2011. The Year In Review

began with Bro Langau’s On9fm’s Mini Jam and 1st Birthday, where I was honored to sit on the same table with the Revolution on Motion team. We were just getting to know each other. I guess the big article of the month was Moses De Silva making a big point that RTM Sabah promotes local music much more than people realise. Elsewhere in January, I met Valentine Chong, and Oktoberfest MusicVibe post was republished.
In February
I wrote one of the most meaningful interviews of the year, Tian Long took time out of his busy schedule, and met me in Kenny Rodgers Roasters, Suria Sabah, between coming back from China and on the way to Keningau [right after the interview]. Tian really spilled what it was like trying to make a life in music. I was so surprised that he was so real about it, but he said: “I don’t mind telling you. In fact, I want to tell you”. I was very moved by that, and I hope I did him justice in the story. February was also when bands showed their stuff at Stageless @ Starbucks in Centrepoint, and the Johnny Rodgers workshop story was republished beautifully in Sabah Property Magazine.
I think Sabah Property Magazine is a great place to write about musicians. Weird huh? A property magazine? Well, here’s my reasoning:

  • The people building our new shopping malls and hotels will always have this magazine around the office. They will eventually need musicians to fill their entertainment areas, so it’s good that we put stories there
  • Many people who read that magazine will be mature men and women in management. They have children who are getting married, and they pay for the weddings. Musicians are often needed for weddings
  • The people above are sometimes not that internet friendly. It’s an alternative way to reach them

Okay, I’m done.

In March
Revolution on Motion made a video of my friend Sophie and me playing at Jesselton Hotel. We haven’t played in public since because she’s become a mum and is busy!. She hopes we do more music in 2012, and so do I. Elsewhere, Jiaja wowed out Bella’s Fifties Night party with their 50’s music, and I interviewed the JADE Sisters, who were like butterflies emerging from a cocoon into the music scene under the encouragement of Chris Pereira.
In April
I went on holiday, so there wasn’t much going on in SabahSongs, except that Datuk Uzair called me and said: “You must come and meet this young guitarist from Ranau – Dicken.” I did, and I’m sure we’re gonna be hearing more about him in the future!
was the first of several busy months. There were many big interviews: Man Keedal and Tom Anuar, Suhaimie Jamli, Jiaja, and our “Blues Kita” CLAS Most Popular Song winner Momain Blues! They sure are a bunch of characters! Roger Wang also had an excellent fundraising concert at the Sabah Trade Centre; one of his guest musicians was particularly amazing, Hezekiah Asim, of the Sabah Theological Seminary, specialises in ethnic instruments. It was the first time I saw these beautiful instruments – a Sape [stringed instrument] and a Fu Lu Seh [like a recorder with a gourd shape at the neck].
belonged to the Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival. Scheduling your event at the same time as this is a bit like choosing to play Bebop alto sax while Charlie Parker was alive. It was the most successful one yet, with a wonderful line-up including the visually stunning Agung Beat and Dayang Noraini, the totally unique and multi-talented Juzzie Smith, the feast for ears and eyes Asean Percussion Unit. Local bands Momain Blues, Elixir, SIA Little Jazz all did Sabah proud. The event was packed on both days. My working relationship with Nasier Lee was concreted after this.
was busy, busy, busy. Voice OUT announced their collaboration, made their single at Eyes and Ears, and debuted it at a 1Borneo fundraiser for a Youth Prep centre in Alamesra. Dayang Noraini launched her new single Joget Di Pagi Raya at UMS. Sonny B made me feel like the guest of honor at RTM Sabah’s Bintang Kecil Bintang Remaja; he got me a great seat, and explained to me everything going on whenever he could slip away from being a producer. One of the highlights of my year may have been experiencing my first MOSH PIT at Cowboy Bar in Asia City. I also met a woman there I thought was very cool, LadyShutterbugz Vivalova. My thanks to Shockwave Entertainment, I think they’ve only just started…
was all about Hari Raya, and we had celebration songs by KIdZ, JADE Sisters, Dayang Noraini, and Alvin MY, all posted up. Tian Long was a winner in the Hakka World Pop Music Awards, and I reposted seven posts about Mr. Loud, because posts from 2009 get lost forever if you don’t find another way to tell people they still exist.
Well, we might as well rename it Didi Moo. The whole month belongs to her, I don’t think I wrote much else other than about Didi [and email, sms, Facebook, WhatsApp and phone Chris Pereira – even his friends helped me to WAKE HIM UP on one particular day.]

