I was kindly invited by Lee Haji Wahid (Rafiqa Roslee) to the press conference/ media launch for Dayang Noraini’s new single “Joget Di Pagi Raya”, which was held at UMS.
The launch was held in a room filled with many gongs of different sizes and beautifully carved wooden xylophones, all part of Agung Beat’s collection of Gamelan instruments.
Dayang and Roslee [and their production team and fellow musicians] have made a great product for the Hari Raya season! It’s a joget [which is a traditional Malay dance] and their song has been done in both a traditional style AND a modern hip-hop style. It will please everyone in the family! I can imagine the older generation clapping to the first track, and the little kids bouncing around and rapping to the modern version, and everyone singing on both karaoke versions too.
On the second track, Dayang duets with Ebi Kornelis, a young Sabahan who came second in AF5, and the rapper is Bruneian musician NotyBoy. It’s a really good track, with plenty of energy!
Later, Roslee said, “We worked with Ebi because he’s a tenor and can fit in the right key quite easily. He has a real nice voice and is talented, easy to work with and committed.”
Someone in the press asked why Dayang didn’t work with a Sabahan rapper. Roslee explained that they perform quite a bit in Brunei, because it pays well. Over time they have made good relationships with people in the music industry over there, and this idea came naturally from that. He added that they love to make new collaborations with local musicians, and are always open to new ideas, with people from anywhere.
The song is an original composition by this very hardworking musical couple. They gave a personal insight into their very full lives, while speaking at the press conference.
Roslee said how lucky he has been, for the two years he has been in Sabah, to work with a team of people who are talented, hard-working and multi-tasking. He had composed a song which he believed was nice and appropriate enough for a Raya song, and something which would be good for the industry.
Dayang said this is the first time she is performing an “asli joget” [original joget dance] and she worked very hard to get it right. She likes live recordings, and 60% of the instrumental work is recorded live, including Aaron’s flute and Ayin’s percussion. Roslee pointed out that one instrument – the accordion – was programmed by Andrew Poninting. “There are many very good accordion players in Sabah,” Roslee explained. “But because the timing in recordings has to be very exact, and we did not have a lot of time, we decided to programme this particular voice.” They produced the CD in about three weeks! All this inbetween rehearsals with Agung Beat for the KK Jazz Festival, then Rainforest Music Festival in Sarawak, and Tip of Borneo Music Festival in Kudat…
Good thing they had really professional musicians on the recording: Aaron, Shahri, the brothers Andrew and Fendy and that totally mad and fabulous percussionist Ayin! Dayang and Roslee both said, “Ayin just knows what you need, you don’t have to tell him anything!”
“I usually do my rehearsal between midnight or 1am to 3am,” said Dayang. “By 6.30am I wake up and take care of the three little monkeys [smiles]. Sometimes, when Agung Beat are rehearsing in the evening, I might go and record them on my hand phone, and then go home to take care of the family. Roslee will come and wake me up again at about 1am, when the house is quiet, and I will listen to the recording and start practising myself then.”
Such is the dedication of people who want to make a beautiful life in Music.
[Afterwards, Roslee helped me with some details about the other important people involved in the production of the album.]
Mr Resot Iggau, who he described as “The Boss”! He is the Music programme leader for SENI, UMS. “He is the coolest and the most supportive boss in the world. He himself is also a very good composer and arranger,” Roslee said.
Azmel Abdul Satar is a music lecturer in SENI, UMS, and also a sound engineer. He gained his experience working for a few years with Malaysian stars like Hattan, Roslan Aziz and Sheila Majid.
Roslee also wanted to mention a senior man in the Malaysian music industry, Mr. Fauzi Marzuki. “He is the composer for Jamal Abdillah and many, many more, and a seasoned and very well known composer in KL. We were both excited and nervous when we managed to get him to do the Mastering [final stage] for this single. When he emailed the .wav files back to us we were ALL very pleased with the quality he brought into the production.”
To wrap up the cd launch, we were in for a performance treat. Dayang sang to the Minus One karaoke version for the traditional song. Then [since Ebi wasn’t at the press conference] Andrew P sang the modern duet version with Dayang. It was really great! I loved it! There’s loads of rock guitar solos, I imagined Fendy Peninting having a bit of fun and going wild in the studio. Andrew looked like he was really enjoying himself, and he has a beautiful voice! Andrew, maybe you should give up teaching and just be a rock star? 😀
Actually I had fun that morning. I met sound engineer Ricky Lee of Sound Tech, whom I hadn’t seen in ages, and had a good chat with Andrew P, whom I also don’t see very often.
The photos here are from Dayang Noraini’s Facebook album “Joget Di Pagi Raya single launch with media/press”. There is a list of all the contributing photographers to that album, on that page.