Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Music and you

I want to share a perspective about music. In my humble opinion music is an ancient form of communication. It is also the most natural and universal way of communication. With music the musician tells the listeners his/her message that is embedded in the arrangement of the melody, rhythm and the bit of the tempo. Any sound is a piece of music. When people talk they punctuate their conversation with certain intonation which is a form of music. Same goes to animal.

The birds have their jamming session every morning. The monkeys thrashing their hearts out together in the jungle. Some of the musical composition can be understood by certain listeners and other composition can be understood by larger listeners. Sometimes I feel I can understand what my cat is ranting about when I got back home late, simply from the rhythm and the melody of its voice. Even ancient people communicate their messages from village to village by blowing shell trumpet. Language of men is a recent tool of communication compared to the long history of music as the means of communication.

We would find modern songs nowadays either instrumental or comes with lyric sung by a singer. But both forms are essentially a music and carry messages to its listeners. Yes there is a MESSAGE in every piece of music. Even if the song has no lyric it definitely carries its messages in the composition of rhythm, melody and bit of tempo. An experienced listener can capture the messages in music. You can tell if the song is a happy song, sad song or angry song even without a lyric. Try listen to an instrumental zapin or joget song and you may find your body will gesture some form of dance movement. The message of dance is being communicated to you and your body is replying to it.

Music is a very powerful tool of communication too. We could see dangdut music moved the political scene in Indonesia. Blues music of the African people inspired the successful entertainment industry of the USA. Soldiers go to battlefield accompanied by war songs. There is no barrier for music to communicate between human. Music is capable of penetrating our soul and evoke our emotions.

A lay listener may not be able to hear which instruments are playing or what pitches are used. Yet he or she may have no problem of appreciating the music as a whole. As a music performer I try to get the listeners to get involved in the emotions inherited in the music played by my band. It is also in my opinion that when one listens to a piece of music he or she must be in a state of emotional. Because only then the emotion of music can be converged with the emotion of the listener and recreate a new emotion. The listener will enjoy an intense pleasure with the newly recreated emotion passed by the music.

So feel the power of music. Open your heart and try to interpret the messages in the music being played to you. Listen to the melody, rhythm and lyric in a song. And find yourself a story is being told to or shared with you.

"Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought."
E.Y Harburg, American songwriter (1896-1981)

Monday, April 14, 2008

I am grateful for this life !


Praise be to Allah the Almighty for giving me this beautiful life of mine and the peoples around it.

I am 32 years old today. If I am destined to live a 100 years, I am in 2 years of my 2nd quarter.

I was born in a year when Sex Pistol released their first single 'Anarchy in the U.K'. But I jammed the song only after 18 years later.

I was a 5 year old kid when Tun Mahathir was elected as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Of course on the day he was elected I still couldn't understand how important a Prime Minister is. But for 22 years I have only known him as the Prime Minister of my country and gradually understand the importance of his job.

I was 8 years old when suddenly my parents left me for 42 days. Later I found out they went to a holy place called Mekah. I cried in happiness when my father greeted me after his long trip. I wanted to ask question why did he shave his head and grow beard, but I saved the question for fear he will ask where did I get all the monies to buy so many 'Dendang' toys. ("Dendang was a very popular kid snack in my hometown back in the 80's and it costs me a whopping 50 cents a box ! luckily my mother showed to me her secret coins box, a day before she left for the long trip).

I was 14 years old when my younger brother and I went to our fruit orchard, one day after lunch, and had our first smoking session. We had many great times smoking together after that until I quit for good last year.

I was 15 years old when I first listened to a thrash metal song by a group called Sacrifice from Canada. From that year onward I kept myself updated on any bands who say they play thrash metal, death metal and black metal music. 5 years later I was accepted to join an underground band called Cryptic Malediction formed by a group of head banging guitar smashing university students. They asked me to play bass guitar and from that year I struggled hard to be known as a bass player.

I was still 22 years old when the only Prime Minister I ever had shaken hand with sacked my university's president who happened to be his Deputy. I was confused to see how my friends reacted to the incident but decided to join the first protest in my university by throwing newspapers all over the places because it was fun thing to do. But I felt disappointed when in the next year after that peoples declared April 14 as their Black 14. Don't they know other peoples like me has been granted a life on April 14? I will never call April 14 as the Black 14 !

I was 25 years old and was struggling to understand a page in my Arabic textbook for my 2nd degree in Bachelor of Laws (Shariah) when the television set in front of me showed an aeroplane nose-dive into a building. For a moment I thought it was a movie but it was actually a live telecast from CNN. Since that year I learnt it is not cool in the US to speak Arabic or look Arabs.

I was 26 years old when the Court called me to a lifetime job. But I am happy to know I can charge people for what I do, write and say.

I felt I was the most handsome man on planet earth in my 29 years old of life when a woman agreed to accompany me for our love sad and joy together. She is definitely the smartest woman on planet earth ! She is so beautiful too. On that same year I had a joy to find out the University agreed to grant me a master degree when I myself could hardly feel anything I can master at after 29 years of life.

Allah must be pleased with me that he answered my prayer for another life after 31 years. My second life is in a form of a cute healthy boy which my wife and I named Muhammad Adrin.

Today is Adrin's first day with the babysitter. Later he probably remember this day and maybe write about it. But I hope he definitely remember this day as April 14 the day his father was born.

