Friday, April 25, 2014

SALOMA - Remembered and loved

In the early years, the clock did not move as fast as it does now – that was how I felt.  I could not wait for time to fly, so that I could accomplish my dreams. What was really changing faster than the clock then, was actually me!

My preference for food, clothes, even music began to change. I only listened to music by foreign artists. I was no longer interested in Saloma, even after winning a 1st prize in a competition, singing her songs ‘Muda manja’ and ‘Selamat Hari Raya’.

Some time later, I saw the movie ‘Bujang Lapok’ directed,  and acted by P. Ramlee. In that movie, Saloma (his wife), was dancing in her stiletto, wearing a knee-length dress, singing the song ‘Gelora’. (Pictured on the right, the actual scene from the movie).  

Alas, that was dejavu for me. I was fascinated by that performance, and, liked her again, but I said to myself that I was not really her fan.

FIRST TIME WE MET


It was in the late 60s.  I was not yet a recording artist, but already known in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei (also Indonesia, I was told). It was after my first TV appearance in the 13-week musical series ‘3 Juita’.  (Pictured left, with Jimmy Ooi Quartet, in 3 Juita).


I was invited to sing at a show organized by Radio Malaysia (Penang). I could not believe that I would be appearing on stage, with the two most famous personalities in Malaysia, and Singapore.     

So, on that fateful day, back-stage, I set my eyes on P. Ramlee, and Saloma for the first time. I was standing on the opposite side of the stage, waiting for my turn to sing.  

During that few agonizing moments, I was perspiring profusely, and I could hear my own heartbeat. I then noticed P. Ramlee looking at me.  It must have been obvious to him that I was nervous.  He would of course understand what I was going through, having been in the same position in his early years.

From a distance he seemed like a nice, and kind person.  He nodded at me, smiled, and raised his hand, as a polite gesture of encouragement. This actually displeased Saloma, from the look she gave him. She then glared at me, continuously.

I was surprised - “what on earth was that for …why was she hostile to me?”, I asked myself.  I already had problems with my racing heartbeat, how could I cope with an extra stress?  After all, he was only being polite, and, I was not even his fan. I then maintained my cool, and performed my best. My parents, and close relatives were with the audience, and that must have given me extra strength.  

WE MET AGAIN
We met again, for the second time, in the early 70s.  I already had a few hit albums to my credit, and was appearing regularly on TV. It was during ‘Muzikarama’ -  a grand show held at Stadium Negara,  Kuala Lumpur.

This was the first, and only such event organized by EMI, to present to public, its prized showcase of singers, and musicians, from Malaysia and Singapore. (Pictured on the right singing my song 'Ingin Berkenalan')More on Muzikarama in another posting.

P. Ramlee, was the emcee for the night. Another glaring session transpired between Saloma, and I. After that first incident, prior to this, I had decided that I would not look at her, even if she stood two feet in front of me. 

FRIENDSHIP BONDED 
Destiny brought us together. Thanks to Producer Helan Abu. He had invited Saloma to perform in my show - 'SARENA in Saturday night entertainment'.  (Pictured below during our medley).  Of course, we had no choice but to meet in person to discuss the show (even though we did not like each other).

That day, over coffee at RTM cafeteria, we were cordial to one another. I suggested that we performed a medley of her old songs.  She was surprised that I knew her songs by heart, whereas she could not even remember any (having recorded hundreds of songs in her life-time).

Suddenly, I saw her face lighted up, and she flashed her most famous smile at me.  A miracle had just taken place. We were chatting, laughing, and, giggling for hours, as though we had known each other for ages. This was how, and where, it all began.  What was originally a childish irritant between two strangers, turned into an everlasting friendship. 



(Below, video-clip of the medley, we performed)



THE SALOMA SHOW
We were put together again, by Helan Abu. This time, I was Saloma's guest in her show ‘The Saloma show’.  It was my debut in TV acting. I was casted as a rising star, not able to cope with personal problems, being in the limelight. In this drama/musical,  Saloma was my confidante. 

The script 'Cemburu' written by Helan, was nearly close to our real life experience together. (Pictured on the right - the actual scene from the drama/musical).

I can still remember the end shot when we were told to hug each other, while the credit titles were rolling.  It was really odd, having to hug for nearly 5 minutes. We were giggling throughout the rehearsal, and the actual shooting of that scene.

