14,500 views on Facebook to-date, featured on Astro Gempak and covered by Free Malaysia Today's FMT Ohsem, friends and fans are asking me about how this rock n' raga happened.
It's a tale of musical experimentation and nothing more:
It was a regular work day. Several projects were on my mind.
But somewhere in the recesses of my mind, a little explosion of tunes and raga phrases in Purvikalyani Raga and Thodi Raga pre-occupied my thoughts. This is completely normal for me and I think most musicians, even if like me, we love our day-jobs. In fact, though silent, occasionally, when I am brave enough that no one was around listening, I'd up the volume. I always thought the genre I sing in would sound alien and at worst, unmusical to my colleagues. It was the same that day. Hence the deftly perfected volume adjustment maneuver was applied. My colleagues I had always thought, simply humoured my occasional bursts of musical expression with their encouraging quips of " kuat sikit plis" or "lagu mana tu?".
Anyway, back to the story.
Funnily enough, later in the day I was at the Rockanova set and Datuk Hattan peered over from a little away, when I was pouring over something on my notepad. I was at a quiet corner, so I was in deep focus on work but was aware by the corner of my eye that he had glanced over. Maybe a phrase or two unwittingly escaped my humming lips. Or not. I will never know.
Next thing I knew, I was summoned to stage where Biso Bonar's chorus was being played. The instrumentalists paused when I walked up the stage, and a few voices from the darkness of the unlit audience and control areas, asked me to prepare for a short experiment; an Indian vocalist is to...
JAM BISO BONAR WITH DATUK HATTAN!
Biso Bonar was a creation of Datuk's from 2013. It had some exotic flavour to it and what made it additionally unique was that the lyrics is in the Negeri Sembilan dialect! I knew the song and some phrases crossed my mind in Nattai Raga - or actually, Nattai plus some phrases and note embellishments borrowed from other ragas to suit the melody.
I think I may have mouthed the words "help" in silence (hahaha!) when a mic was passed to me. I all of gasped when the first sound of pads came on but I knew I had to switch from work mode to performance mode in a second. I always wondered if I'd be able to switch if that ever was needed of me. Here the moment was.
And the switch felt completely natural. Thank God it did!
It was an amazing experience in many ways - I had not practiced or pow-wowed sections with Datuk nor the band I had just been introduced to. I mean I knew of Datuk Hattan. I knew of Shah Slam. But them knowing me by name, among the many folks on set was amazing.
I think we all just took off with this song from the first sound, and let it flow from there. Shah and his band mates were awesome to say the least and Datuk Hattan was hands down a rockstar to be reckoned with! Though the lights were on us, through the darkness, I felt all eyes on us - from the make up artistes to PAs to senior production staff.
A moment to remember, savour and share indeed. Soon after, the video was uploaded online and the rest is history.
Looking to do more of this here on. Let's see what roads this leads me to and through. Sometimes, that which you least expect can give you new perspective on life and music.
Basically, experiments have a way of rocking our worlds. True?
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