I confess. When it comes to Malay songs, my taste seems to freeze somewhere before 1990. I'd like to blame the domination of the sound waves by Eddie Hamid's wailing rock ballads (laments of limp-wristed losers whose girl left them for better prospects) that sounded the death knell to easy listening Malay music, but that would be too sweeping (and I don't know enough to elucidate on this matter).
Jamal Abdillah has been rightly named the King of Pop in Malaysia, generating tonnes of hits and starred in movies that made girls sighs and the explosion of baby girls to be named Azura. Gifted with a voice not just mellifluous and resonant; his passion and emotions imbued lifted the song to more than just melodies. His hits are mostly melancholic songs of heartbreak and loss, such as “Seniman Menangis” and “Sepi Seorang Perindu”. When performing a duet, he is excellent at not drowning out his co-performer with his powerful voice, a talent that is missing in many singers.
Jamal first came into my musical consciousness with Tidurlah Wahai Permaisuri, a most unlikely lullaby that I've always thought was sung by a languishing courtier to the object of his affection. There, you know it now. I have a taste for melodramatic romance. Shut up.
Last night TV1 had shown Jamal's latest consert dubbed "Kembara Seniman" that he performed at the Istana Budaya. It started with a musical of his journey as a singer and ends with an energetic performance of a wonderful of medley of his hits. I was impressed with the musical bit as he really bared his soul (so to speak), alluding to his struggle with addiction and inner demons. But he really blew us away with the concert segment, especially how he belted out all the numbers with a near effortlessness that has been missing for a long bit. His rendition of "Gadis Melayu" made you boogie along and "Seroja", as usual, brought tears to my eyes. (And people wonder why I want to kill Mawi for massacring these beautiful songs. Tsk.)
PS: Is late and am lazy so no clicky links. Google away.