I often wondered why Helan did not freeze the ‘bear-hug’ shot, immediately after my dialogue “you are my sister, for eternity”!

Perhaps, Helan really wanted to bring us together,  or perhaps he was amused. I never really asked the reason. What we both knew, on that fateful day, our friendship was finally bonded. She became the sister that I never had.

THE SALOMA I KNEW
Saloma was a very special person, gentle, and soft spoken. Very sisterly towards me, and insisted that I called her ‘Sally’ (her nickname). Those days we often did not call our counterparts ‘kakak’ (big sister), for various reasons, even though the person was older.  Perhaps, I can write about this another time.

What I observed about Saloma was that, she was never angry with anyone (at least not in my presence).  She was always calm, and composed, even when situations got out of hand.  She was extremely dedicated to her profession. Her favourite singer was Doris Day.  She was obsessed about her family, and generous to them all.

Saloma would not burden anyone with her problems. She was ever-ready to listen, and was always there when someone needed her help or advice. I never heard her talking ill of anyone or gossiped.  Although she knew there were times, some friends, and family members were disloyal to her, she was ready to forgive, and forget.  She was never affected by any gossip that anyone spewed, and quickly brushed them aside.  

She had many struggles in life, and each, she confronted bravely. She confided her problems, and I would always give emotional support, when needed.  She was of strong character, determined, independent, and proud.  These were the characteristics that placed her on the pedestal, as the top female songstress, actress, that ever lived in Malaysia, and Singapore. This title, she rightfully earned for decades in her life time, and even after she departed.

From the inside, Saloma was a very lonely person, after P. Ramlee passed away.  She would spend hours relating precious moments they shared. I came to know the real P. Ramlee from her -  how pressured he was to meet certain schedules, what he did when he was unable to get inspired to churn out new compositions,  and movie scripts. She knew, what she confided would be well guarded by me.

What I can stress here, is that,  P. Ramlee was not treated well by several persons in the entertainment industry. This somehow or rather, affected him. I once suggested to her to get someone to write a story about her life with P. Ramlee.  She was very interested, but I am not sure if she managed to pursue this idea.

Saloma was the only person in my past, as an artist, that I maintained contact with, (after I withdrew from the entertainment industry). My biggest regret is that, I had inadvertently isolated myself, and we did not spend much time together, towards the end of her life.

(Video on the right) The song ‘Solataire’ sung by her in my show, is my favourite. I cry each time I hear it, as it reminds me of the good times we shared, and the regrets that I have, in losing a ‘sister’, and a sincere friend, that can never be replaced. 

Pictured below with Saloma, 
my beloved mother, Mariah 
(both departed, and sadly missed)



May their souls
be placed among the righteous,
in the Hereafter. Ameen.






This blog by D. J. Calito provides Saloma's background and achievements.

Friday, April 18, 2014

MUSIC OF YESTERYEARS

Songs of the 60s  by legendary singers like Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, Matt Monroe, Andy Williams, Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and many more, stood the test of time. Now, music of the yesteryears are re-recorded by many new artists. Songs of the 50s by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and others, have recently been revived by new generation singer, Michael Buble, turning him into an overnight star.  

Most of the old songs were sing-along favourites, catchy, and melodious. Vocals, melodies, lyrics, and music arrangements, were pleasing to the ears. Lyrics were often based on everyday life, mostly on innocent love, boy met girl, heartbreak, sadness, undying love, etc.


"Running Bear" by Johnny Preston 
 No.1 hit song worldwide (early 60s)

These songs were able to transport young listeners to an imaginary world, portrayed through lyrics, vocals and instrumentations. Yes, I was once, one of the young listeners. Today, when I hear the songs, I relive those moments. They bring tears of joy, and sadness,  and, I feel rejuvenated!  

I now understand, and appreciate the statements made by my fans,  who have this to say,  “ we  grew up with your songs.... you remind us of our past ... our joy and sorrow...”.  I feel truly blessed, that my songs have touched their lives.

“Pergilah sayang” - is my version of an evergreen "Kiss me goodbye". Visuals featured in the video, are legendary persons, in the entertainment industry, in Malaysia, and Singapore. We once walked the same path, although for a moment, they are forever remembered. Sadly,  some have departed. May their souls rest in peace.

Journey with me, as I share some nostalgic moments of my life, in this video. 


