s, I thought to myself, "How could anyone have thought of such a name?" I mean why would anyone name a band Tulang Anjing Hitam. After all that's the exact translation of the name Black Dog Bone.

And I got the answer from Jatt during the BDB concert at Istana Budaya last weekend.

And what a concert it was. So good that this music fan from the 70s and the 80s - someone who would unashamedly consider himself to be a sucker for everything Sudirman, would consider it one of the best - if not the best concert, he had attended on either side of the two concert halls of Kuala Lumpur.

The philharmonic and Istana Budaya.

So good that he simply had to attend the concert twice.

To me, as someone who live in an era where the Boyan boys from Singapore made it big with their brand of pop music, BDB did not have a singular music or song to define them. I mean for group like Harmoni, they were defined by Penantian, Suhaimi Mior Hassan by Epilog Cinta dari Bromley, Flybaits by Kenangan Lalu.

But BDB?

While one can't really find a killer song to identify this group with, one could think of 10-15 songs that are easily BDB's. Or more to be honest; after all they have about 11 albums altogether. Who could forget Bahagia dan Derita, Sayang, Diganggu Kenangan, Hari Ini dan Esok, Relax - just to name a few, and funnily enough for me, someone who would despise those songs that were copied from English songs, but pale in comparison of the great masterpieces that they were trying very hard to emulate - that one could consider BDB to be at home with, hearing them live is something I would cherish and would leave me wanting for more.

So much so I had to come back for more. That's what I told Jatt when he signed the autograph program booklet on Saturday night, and I reminded him again on the second night I was there. It is that good.

And yes, he was aware that I was there again.

Funnily enough for me, as an old man, I did not do that to the female singers who, in my younger days - and their younger days too, had kept my eyes wide open, and left me breathless listening to those melancholic songs and looking at their pretty faces. I thought I would be burning buildings and climbing mountains to get a photo or an autograph of Kathy or Uji Rashid or Rina Rahman. Yes, I would probably have done that, if I were honest to myself. But I didn't do that at Kathy's concert.

And yet I queued to get BDB's autograph. Did I tell you that I did it twice? I did? Oh ok, I guess I can help but tell y0u I guess. Over and over again.

I think it must have been the fact that may be - just may be, that I was not sure if we can get a reunion of the BDB ever again. I mean it is one thing to get solo singer to perform- Datuk Ahmad Jais has performed at Istana Budaya at an age of 70 or thereabout, but to get six fathers or grandfathers to perform together again is a miracle in itself.

And may be I was too shy to meet up with th0se ladies. Kathy still looks good at 50, and available may be!

But sorry I digress.

The moment they stepped into the hall using a moving stage, we were in for the best times of our lives. I would normally consider Malam Kenangan as a poor cousin to its counterpart of the original by Earth Wind and Fire - something I used to think that it was all wrong about BDB in the 70s i.e. too many lagu ciplak, but hearing them live with the orchestra is something else. It sets the tone for the night. The 70s music were all alive at Istana Budaya for 3 consecutive nights.

My feets and hands were following the beat of the music and my whole body was gyrating in my seat. But I had to control myself - the ladies next to me would not have liked their seat to be bone shaking. They would not have liked to see this old man shaking his hip.

Or perhaps, Istana Budaya was the epicentre of a quake.

One must be there to feel their music - Khayalan was beginning to sound much better than Fantasy and I was beginning to think that it was an original Malay song that EWF had copied. So do Bila Rindu (Leo Sayer) and Hatiku Luka Lagi.
(Members of the audience jogetting with Jatt and the IB dancers. This was the second night performance, and it was a good crowd. The pic was stolen from Utusan and it was front-paged on Sunday's Mingguan)

But if I were considering gyrating my body - which would not be a pretty sight unfortunately, during the disco-influenced songs, I was left lamenting my life over some of their saddest songs. Diganggu Kenangan, Sayang, Dulu dan Sekarang, Ku cari Penawar Luka - whose heart would not have sank listening to these. One guy in the front seat was seen literally wiping off his tears during some of these songs.
(Sayang, engkaukah bulan di langit, teman dimalam yang sepi, untuk seorang penanti...Ni mesti lagui jiwang ni. Jatt tengah nak high tu, tapi si Hamid pulak tengah sengeh - ish tak sync betui. Taken from M Star Online without permission)

There must be a story behind it, I said to myself. Broken hearted or unrequited love when these songs were making airwaves.

I guess I love the jiwang songs live too since they followed the spirit of the original songs, and did not modify it. I mean they all sound like in the original LP or CD if you must, and for that you can't go wrong listening to them, especially live. If the orchestra is coming in at that point in the original song, it will come in at the same point in the concert. I can relate to the arrangement - I am familar enough with the arrangement. They were part of for 30 years.

But the best part must be the remake of PRamlee's song- Anika Ragam. The crowd just went wild, and were singing along to the song word by word, so much so we didn't need him to be there to be honest.

Figuratively speaking that is.

Yai yai yai yai yai yai yai yai yai nyawa
Sama-sama kita bergembira
Yai yai yai yai yai yai yai yai yai nyawa
Sama-sama kita bergembira

I had never seen a crowd so responsive, and for the first time in my life I would not mind the singer not singing his line, and I joined the crowd singing along even the high pitch. Never mind if I could beat the hip-shaking of American Idol reject, William Hung. The last time it happened to me, I wish I had slapped that someone next to me for singing too loud while I wanted to concentrate on listening to Kathy.

Their fun songs are really fun - Geram, all their joget songs, Nasik goreng, Anikaragam. All the sing along types.