Happy Birthday to me and thank you for reading this entry !! Yahooooo

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln

Monday, April 7, 2008

What was I thinking?

I should have posted this entry on last Monday but I got hold up with office work.

Last weekend my band was invited to play in KL International Book Fair in Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur (PWTC). We had a slot for 2 songs. So we played our latest numbers "Tertinggal Kapal Angkasa" and Belayar Ke Pulau Jauh". For your information we have just finished recording these 2 songs in a studio a week before this gig. We had a great show and so much of fun with the lively audience. But with a story to tell.

Our show was scheduled at 6.00 pm but I arrived early for the book fair around 3.00 pm. I was quite proud of this fact (being early). But what happened at the end was something I didn't expect at all. Remember the fact that I have just finished recording the 2 songs a week before this gig? So on that fateful day I was pretty confident that I could perform the songs very very very well [emphasis added].

I was so confident that I didn't practice the songs at home. Not only that I didn't practice but I couldn't be bothered to warm up my fingers on the fret board when I arrived at the stage. Instead I was busy visiting the booths, browsing the books on display, catching up with old friends, joking around with bandmates, playing with my boy Adrin, take pictures of the performers on stage, in other words, in the 1 hour period prior to our gig I did all sort of activities except to be with my bass guitar and amp. What was I thinking yea?

I was busy making a face to Adrin when the MC announced "dan sekarang kita dengarkan, Dewangga Sakti, dipersilakan". Suddenly I felt adrenalin gushing through to my heart. I turned around and saw all my bandmates were already on the stage. Where is my guitar? Ohh shit I got to plug in the amplifier first ! Have I tuned my guitar?..ohh thank god I have tuned it. But where is my guitar and amp? What was I thinking?

I quickly ran to the musician room and grab my bass guitar and amplifier. I almost tripped myself when I clumsily stepped on my guitar's strap. I had to run to the stage with 3 kilos guitar in my left hand and 10 kilos amp in my right hand ! By the time I was looking for the power source for my amp and plugging in my jack, my friend Zoy was already strumming the intro part. When I showed the sign 'ready' to all my bandmates I didn't have any idea how my bass will sound like and what song to play first.

In fact I found out which song to be played first slightly after 1 minute during the intro. To my surprise my fingers were cold and shaking. I could not even slide my fingers from note G to F in the 3rd string. To make matter worst I totally lost the samba groove supposed to be played for the bass line in "Tertinggal Kapal Angkasa". And the result was....a going to the cliff out of tempo disharmony and discordant bass lines for the 1st song. My heart was beating at 120 km/h, my hands and feet went cold and numb and my armpit was sweating !

I just could offer a smile (actually a smirk) to the staring whattafuck eyes of my bandmates after we finished the first song. Then I raised my eyebrow to signal "its ok guys, shit suddenly happened but I am back now for the 2nd song".

The 2nd song was started with my bass line. I went smoothly for the 1st, 2nd until the 4th bar. I almost wanted to bang my guitar on the floor when my clumsy fingers went to the G chord pattern when I was supposed to play in D when the violin came in. I managed to skip a chord and came back to the right pattern (if you are a musician, you could imagine how a song would sound when suddenly the bass line skip a pattern).

I quickly unplugged my amp and carried up my affects after bowing to the cheering crowd. What was I thinking? I couldn't help myself from cursing and swearing against my name on the way down from the stage.

"If you're not practising, somebody else is, somewhere, and he'll be ready to take your job"
Brooks Robinson
American professional basketball player

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Pic: The Great Mosque in Xian, China

Have you watched the short video entitled 'FITNA' by the Dutch MP Geert Wilder? I watched it yesterday in Youtube. The title itself is actually cynical because 'fitna' is Arabic word which means unfounded accusation. But if you see the contents of the video you will see footages of speeches, bombings and beheading which are real and those speeches and acts were spoken/done by Muslim leaders and terrorists in the name of Islam. To me these events happened and are founded facts. But the footages are featured after a quotation of relevant verses in Al-Quran as if the despicable acts and hate speeches were done in the true context of the quoted verses of Al-Quran. This is not true, misleading and totally wrong.

So I was thinking who should we be angry at? Who is our real enemy?

Naturally yes..we should condemn the maker of the video and that is what I am seeing the reaction from all nook and corner of Muslim world now.

But what do we expect? A non Muslim to understand the true context of the verses in Al-Quran whilst watching in the news the atrocities done by persons confessed to have done it in accordance with Islamic teaching?

Geert Wilder and others who tarnish Islam should be confronted and told that their doings are unfair and create more hatred in this world. But I say the real enemy here are the terrorists who claim to be true Muslim and follow true teaching of Islam. These people are the confused lot and they are armed and dangerous.

They say their war against the jews and western countries are justified because the jews and western are doing the same to their people and country (read Palestine). Yes I support Palestinian rights to have their own country but to me their war should be fought as national war for independence. Why fight it in the name of a religion?

These peoples are not Islamists but religionists. Religionists are peoples who use and manipulate religion to justify their action. And this time they are manipulating Islam. They are the ones who 'fitna' Islam.

"Islam derives from word 'aslama' means to submit and resign oneself,
and word 'aslem' means to make peace and surrender"


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