Photos of personalities featured in the video (in sequence)
The late Kartina Dahari, the late Ahmad Jais,  the late Ismail Harun, Julie Sudiro, Anita Sarawak, the late Rafeah Buang, Kalsom Hashim, the late Yusof Ahmad (RTS, TV Producer), the late Normadiah, Sanisah Huri, the late Azean Irdawaty, Norzie Nani,  Uji Rashid, the late Latiff Ibrahim,  Sharifah Aini, Jins Shamduddin,  Sarimah,  Noor Kumalasari, the late Saadiah, Mariani, the late Abdullah Chik, and, the late Saloma.  

Below, lyrics and  interpretations, written by me.


PERGILAH SAYANG                                     PLEASE GO MY LOVE 
                                                                     
Ku tahu sejak dulu,  cinta mu kepada ku       I know from the start,  your love for me
Hanyalah sementara,  tak kekal tak setia       Was for a moment, never lasting, nor sincere

Pergilah sayang,  pergilah kasih ku                Please go my love, leave me my love
Janganlah kau kenang kepada ku                  Do not look back, or even think of me
Pergi sayang jauhlah dari ku                          Please go  my love,  stay away from me
Cinta mu bukan lagi untuk ku                         For your love is no longer mine

Sungguh sedih hendak ku lepaskan               I feel so sad to let you go  
Ku lepas dengan penuh duka                         I now let go, with sadness and sorrow
Sekiranya aku tiada di dunia                          So, whenever I am no longer in this world
Jangan kesal                                                  Just don't regret

Puaslah rasa hati, cukuplah hingga ini             I am relieved,  cos I can no longer bear 
Derita yang ku rasa,  ku jadikan pedoman      The misery I go through, is a lesson in life
Pergilah sayang, pergilah kasih ku                   Please go my love,  leave me my love
Janganlah kau kenang kepada ku                    Think of me, no more
               
Pergi sayang jauhlah dari ku                            Please go my  love, stay away from me
Cinta mu bukan lagi untuk ku                           Your love is no longer mine
Sungguh sedih hendak ku lepaskan                 So sad to let you go  
Ku lepas dengan penuh duka                           I now let go, with sadness and sorrow
Sekiranya aku tiada di dunia, jangan kesal       So,whenever I am no longer in this world
Oh sayang,  jangan kesal                                 My love, please never ever regret


WE WERE ONCE EMI'S TREASURES
(from Malaysia and Singapore)

Potraits on album covers  - the late Refeah Buang, Sanisah Huri, the late Sharifah Aini,  and yours truly, (again, with the silly hat)! Those were the days! We are now separated by time.

(Rafeah Buang departed in 2002. Sharifah Aini in July 2014).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

FLASHBACKS - Nostalgia & Copyright Piracy

The video clip below -  is an excerpt of my journey in the entertainment world. The song featured, is a revival of an oldie by Doris Day, “Tea for two”, with Malay lyrics, written by me. Music arrangement, and instrumentation are the creative works of EMI’s talented Producer,  Reggie Verghese (of Quest fame). This song, together with other hits from my albums, were recently compiled and released by EMI/Warner Music in (2011).

A hobby that turned into a profession
Singing, and acting, had always been my passion.   As far as I can remember,  I was already on stage at the age of  5, performing at school concerts.  My parents once told me that I was already singing, before I could walk. So, for me,  singing  was a hobby that turned into a profession.  However,  I did not make money from singing.

Life was different during my childhood days, especially in our country - more laidback. Songs by legendary singers, P. Ramlee, Saloma, Abdullah Chik, S.M. Salim, were on air daily.  I remember that almost everyone I knew could sing, and mimic their favourite singers.  Those who were shy,  would either hum or whistle.

Nostalgic moments with Saloma
I admired Saloma, from my early school days.  She was the queen of songs then,  an elegant lady, with a husky voice.  I met her for the first time in the 70s.  I told her that I idolized her when I was young.  She then joked,  and asked, if that meant, I had stopped admiring her. I was thrilled to have her, as a guest in my TV show. We became good friends.  I will relate my nostalgic moments with her,  another day.

Royalties 
In the 70s  royalties paid to artists were extremely low.  I am not sure what my counterparts received then,  but  payments received by me were negligible,  not even sufficient to pay for wardrobes for album promotions, and TV appearances. Most artists made their money from stage shows,  which I did not partake, except on rare occasions, by invitations of RTM.

