EP review: BLUES KITA by Momain Blues

EP review Blues Kita by Sabahan band Momain Blues. Sonny Bahari, Ahmad Aziz, Nazri Ji, Naza Aja.

‘Momain’ is short for ‘mahu main’ as in ‘want to play.’
When you say it Sabahan style, it sounds like ‘mau main’.
So, “Want to play” “blues” = MOMAIN BLUES!

Sonny Bahari, of Momain Blues

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Blues Kita, by MOMAIN BLUES. Sabahan blues band, Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Is this a sophisticated, smoothly produced album? Nah! This is four local guys, all superb musicians and original songwriters, who get into the studio and play blues to their hearts’ content. You can just feel the fun they are having! In fact, they had so much fun, whooping and talking to each other on the album, that they did a six-minute track of “Johnny B. Goode” at the end, and forgot to put it in the track listing.

[Sonny B said later:  “It’s a hidden track: ‘Johnny B.Goode/That’s Alright’ track was a last-minute addition – the typical MB standard blues jam before the band/studio/pub/patrons says GOODNITE!… intentionally not credited or printed ..surprise factor”.]  Lovely eh?

According to the very elusive music aficionado RANBO MAN, Momain Blues is made up of the Jiaja brothers: Ji (Nazri) and Aja (Naza); plus partners in crime veteran guitarist Sonny B and his longtime songwriting partner and drummer Ahmad Ariz.

There are a couple of versions of “Blues Kita”, the lead track and their single; one’s a full-on stompin’ blues, the other’s a thoughtful, acoustic take.

Then my favourite, “Buat Apa Kau Di Sini?” It’s happy bluegrass, effortlessly twangin’ steel strings, and they own it with their Malay lyrics.

Sonny B gives his harmonica a good blow in “What’s A Man Gotta Do”, in classic blues format. “Kestau Sama Kita!” is a harder, rock blues that has a dark feel about it, like the Beatles’ “Come Together”. The Jiaja boys are so good at making that sound.

RANBO MAN said so eloquently (and yes, he talks in CAPS) that this music “REFLECTS THEIR SHARED LOVE FOR THIS UNDER-RATED MUSICAL GENRE. SO BEGINS THE SAGA OF FOUR FRIENDS PLAYING THEIR VERSION OF THE BLUES: HOMEGROWN, BORN AND BRED IN SABAH; LITTERED WITH LYRICS THAT REFLECT A SOCIAL MIRROR THAT IS ENTIRELY SABAHAN.

I can’t say it more beautifully than that. So I’ll exit stage left, and leave the audience to applause the real stars. Momain Blues.

In RM’s style, may I say: BUY THIS CD! IT’S OUR LOCAL HEROES PLAYING GOOD OLD BLUES AND GIVIN’ IT THEIR ALL.

(I hear the full album is planned for an April 2011 release. Watch this space!)

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