Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nostalgic Weekend - Rose Iwanaga

[L-R] James Ong (rhythm), Jimmy Ho (lead), Peter Ho (bass), Jalek Zula (drums) and Rose Iwanaga

The distinction of being the first English-language recording group from East Malaysia went to Rose Iwanaga & The Avengers from Kuching.

Despite the fact that Sarawak was already part of a greater Malaysia, little was known of this artiste nor any artiste from Sarawak or Sabah, as the focus of the music scene was very much centered in Kuala Lumpur and Penang (and of course, Singapore).

Then one day in 1965, I got hold of an EP which featured this Sarawak lass of Iban descent, Rose Iwanaga, backed by a group called The Avengers. I was certainly hooked on to that soft melodious voice of hers and have lost count the number of times I played the record, over and over again.

The hit that made her popular was the old Nat 'King' Cole classic, "Too Young", which was given a more contemporary approach. But the song that I enjoyed most was that Carole King's composition, "Will you still love me tomorrow".

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