Thursday, April 21, 2011

The story of Asmara Terkenang

You know, I have a profound dislike for male singer to be singing song originally sung by female singer.

For one, I hate the version of Unbreak My Heart by Il Divo. To me, the song is owned, and only owned, by Toni Braxton. And with its melodramatic melody and lyric, I would never be able to comprehend or tolerate this song by any male singer.


When Aman Shah starts singing Asmara Terkenang, there was no Youtube and internet. Obviously Klasik Nasional is a non-entity in 1980. So there was no way we would know about the original song by Neng Yatimah. Then again, digitally remastered was not something we would know by then, so unless RTM has a fantastic record player, we would not be hearing this song on air.

It was late 1980. SPM was done with  - we were waiting for our next posting I guess. With nothing else to do, I would listening to the radio mid-day that day. We didn't have too many choices of radio station I guess.

It was airing Asmara Terkenang by Aman Shah. I thought it was lovely original song by him. I was humming along when I overhead the conversation between Mak and Bapak, who were resting in their room. (Yeah, our government quarters, right in the middle of Kuala Kangsar town, is  a wooden barrack house, so you would hear every squeak in the house, so to speak.)

Bila ku ingat, bila ku kenang
Bila ku ingat, bila ku kenang
Masa dulu kita berdua
Merayu berbisik hidup bersama
Hidup bersama

Sungguh lama tak nampak rupamu
Tetapi tetap aku setia
Aku setia

"Ton, sapa nyanyi lagu ni?" I overheard bapak asking Mak.
"Budak baru, tak tau pulak sapa nama," jawab Mak.
"Ni lagu lama kan?

Turut serentak dalam hatiku
Turut serentak dalam hatiku
Dengan segera engkau menjelma
Menghibur hati yang sangat duka
hatiku duka

"Lagu Neng Yatimah, isteri Jasni,"

There was only silence after that. I guess may be by then I was concentrating on the song on the radio. Bapak perhaps had satisfied his curiosity on Asmara Terkenangl perhaps this song was something from his childhood days. It was an old song, and not a new one as I had thought that day.

I had enjoyed both song. I love the Aman Shah version. The violins were excellent; the trumpets and the horn section was not intrusive. Lovely combination.

Only yesterday I saw the actual version of Neng Yatimah on Youtube, and I was touched. I didn't realize that Mak Neng was still alive amongst us. She was the wife of the composer, and singer Jasni. I thought it was romantic of him to have given the song to his own wife to sing.

Lucky her. And him too, I guess.

If you want to read more about them and how they got married, do go to Wiki. I thought it was a romantic story - a knight in shining armor, so to speak.

May Allah bless the soul of Jasni and Moga Allah merahmati dan memberi kesihatan kepada Mak Neng Yatimah. And not to mention their daughter Roseyatimah (of Pendekar Bujang Lapok fame).

Shall we wait for her death before we honour them?


So what is my point here?

NOthing much, I guess. Just to highlight that I love Asmara Terkenang. That we should reward all our veteran singers from the 50s and 60s now, rather than when they are dead. That even bapak was touched in some sense by this song, and that I would remember their conversation 31 years on!

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