Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Melody of 2010

I was sitting in Old Town White Coffee kopitiam in KL LCCT waiting for my flight back to Abu Dhabi, when I received a message (sms) from Azli - "Ko sampai dxb what time? Gimme a buzz nanti. MTC suruh perform depan Najib on the 18th ni."

My face immediately beamed with a light of excitement. My UAE band (now we have decided to call it Ashabul Kahfi) was asked to perform in front of Malaysia's Prime Minister and his delegate in Abu Dhabi. I was very delighted to think that at least I have something to be busy about rather than suffering from my post holiday depression alone at home. When Azli sent another sms - "Ko interested nak main tak?", I frantically typed and sent "Yeah, I am in !" without any hesitation.

We had only 7 days before the big event. My UAE band members have not met and rehearsed together for more than 2 months. I have not been a good bass player for not brushing up my bass lines at home unless there is a jam session or a show to attend. So that means my finger memory of our usual songs was not really smooth and I need to practice very hard in a very short period of time.

When I arrived in Dubai, we agreed to jam on four consecutive days - Thursday, Friday and Saturday followed by a last full rehearsal on Sunday's night. The show was set on Monday's night (January 18, 2010). Because we were engaged by Malaysia Tourism Board, so we were given a privilege to use the Malaysia's Embassy in Abu Dhabi as our jamming venue.

It was really a tiring ordeal for me to commute between Dubai and Abu Dhabi (distances 160 kilometres), to practice everyday and to crash into someone's house when I should have a quiet week to wind down (and do laundry) after my hectic holiday in Kuala Lumpur.

But I must be lying if I tell you it was no fun at all. Because I indeed had another great time with my friends in the band. In fact I made a few new friends who are very talented musicians.

Rahimi and yours truly

Sahibulkahfi during soundcheck

On the day of the event, we were all ready to give our best. We had a list of 8 songs as follows:

1) Mustika - M Nasir
2) Getaran Jiwa - P Ramlee
3) Lagu Kita - Aizat
4) Sinaran - Sheila Majid
5) Ayat-ayat Cinta - Rossa
6) Widuri - Bob Tutopoli
7) Pupus - Dewa
8) Hati Emas - M Nasir

Azli the percussionist

Latif and Faniz, the singers

Taufiq the darbuka and toy master.
Also happens to be a creative videographer

Azlin the keyboardist

In the end we were only allowed to perform 4 songs because of the time constraint. I noticed PM Dato Sri Najib and his delegate were really tired with their round the clock tour and was hardly seen as really enjoying the event. But I was glad to see the PM made an effort to tap his fingers and moved his body to the beat of Sinaran and other songs. Well at least, some reaction.

Our show lasted for less than an hour. But the journey and preparation behind the scene was what really counts. It proves my believe that with music, peoples of different backgrounds can be friends and work together more easily. I find it interesting when our singer made her opening remarks during the show that - "We are not professional musicians but we are professionals here in UAE with 3 lawyers, 2 engineers, 1 architect and 1 financial analyst." That kind of summing up some of our diverse backgrounds but unity in music.

"Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here"

J.K Rowling

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Enter 2010

If you noticed, my blog posts lately have no pictures in it like usual. The reason for that because my Olympus pocket camera's lens is jammed. So until I fix it or buy a new one, I don't have a picture to show to you. But already I am taking this as a strong excuse to look for a new camera. Only money could tell.

I just got back from 2 weeks holiday in Kuala Lumpur which turned out to be the most hectic holiday of the year 2009. Despite the busy schedule I managed to spend a quality weekend holiday in Langkawi Island together with my wife and son. The trip to Langkawi has been in my list of Cuti-Cuti Malaysia for quite sometime and I am relieved now that I can to strike it out a done deal. My wife was the one who insisted for the Langkawi trip as she had never been to Langkawi before. I first visited Langkawi back in 2002 by bicycle. Yes - I have traveled from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi by bicycle. Although our stay in Langkawi was a short 3 days but we managed to ride the longest and steepest cable car in Asia and eat the most delicious and authentic laksa I have ever had.

The reason for my hectic holiday started when I received a set of keys to my new apartment - the one I mentioned in Life is an Improvement.

Then I met a contractor and the rest was like a spinning game of home improvement where a participant is given a budget and a task to renovate his house within that budget and specific timeline.

Except for the days I was in Langkawi, my life started with waking up before 7.am to send my wife to her school. Then I either have to run for breakfast (if my brother has not left for work) or stay at home until my son woke up and ready to be sent to his caretaker.

After that I drove around Klang Valley to look for lamps, airconditioner units, hob and hood, sink bowls, taps and many more. It sounds like a task which can be completed in one day but with the KL's notorious traffic, the abundance of designs and specifications, the quest for reasonable prices and the fact that I have to pick up my wife at 6.00 pm everyday, I hardly can buy many things in a day. In fact when I left KL for Dubai, there were a few items left which I could not find and buy. However I am a happy caveman with a new cave now. And I look forward to see how my apartment looks like after its renovation soon. Especially when I decided to let my wife choose and surprise me with her choice of colours for the apartment.

I still feel tired since I arrived from Malaysia last week. But this is due to another reason which I will tell in my next posting, hopefully with a few pictures.

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."

Henry David Thoreau


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