Saturday, June 19, 2010

At last, I found the song

When I was very small, I still remember the first Malay tune hummed to me by my late father was a song called 'Sapu Tangan'. I never heard the original until much much later when I was in my twenties when I came across an album recorded by the late Dato' Hamzah Dolmat. Much to my delight, 'Sapu Tangan' was one of the tracks recorded by him, in typical keroncong beat. The entire album of 12 tracks was very culturalistic. It has since remain in my record collection albeit it is now a little mouldy and scratchy. Here is the version sung by the beautiful Indonesian songstress Sundari Soekotjo

The local artist that was making waves during the late fifties and early sixties was none other than the late Tan Sri P Ramlee. Although I love listening to his songs which were quite catchy, it was not until 1963 when I heard the song 'Selalu' by the Indonesian pair, Kus Bersaudara, that really got me hooked. The Kus Bersaudara was like The Everly Brothers of that time. Later on when I had my band and whenever we played at Malay weddings, this song became my staple diet.

For years (or should I say decades) I have been looking for this song and even told my friends who have businesses in Indonesia to check the local record shops for me. There were none. It was not until three days ago when I did a search on YouTube and unbelievably, someone has uploaded the song. Here it is, the first Malay/Indon song that I learned to sing from memory.

The interesting thing about Indonesian songs is that many of them are being played using major keys while songs written by Malay song writers tend to use minor keys. That is why I found it so refreshing to hear a different of chord work applied to a Malay song. In the 'Selalu' song, another interesting fact is the application of rotating chords, i.e. C/Am/F/G7, on half-bar tempo to give it that musical rhythm. Sadly, when the late President Soekarna launched his konfrontasi against Malaysia in 1963, this song together with many other Indonesian songs were removed from the air.

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