There are generations of crooners making albums covering selections of songs and music from the Great American Songbook collection. Michael Bublé became a household name because of his success in this genre. His version gives new interpretation to these songs and most importantly, new generation can now relate to these songs.
Better yet, Pink Martini breakthrough Sympathique and Hang On Little Tomato are so good they cover American, Latin, and Europe big ballad, big band jazz, swing collection; making it a daunting task to classify musical genre of this Oregon-based 12-piece band.
The Malay music scene has such classics throughout the decades and they need to be reproduced for our generation. I applaud Sean Ghazi's 5-year effort releasing this debut album, Semalam. "By looking back we find the way forward" says Sean in his album booklet. He's definitely right there. From marketing point view, this album is critical for him to determine the direction of his sophomore effort.
I have no doubt that this album will grab few awards in 2006 Anugerah Industri Muzik. I'm thinking of best cover and vocal arrangement in an album. I'd have used the image below though for the cover album as it has more character.
Semalam (Yesterday), released in November 2006; takes you on a musical journey from 1951 to 2006 covering the likes of P. Ramlee, Anneke Gronloh, Pink Martini, Sudirman, Jimmy Boyle, and a few Broadway. The orchestra music recording was done in Sydney in analog format and later the voice was added digitally in Kuala Lumpur. You can read more on the album trivia in the Media Presskit provided on his website.
It's great vocal performance with great musical arrangement and good song selections that makes this album stands out this year! Enjoy the embedded YouTube video music of Ku Impikan Bintang.
1. Semalam (2006) (Listen to this song)
This is the only original song written for this album, his collaboration with Izlyn Ramli. It's almost like a collage of music from the rest of the other tracks; setting the mood for the entire album.
2. Ku Impikan Bintang (2004)
This is translated from Pink Martini's Hang On Little Tomato album (Let's Never Stop Falling In Love). The translation work to Bahasa Melayu lyrics is done nicely to capture the emotion of the song.
3. Rambut Hitam, Matanya Galak (1962)
This is Anneke Gronloh's classic. It's so catchy and the big band jazz music makes me want to tap my feet everytime I listen to this song. Hands down, this is my favorite song. You can check out Anneke on YouTube!
4. I Have Dreamed (1951) (Listen to this song)
This is what he does best, Broadway. Sean plays the character Lun Tha both in The King And I musical and 'Anna and the King'. I wonder which part of the musical this song is sung.
5. Hujan Di Tengahari (1954) (Listen to this song)
This is a soundtrack from the film 'Perjodohan' (Fated) sung by P. Ramlee. I love this big ballad arrangement. My dad hums and sings this song when I play the CD in the car.
6. Jauh-Jauh (1959)
Some history here. Jimmy Boyle who wrote this song was famous in Penang music scene in the 50's. He played piano, pop jazz and written number of songs. Besides his passion for music, Jimmy was a school teacher. Adibah Noor performed this song in Istana Budaya Konsert Putera Puteri in 2004. I hope Adibah records this for her next album.
7. Punch Card (1982)
I wonder whether you can call this Sudirman and Habsah Hassan work a rap song? This song reminds us the time when government servants can leave office at 4.15! Maya Tan Abdullah whom I worked with in OPs Ophelia is one of the background singers!
8. Getaran Jiwa (1960) (Listen to this song)
I prefer this version of Getaran Jiwa compared to Sheila Majid's Legenda. This masterpiece is a creation of P. Ramlee and written by S. Sudarmaji for the film 'Antara Dua Darjat'. It is both philosophical and poetic. P. Ramlee use music as common factor between the different worlds portrayed in the film.
9. Dengar Ini Cerita (1953)
This catchy P. Ramlee comedic song is about a husband dating his secretary, Mary (makan luar!) and had a day out in the park. It's a delight to have Ida Nerina (as Mary) and Adibah Noor (as 'My Wife) in this song. Interestingly, the lyrics are updated to this song:
" ... Merah bibirnya macam cherry, Sekali pandang macam Helle Berry" ...
... " Perabut IKEA terbang melayang-layang." ...
10. Somewhere My Love (1966)
Somewhere My Love is a song from the movie Dr. Zhivago. I personally think that this is a poor song selection in this album.
11. Sabar Menanti (1976)
Datuk Ahmad Nawab, our new Seniman Negara wrote this song for Broery Marantika and was used the film 'Hapuslah Air Matamu'. This is another favorite of mine from this album. Both Sabar Menanti and Anneke Gronloh's Rambut Hitam Matanya Galak are good bets to break into the Indonesian music scene.
12. Let's Never Stop Falling In Love (2004)
You decide on how Sean compares to Pink Martini's China Forbes.
Tell me what do you think of this album?