You want to know how much was BDB's influence in the music scene in the 70s? When I called Mak to greet her a happy Hari Ibu on Sunday morning, I jokingly told her that if she was in KL, I would have taken her to Black Dog Bone's concert. It was meant as a joke as I was quite sure she would not have liked them that much, if at all. Furthermore, she had just returned the day before to Taiping.

But instead of saying thanks but no thanks, she said yes, and would ask my sister to drive her back to KL on a 3-hour journey just to see BDB.

BDB was in their element for Mak to say that she was entertained and happy to have watched it. She said the concert was also different from all other that she had watched.

On the other hand, my eldest - a 17-year old now counts himself as a fan. He knew many songs before the concert, but didn't know who was the singer. After the concert, he is enjoying more of the CDs and the songs. So three generations were all covered by the music of BDB and you can't ask for more I guess.

I think it is down to their longevity. Carefree only survived for 3 albums, and BDB 11.

Honestly, Jatt and BDB were in their element last night. His vocal prowess is something else, with may be Ramli Sarip or Kathy Ibrahim amongst his equals. My sis was questioning me on how he managed to marry Sharifah Shahirah (??), and I told her, "Well, he only needs to open his mouth and all the girls in Malaysia would melt!" Hahaha, don't you agree? Even today, methinks.

That's Jatt's prowess I guess.

But beyond the fantastic songs, and fantastic performances - there is no other way to describe them, their rapport with the audience was excellent too.

"We heard that there is a group from Brunei."

The crowd screamed.

"How about Singapura?"

The crowd screamed.


The crowd screamed.


The crowd screamed.


The crowd screamed. Too, if I may add, since I am quite sure there was no one from Taiwan.

Jatt nearly fell off stage - or at least he pretended too, if you know what I mean.

"Any Boyan around?" he asked.

And Izhar, and Masron all put up their hands trying to catch his attention - much like schoolchildren trying to get the attention of their teacher. It was really funny. After all they are all Boyans.

Then Izhar said, "Aku ni boyan campur Jawa, so jadi Bon Jovi lah!"

And the crowd roared. It was hilarious.

In the end, my parting remark to Jatt, and I told the same thing to Rahim Othman and Jay-jay and of course S Atan during the autograph session:

"Gentlemen, thank you for the music, and thank you for the memories!"

Oh boy, what a fantastic time travel!

These are now collector's items. My collection of BDB CD consists of 4 CD for the most famous 4 albums. They are now priceless with the signature of the band member. Of course my Carefree LPs would now fetch handsomely with Jay Jay's, Rahim Othman and S Atan's signature. UNfortunately my only BDB LP which I bought with my own pocket money was a pirated LP. I told Hamid and Masron that I could not afford to buy the original then in 1979. But I would like to believe that I have repaid them of my past sins by paying twice for the concert and the 4-CD collection of BDB.

Shaking hands with a pop legend

I have Jatt's attention and Michael's while Rahim Othman looks on. He was looking at the LPs I brought. My BDB album was a pirated one - I have no money then, so I was a bit shy to show them the album.
S Atan signing my Carefree's album. No, he was not a member of Carefree, but he produced their last two albums, and practically all of BDB. If he is Malaysian, he would be a Datuk right now and would be conferred an honorary degree. During those years, I thought Ahmad Nawab held the edge - their songs were competing on the airwaves. But during my adulthood, I thought S Atan was a tad better in producing unque songs and music.

Both pictures were taken from M Star Online wo permission. They should have allowed independent blogger like me to take non-flash photography just to record the event in my blog.

I did not touch much on Rahim Othman, and Jay Jay. I went to the concert looking forward to hearing BDB and didn't expect RO and JJ to give lengthy performances. But they did. Jay-jay is a really good singer and composer. I have always enjoyed his songs, and his vocal can still give Jatt a run of his money. Cukuplah Sekali is a wonderful song. Of course his signature song Rindu Bayangan was performed with RO's haunting flute, and so was Kini Baru Kau Sedar.
Jay Jay signing on a Carefree album and asked S Atan to sign it as he produced the two album. I guess with Jay jay's stature as a songwriter, he is still very humble to acknowledge the contribution of S Atan to his career.
Rahim Othman is a very unassuming guy. For someone of his stature - all the wonderful songs that he has written, he should not be. But I am glad that he is. I still remember him competing in Bakat TV 1972. I thought he did well on his flute playing Nona Maria and Mission Impossible; but he didn't win. It was won by a clarinet player Razak Rahman and Jamali Shadat took second place. I though we were good at unearthing real talent then with our Bakat TV program. In fact, in some way America Got Talent probably lags behind in that respect if at least in years. However, we have gone backward since then. Now only singers get the limelight and no wonder our musical scene is in a doldrum.

I am tad disappointed that we did not have full house on the two nights I was there. I thought with Mingguan showcasing a front page photo of the concert on Saturday night, and the 15% discount on the last night, we would have full house. I guess many of us have 'berhijrah' and there are only a few of us like me who would still go and have some fun albeit in a harmless way.

Ah well...


  1. khayalan menjelma, ketika fikiran melayang menjauh mengenangkan mu....

    i could spontaneously remember the whole lyrics and sang along with jatt. the show was superb & unforgettable!

    thx man.


  2. It was a superb show. Superb, fantastic, wonderful - I don't know enough adjectives to describe the show. I didn't know that they are that good. I wonder what would they sound like 30 years ago.

    You are right about the spontaneity of remembering the lyric. I have lost track of many songs but once he opened up his mouth singing them, the lyrics came naturally to me too.

    Yeah, Khayalan is something else.

    I took a couple of pictures of the show - stole it during the madness moment I would say, but I have difficulty uploading them at this moment.

    You are welcome.