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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Terima Kasih Cinta Musical

Terima Kasih Cinta

Thursday, July 22, 2010

From Professor Azly Rahman

excerpt from an essay written after a santana concert, circa 2005
From Professor Azly Rahman

Santana is a transcultural philosopher who brings the message of peace, tolerance, and social justice to his audience and followers. He would begin with his concert with such messages as: (If we believe in) “an eye for an eye the whole world will go blind”. In ‘Maria Maria’ - about the survival of the Chicano in Spanish Harlem - he lamented that the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and that there are shootings and lootings and fighting in the streets.

His music encapsulated not the parochial identity of a Mexican but of the hybridity of what he is now proud of – a Chicano or a Mexican-American. This is a very interesting notion of what it means to be an American for Santana.

If the sound of jazz is about being authentically American, the sound of Santana is about being authentically Chicano – a sense of creative and profoundly intellectual nationhood and meaningful democracy many a hyphenated American holds dear. Whither Malaysian music? We Malaysians are yet to evolve musically-intellectually-nationalistically in the sense that jazz and Chicano rock have demonstrated.

The closest we have come to is, again, in the artifacts produced by award-winning jazz producers who are able to bring the diverse races together to produce music that touches the human spirit and moves the soul into metaphysical heights - as perhaps what Sir Isaac Newton said about the metaphysicality of the music of the spheres.

In Malaysia, we need more musicians who can get together cross-culturally and play music that will create a sense of true multi-cultural nationhood. I am reminded by the brilliantly produced Malaysian album of the early 1990s, Zainal Abidin’s Hijau. It embodied the transculturalism of not only the music but also the musicians and the musical instruments. It makes a great educational piece for teachers to teach the meaning of multi-culturalism and radical critique on the social ills that have plagued and continue to plague Malaysia.

This brand of transculturalism reminds me of my childhood days of watching countless games of the Merdeka Cup of the 1970s in which names of the soccer heroes will forever be in my mind – the great striker Shaharuddin Abdullah, the great goalkeeper V. Arumugam, and the great defender Soh Chin Aun, and the great captain Santokh Singh. That was a truly nationalist team as how great leaders like Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn would have us feel and believe. That was a great moment in nationalism!

1000 VERSES feat Joe Flizzow

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