For the record

the Didi Moo story took SabahSongs to a new level of readership. We broke the story in September, followed by RTM Sabah and newspapers. In October, SabahSongs had its heaviest month of internet traffic with 4,463 readers. To date, Didi Moo is still the most searched subject by search engine, and Didi-related stories have attracted 3257 readers. If we add Jade Sister stories, which also immediately received more traffic, the readers rise to 3983.

All this started because Chris called me and asked if I would document Didi’s journey in Korea. He believed in SabahSongs, and we made a pact: he would be loyal to me and not dilute my work, and I would do my best to write about Didi. It is the blog’s Story Of The Year. What can I do for him, except give him his own page.

No surprise then that October
was quiet for posts. Bella restaurant made a nice gig for some Papar musicians; an accordionist, gambus player and percussionist, during Chef Leo’s Arabian Nights, that’s fine dining with Middle Eastern sounds and tastes, complete with belly dancers. All on our doorstep! Why travel? Just go to Bella! Elsewhere, local bands got on stage as KL event managers brought Stompin’ Sabah to Tanjung Aru 1st Beach.
Heavy metal music event Destroy Shred Destroy at Chocolate Factory KK Times Square by Shockwave event managerwas a blur, maybe because my son turned sixteen and it made me teary. Anyway, those Chee Brothers did it again with another impressive event, this time DSD Sabah in KK Times Square. I’d gotten used to moshing now. Chef Leo pulled out all the stops for imagination and daring, and presented Theatre Dining at Bella when an Australian opera singer came to town. It was a sell-out in two days. KL’s Pot Amir and Al Mawlid came to Suara Mega to record, and the grown-up KIdZ’s record label Element Tree Music House launched a local Chinese singer WEN.
We’re not done with December
yet, but photographer Nasier Lee captures the lovely atmosphere with this picture of JADE Sisters singing carols for a special Christmas dinner at Bella. We’ve also got the upcoming New Year’s Eve bash happening there, featuring Jiaja and Momain Blues UNLEASHED.

[Update: Here is that last post about 2011. You say Goodbye [2011] and I say Hello [2012]: Momain Blues and Jiaja at Bella which was actually posted on Jan 2, 2012.]

It’s a class way to see out the year, and I’ll be posting it up big time. Am making my wishlist for 2012. See you next year.



  1. It’s a lovely post Joanna..=) I’m honored to be working with you this one whole year, it’s been a productive year for me and through this experience i shall come up with the next big thing next year…=)

  2. We slog and hope to achieve something out of life. When we started publishing the Sabah Property magazine 5 years ago, we never dreamt that music would one day be a part of it. But my love for music was always first and meeting up with Joanna was just pure fate.

    How does property and music tie up? It’s all down to the basics of vibration. Strings to be more exact! Buildings and architectural designs must all harmonize to it’s surroundings to not only make it pleasing to the eye, but also to make it safe – physically and structurally.

    If you have watched documentaries on Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse “Gallopin’ Gertie” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-zczJXSxnw – or The Earthquake-Proof Tower in Japan – Secret Revealed – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF204Pgf-eo – you will probably understand what I mean. Hey, a loud high pitched voice of a singer can shatter glass, so don’t you underestimate why it is important for people in property to know music. There you have it! 🙂

    Leslie P. F. Chin – Sabah Property magazine

  3. KK Jazz Fest, the event in which we met for the first time. Thats the best event I’ve experienced in 2011. Love this post Joanna, let see whats in store for 2012.

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