Monday, June 9, 2014

What makes Black American music so great pt1.

My late grandpa used to show off his turntable by playing loudly to the tune of American, British and local musics. The sound can be heard to 4 or 5 houses away left and right. Those were the days before videos kill the radio. We were fed to the music of Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder to Anita Sarawak. The days before heavy metals were unheard off, before techno. Lyrics were simple, easy to understand and chorus always in the middle. I was a little boy then but I was sure of one thing, my love for black American songs. The Supreme were goddess of music, Michael was beyond entertainer, Quincy Jones gave us the beat and Stevie....the blind artist, his music was so enlightenning. Let me tell you about Stevie.... Stevie Wonder was born in May 13, 1950, as Stevland Hardaway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan . He has been blind since shortly after birth. A child prodigy, he has become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century. Wonder began playing instruments at an early age, including piano, harmonica, drums and bass. Wonder signed with Motown's Tamla label at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. Among Wonder's works are singles such as "Superstition", "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You". and albums such as Talking Book, Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist, and has sold over 100 million albums and singles, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists. Today, Wonder is an inspirational to all, young and old, a handicapped that does more than he can give.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Lagenda Dato Dol Said

That was the theatre title I went tonight despite of bad health (fever). The story is a part of Malaysian history and telling of how a small district called Naning (now Alor Gajah) adjacent to Malacca and Negeri Sembilan (Rembau) refused to surrender into British Imperialism (1773-1849). The first battle in 1831 was won by Dato Dol Said, unfortunately in 1832 Naning was lost to the British. The first lost of the British was a total embarrassment as a super colonialist British fails to dominate a small but unified Malay district. The whole production was too ‘quiet’ in my observation, the characters were using monologue all the way to the end which i find too hard to digest for a war epic like this. Although Ungku Haris performance was an eye opener, him playing all of the characters including Dol Said’s wife is something out of ordinary, only Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor can survives successfully every characters in a movie still with the help of Janet Jackson. Most of the time the stage is too empty except when the British Soldiers and the Nanings were fighting. I guess, the mood was assisted by good music score. Theatrical effect wasn't a big budget ‘Puteri Gunung Ledang’ but an attempt to fly ala kung fu movie was there. Lighting can be improved as it was passive lighting during the whole show, lack of colors to heightened the mood. The smog machine shouldnt be used too liberal especially in unnecesary scenes. I find some of the script repetitious and failing to carry any emotional weight. The story telling was so flat that suspence and cliffhanger was non existence. Overall, the show was a good one and thank you for giving me a refreshing history lesson tonight.