Taking on the essence of traditional music and giving it their own unique yet faithful spin, the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) continues to celebrate its 10th anniversary through the theme Konsert Tanah Airku by collaborating with Orkestra Tradisional Malaysia (OTM) and the godfather of Malaysian rock and blues, Datuk Ramli Sarip. Ready your self on the 17 November – 18 November at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas for a musical resurrection like no other!
An inevitable collaboration of cultural combinations
Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s second collaboration with Orkestra Tradisional Melayu is just another wonderful addition to their long repertoire of amazing collaborations that have sealed their prestige as an international tour de force of under-25’s. Their long list of prestigious collaborations include working together with Yayasan Warisan Johor, Hong Kong Children’s Symphony Orchestra and Queensland Youth Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra’s already wide ranger is made more comprehensive as their stretch their skillful flexibility to the fullest. “It only seemed inevitable for us to collaborate with our neighbours from just across the street”, said Ahmad Muriz Che Rose, head of the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
Orkestra Tradisional Malaysia being the more veteran has a timeless goal of which that responsibility is carried relentlessly. It’s establishment is an ongoing initiative by Ministry of Tourism & Culture Malaysia through Istana Budaya in bringing together traditional musicians across the nation with the ultimate objective of catapulting Malaysian music to achieve a professional standing in the eyes of the world. OTM prides itself as being at the forefront of a Malaysian music revolution in the 21st century, boasting a core repertoire of diverse ethnicities and cultural origin; showcasing the truth that the word “traditional” in the context of our heritage is not the sole ownership of anyone, but is owned collectively by all of us.
Spiritual and assertive
This collaboration has a special meaning to MPYO orchestra, as the young members of the ensemble immerse themselves in a different kind of classical – one that stems from the trees of our local culture. OTM’s Mohd Yazid Zakaria remarks, “In every collaboration, we always strive to create something traditional – even when it’s injected with pop or jazz – it always come back to the rhythm of traditional music. So I hope that with this collaboration the young people of MPYO will be able to immerse themselves in that rhythm. When it comes to traditional music like Dondang Sayang, we always ask ourselves “How do we play that [in an orchestra]. That’s too simple”, but then as these kids are taught to play what is given to them, they slowly learn to appreciate the simplicity and unique nature of the sound too”.
In these concerts, MPYO and OTM will present traditional and folk songs such as Sri Mersing, Laksamana Raja Di Laut, Joget Irish For Sitar, Dialog Cak Lempong, Pantun Budi and Serampang Laut. In addition to the classic litany, Konsert Tanah Airku will also premiere two new compositions, according to Ahmad Muriz Che Rose. “We look for each of our own strength, and from those strengths, we gather, and we see what can we give that people would appreciate”, he stated. These special showcases will feature legendary rock singer, Datuk Ramli Sarip – former lead singer of Sweet Charity with an extensive solo career – who will lend his iconic vocal bravado that is simultaneously spiritual and assertive, through songs such as Kamelia, Teratai, Kau Yang Satu and Syair Laila Majnun.
The wisdom of nasi lemak and Pink Floyd
“What past legends like Tan Sri SM Salim and Sharifah Aini left behind is beautiful, but hard to duplicate and emulate. At best you have newer generations singing their songs, but no one is releasing anything new [in the context of traditional music]. We have to raise awareness about this, so that the genre will come to life. This requires creativity from all of us and the support of our youth. There is nothing wrong with evolving with the times and being modern, but there is nothing embarrassing about our traditional music either”, Datuk Ramli stated as he talks about the underlying spirit of the collaboration.
He adds that presentation is another important element. “If you buy nasi lemak down the street you can get it for RM1. But if you go to a fancy hotel, with its flowery presentation, they can charge you RM30. It’s all about the presentation. It’s the same with songs. If a song is naked, it’s way different in value than if you make it more progressive and artistic. Like if Pink Floyd takes it up, then it’d be something else *laughs*“, he quipped. Orchestras aside, this would be Datuk Ramli Sarip’s third performance on the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) stage; he was the guest artist for Khadijah Ibrahim’s concert in 2008 and held his solo concert in 2010.
Don’t let the ‘traditional’ label deceive you into thinking that this would turn out to be a piece lost in time. Konsert Tanah Airku promises a new edge to what’s familiar, and grants an experience that is elevated by both MPYO’s desire to push the boundaries of novelty and for OTM to give life to history. Ahmad Che Muriz Rose gracefully deflects this stale mentality towards traditional sounds with a biting remark, “We’ve always believed in the motto, ‘If people have done it before, what’s the point of doing it again’?”
If you want to buy tickets for the show, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call DFP at 03-23317007. Concert will be on the 17th and 18th of November at 8.30pm. Hurry up before they run out of tickets! Find out more about the show at www.dfp.com.my