This video is a brief flashback on my journey in music and entertainment


Copyrights and piracy
Piracy was rampant then,  and there were no copyright laws protecting creative works.  I often wondered how  pirated versions of  my albums were already on sale a week before the originals were released. Perhaps this was a strategy by record companies, to beat piracy.  I suppose artists like me,  had to pay the price, or rather, were paid  no price for our hard labour, from these pirated copies.

Who then were the pirates?  I often wondered! This is just a fruit for thought. Until I continue with my journey the next time, enjoy your stay here.

(Our government was concerned about copyright piracy in our country. Article source (below) - The Sunday Mail, 10 December, 1972)

                              .




















(Left) A pirated copy of one of my albums (just posted on my facebook by a fan). It looks better than some of the covers designed by EMI.

(Right) I did not realize until today, copyright laws existed in Malaysia in the 70s. The article says that a shop owner was fined, for selling pirated copies of my first single - 'Panggillah daku'. (Updated on 22 April, 2014)


Sunday, April 6, 2014

ALBUMS COLLECTIONS - EMI





LYRICS COLLECTIONS  Visit this page

video

Recent compilations of hits released by Warner Music/EMI Malaysia.
MEMORI HITS CD (30 songs) released in 2009 



HITS COMPILATIONS CD (40) songs released in 2011

Saturday, April 5, 2014

BLOG AUTHOR - Recalling song "Bersama"

This blog was originally created in 2009 by sarenafanclub09, mainly to upload songs, and lyrics, from my albums. However,  it was not maintained for a long time.

5 April, 2014 - I am now authoring the blog, and will be sharing from  time to time,  some of my experiences, with those who still remember me. I will touch more on topics that relate to music, the arts, and complementary healthcare, which happen to be my forte.

The song "Bersama"
To start off,  the video clip below is a song which I recorded in the early 70s. I wrote the Malay lyrics, and named the song "Bersama".  It is actually an adaptation of a popular Hindi song "Yeh sama". I recorded the song during the time when Hindi music was most popular in our country. Incidentally, it was my late mother's favourite. She chose the song for me, and was sure that it would be a hit. True enough, the album that featured the song, became a hit-seller.
                                     


                                   
Fond and not so fond memories
I was happy when  RTM Producer, Helan Abu, suggested that I sang this song in my TV show. I was told that it was his favourite. He proved it, by featuring the song-clip, during the end credits of the weekly show - SARENA - In Saturday Night Entertainment (Hiburan Malam Minggu).

"Bersama" brings back both, the fond, and not so fond memories, of my trips to Singapore.

Believe it or not, I had a strange encounter with a ghost at a haunted colonial-style hotel, where I stayed in Singapore, during the trip when I recorded this particular song.

Fans of yesteryears, who are in touch with me on Facebook, remember me by this song, which I was told, remains their favourite.  Surprisingly, the song has caught on with music lovers of this generation. It is now the most viewed video on sarenafanclub09 Youtube channel.

Obviously, the ghost in the haunted hotel, must have liked the song! For me, somehow, the song is not really my favourite, but I like the Malay lyrics I wrote. I was inspired, when I wrote the lyrics! Below, my English version of the lyrics, and the Malay lyrics,  just in case you want to sing along with me, heheee !

BERSAMA

Bersama ku ingin hidup bersama 
Walau untuk sementara 
Dimana kian dikau berada 
Ku kan bersama 

Bersama menempuh segala dugaan 
Sabar dalam kesusahan 
Jangalah dikau berputus asa 
Bila berpisah 

Masa berulang berganti 
Kasih ku sejati 
Kenangan mesra kau beri 
Masih ku ingati 
Hanya satu harapan 
Yang ku pinta pada mu 
Pulang pada ku 

Bersama walau dalam perpisahan 
Berjumpa dalam impian 
Menunggu bila tiba masanya 
Kita bersama 

TOGETHER 
(My English interpretation of the lyrics)
               
Together, is how I long to live with you                                
Even for only a moment                
Wherever you may be
I will always be with you                        

Together, in times of trouble                                             
Peservering in all adversities         
My only hope, you do not lose hope,
Now that we are apart
            
As time goes by, my love for you grows deeper 
Memories you  left behind,  linger forever                       
(You) are my only desire, and everything I ever wanted
Please come back to me
                       
Together, even when we are apart                                   
We will meet in our dreams                                  
Waiting for the time                                          
When we will be together                                

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