Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The first Malay song I learned to sing

When one talks about Malay songs, especially those generated from the sixties, the works of the late P Ramlee would immediately come to mind. His hits such as "Gelora" and "Getaran Jiwa" were making to the charts and his songs could virtually be heard at every home party or school concert, alongside the more popular western pop songs. As for me, as a budding musician during this period, it was not P Ramlee's works that got me to singing Malay songs, but one particular song from Indonesia. It was 1963 and I was in Form 3 then. One morning while we were undergoing a History lesson, a classmate seated next to me hummed this song. It was melodious and catchy and I asked him for the title, thinking it was some western pop song. He told me it was "Selalu" and recorded by an Indonesian duo. Due to their tight harmony, one can consider them to be "The Everly Brothers" of Indonesia. Regretfully, this song was taken off the air when President Soekarno launched his "Konfrontasi" on Malaysia. By then, I was very much hooked onto this song and when I finally formed a band the following year, I made sure it was part of my repertoire when performing at Malay weddings.

Ever since then, I have been searching high and low for this album but could not find it until last year I came across it on YouTube and it was so good to hear the song again. Here it is, "Selalu" by Koes Bersaudara, 46 years on.

Unlike local Malay songs of the day, chords applied were mainly on minor keys. For a change, this song uses major keys on a rotational half bar application.

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