I love keroncong, though I believe not as much as the late Sultan of Johor.
The urban legend has it that FM104.1 keroncong segment at 11 pm in the old days is meant for the Sultan of Johor, and apparently he slept to the melody of keroncong on a nightly basis. And his are hardcore numbers that even I have not heard of.
I have no idea if that is true. It does not matter to me. I love the soothing melody and like the late Sultan, it could lullaby me to sleep. It is just very relaxing. And if I have my way, I would like Arif and Akmal to learn how to play keroncong, just like the determined Hassan in the Anakku Sazali movie.
I love a wedding that has a keroncong outfit providing live music. I think it is classy and elegant.
So I head to MPO last night to be immersed in live, classy keroncong that one can expect from a world class philharmonic hall, only to leave exasperated.
Yes, I have enjoyed it tremendously. The second half with a nearly full symphonic orchestra was as wonderful a music that I have heard at the esteemed concert hall. Sayang diSayang in the full splendour of symphonic orchestra and the wonderful voice of (Datuk) Yusni Hamid is one song you would not want to miss even if you have heard Kartina Dahari's version a thousand times.
Sayang diSayang, Tinggallah, Kini Hatiku Telah Tertawan, Uda dan Dara, Alunan Biola, Aku dan Dia, and Selamat Tinggal Bungaku are some of the classics that were reprised wonderfully last night. One could do no wrong with these songs. The arrangements are not necessarily better than the original, and in many cases I still prefer the original arrangement - may be I am so used to the original arrangement anyway.
At the hand of Yusni Hamid, even the unfamiliar but catchy tune of Ampang Pecah, an Ariff Ahmad's song had the audience clapping, despite this full house crowd being quite a subdue crowd. You just wish that she would be the only singers that night.
The others leave much to be desired. Bob did an ok job with Pahlawanku. Adila - please don't ask me about her - certainly did not deserve her place that night. She has a weak voice and her pronunciation is unclear that even as a keroncong buff who had memorized all the keroncong lyrics, I have problem trying to decipher her. To quote my sis, "Stop giving us half baked singer." Strong words, I told her, but it is not something I would disagree with.
Her try at Sharifah Aini's classic Kini Hatiku Telah Tertawan failed miserably. One would have no choice but to compare her with the Biduanita Negara.
Never mind that she was wearing body hugging dress; I was not impressed with her performance at all. Wish that Yusni would be taking on the song.
I was initially impressed with her rendition of Senandung Lagu Lama, again a Kartina Dahari's classic. But it would soon be obvious that Jamilah Abu Bakar, a 15-year old singer that had Tun Siti Hasmah apparently raving about her, is not in her league. At least not yet. She did better than Adila though, and she has a stronger voice than her, but still, you need a full-body voice like Yusni and Kartina to deliver any keroncong song in its full splendour.
Caption: Obviously we were not able to record it, but I guess the penyanyi cilik Jamilah had uploaded the practice session. Alamak, but this is a guy song, so feel a bit weird when she sang it.
But she is only 15, and has time on her side to polish her singing skills and voice control like Kartina. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and hope that she would do better as she grows up. Yes, she needs to diversify her left hand movement a bit. ;-)
But the problem I think lies when the producer tried very much to put up political message in a music concert. Just imagine; you have a song called Semalam di Putrajaya.
Semalam in where?
Give me a break. Putrajaya was not even born during the golden era of keroncong!
I know lah that Dr M had graced the first night of the concert.
Just do away with the modern numbers - Bukan Aku tak Cinta, Pergi and others that should not have been there in the first place. I cannot comprehend them as a pop number and I can't comprehend them when they were keroncong-ed, to be honest
Where is Terkenang-kenang, Sejak Kita Berpisah, Jangan diTanya, Kisah Cinta, Dari Hati ke Hati and many others? I know lah, some of these songs are Indonesians - only some, but they are classic Malay keroncong nevertheless, if you know what I mean. Kemayoran is perhaps more of Javanese keroncong and may not be suitable that night.
I was dying to hear this classic keroncong song.
Seruling Senja. Ah, you cannot get a more classic keroncong number and a classy rendition by Kartina. Perhaps none of our singers are fit to sing this song? Her voice control here is nothing but amazing.
How about asking Kartina Dahari herself to come and render them! Is it too much to ask?
Nonetheless, I would like the PPAG to continue their performances - I hope next season would bring us more of Asli/Zapin concerts, more keroncong, and perhaps just PRamlee and other classic from the 40s and 50s. We need to showcase these songs.
We need to bring to the fore these classics and get a whole new fans to enjoy them in the full splendour of symphonic orchestra.
Caption: The blogger in serious discussion with Datuk Yusni Hamid at the end of the keroncong concert on the direction of keroncong in this county - as if this blogger knew much about music! Actually, he is more like a fan since 1991 and I was only telling her of my fav song of hers Antara Kita Berbeza which I had blogged here. I guess she is the only infallible person that night to my ears!
She realized that Akmal was busily taking pics of her, and asked if he is my son. Unfortunately I am also taken Datuk. ;-)
Oh, and please do accept more criticisms from me. At times, I know I am hard to please, but this is nothing to do with me per se. It is about the maintenance of the DFP.
I think the cables at Dewan Philharmonik Petronas are going to the dogs, especially those connected to the amps. We had had two loud electrical 'explosions' (for the lack of a proper term) during the concert and it is both irritating and embarrassing to have it happened at such stature of a concert hall, but poorly maintained.
The explosion is very loud and ear-drum shattering!
I think this is the second time it happened in the last two concerts that I have attended this year, and it certainly does not bode well to the DFP team. We do get that if you have an amps at home and the cables are 'shorted'.
I think they just need to replace all the cables - that's all. But don't take my remedy at face value.
Get professional advice please.