Her voice is a thing of beauty.
I do not discriminate against any language when I listen to music. So, I have listened to many singers from many nationalities and of them all, I still find her singing to be the best. The only other singer that I’d put in the same class would be Jacky Cheung, and that’s saying something. But she is different from him. She has a sound that is very unique and different from other commercially successful singers. I am truly awed. If I was a man of God, I would think that He put her here with us so that she can sing to us and remind us of the beauty of Heaven.
But she has one flaw, that is she can only sing in Malay. In recent years, she has attempted to sing some English and Mandarin songs, to hopefully introduce her voice to a new audience. It’s usually a duet with some established foreign artiste. However, her struggle with the lyrics is obvious and she is unable to deliver the proper emotions to the song, even though her voice still delivers. This ultimately limits her main audience to the few SEA countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.
This is not to say that music cannot transcend geographical and language boundaries. But, retailers don’t really care about the quality of the artists as long as they help move merchandise off the shelves. So, if they wanted to sell her in any other country, the record label would have to throw in serious marketing dollars to push her albums or you would be hard pressed to find any of her albums on the shelf. Ultimately, I don’t think that anyone believes enough to do it.
Which leads me to a rather confounding problem. I tried to google for an online store that may carry her DVDs but I failed to find any. I was hoping that YesAsia or some of the other stores might carry her songs. I even tried looking for her songs, at some rather unsavoury sites, with many dodgy popup ads but I still failed to find any useful ones either. So, the only channel left for me to whet my appetite for her songs, is YouTube, which is also where I find most of the other Malay songs that I like to listen to.
Oh, and if anyone is wondering why I like listening to Malay songs, the reason is because I feel that the language is a very beautiful one, much like French. It isn’t my mother tongue, it isn’t even my second language. Malay is my third language but I speak it well enough to pass off as a native. So, I just love it when it’s put to song, more so than English or Chinese songs. Don’t ask me how or why, but there is just a very poetic and lyrical feel to the language. If it were to take on physical form, she would be it, totally and purely.
This video is from part of her concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005. She was invited to sing as part of the Royal Albert’s programme on Asian artists. If the Wikipedia entry is correct, this concert was also the first time that the London Symphony Orchestra accompanied an Asian singer on stage. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend at the time. Otherwise, I would most certainly have gone.
This video is an excerpt of a longer song, also from the same concert. That’s a very nice kebaya, by the way. Did I happen to say that she’s not too bad on the eyes either? Obviously, that has not affected my judgement on her singing in any way whatsoever. It doesn’t change the fact that she has a beautiful voice.
More of her, from the same concert.
And just to show you that she’s not all about lovey-dovey balads. Jom Joget! This song’s melody and rhythm is probably quite close to being traditional Malay music. You may have noticed that the scale is not so regular.