One does “theatrical fantasy folk”, the other’s done work for American television: These Petaling Jaya brothers rock!
HAILING from Petaling Jaya, the Zawawi household has provided top examples of the local music industry.
Led by accomplished father Dr. Wan Zawawi Ibrahim, the family’s passion for music manifested bright in the careers of Hameer and Rendra Zawawi, who have pursued it in separate full-time careers. But both have also wandered far from their father’s traditionally-inclined, indigenous music which you can check out here.
You can still pick out Wan Zawawi’s influence in the younger of the two: independent singer-songwriter Hameer.
Hameer put out his debut eight-track release earlier in the year titled National Fantasy. Recorded over a span of eight months at Pulse Soundworks, the album is unique in that it was recorded live in a single take — a decision which pays tribute to his experience as an open-micer.
Throughout the record, his bold and exuberant voice brings you through animated narratives delivered in his trademark “theatrical fantasy-folk”. Hameer’s voice in fact is quite the instrument, possessing a power and versatility which earned him top praise from Malaysian media, including a positively glowing write-up from The Star back in February.
Hameer derives from some unconnventional sources too — he lists video games and the Quran as some of his inspiration. To date, he has performed at a number of popular venues around town including Merdekarya, No Black Tie and Gaslight Cafe and you can still catch him at these places today.
National Fantasy can be found on iTunes as well as in selected venues around town; we’ve also seen it on sale at Galeri Rabak.
Rendra on the other hand went down the composing and producing route. But despite his behind-the-scenes work, he is anywhere but in the backseat.
This former singer-songwriter debuted with “Faceless” in 2012 which went on to be nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Music Video at the 2013 VIMA Awards. Consider that it was only his first release.
The magna cum laude graduate from Berklee College of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production decided to venture into composing for video games, commercials and films upon graduating. His portfolio however includes overplayed Ola Bola anthem ”Arena Cahaya” which he co-wrote and co-produced with Zee Avi last year.
But also impressive is his track record outside of Malaysia: Rendra is Assistant to Emmy-nominated composer Mac Quayle for some of your favourite American television shows including Golden Globe Award-winner Mr. Robot, FOX’s Scream Queens, FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel and American Crime Story.
Rendra is currently based in Los Angeles, but we trust he’ll never forget his Petaling Jaya roots based on his chat with The Malaysian Digest.