The Daily Seni was blessed with the opportunity to have a chat with Francissca Peter at Seri Pacific back in May. Despite having been busy doing charity concerts, she announced that this September, unbeatable duo act of the 80’s Roy & Fran will be staging a comeback in Malacca.
As a veteran with over 37 years of experience in the Malaysian music industry, Francissca had her thoughts on the current scene.
“Everyone talks to me and says that the music industry is stagnant and dying,” she began. “But then again, what music industry are we talking about?”
To Fran, freedom to express creatively is very important, but only to a certain extent. To Francissca, there’s still the issue of segregation that needs to be tackled.
“It is difficult because our country is so small, and each race has its own music,” she stated.
“A lot of Chinese artistes break into Taiwan because it’s a Chinese market, and Indian artists only do Tamil songs. There’s nothing wrong with this. You can have the best of both worlds, but this is home and you are only catering for just one race,” she explained.
She stated that the regression is mainly due to the lack of proper education and claimed that vernacular schools cause the division.
“Those who listen to Malay music stay that way, while a majority of Chinese students only know Chinese music, and they don’t even know who our local musicians are.”
“I have Chinese and Indian friends who listen to Malay songs. They knew of many local musicians and one or two of the newer ones, but it would be nice if everyone were as aware.”
This multi-award singer-songwriter has always been a staunch believer in changing the education system in order to pursue racial unity.
“Integration,” she emphasised, “is to have that strong unity, where we can represent our country beautifully. We will then have not only one race doing one language of music.”
“In the present Malay music industry, how many of us [non-Malays] are there still doing songs in Bahasa Malaysia? I think there’s me, Jaclyn Victor, and Dato’ David Arumugam,” she said.
“Of course, with the legacy of Dato’ David Arumugam and I, we have a long career and we are still able to be doing music today. It’s nice that we still have the support.”
“But there are young people out there… where are they? I want to say to all the young people out there − be it Malay, Chinese, Indian − to start singing in our national language. Don’t close your doors, this is our home.”