KUALA LUMPUR – It was down memory lane for diehard fans of iconic Malay rock group Kembara when it reunited after almost a 30-year hiatus, for a special concert at Istana Budaya’s Panggung Sari here last Saturday.
The former band of sifu Datuk M Nasir, took its audience on a two and a half hour non-stop musical journey of the group since its early beginnings. The concert from Friday, ended Sunday.
The ‘Konsert Hati Emas’ is organised by M Nasir’s company, Luncai Emas and supported by Celcom Axiata Bhd, with one of Kembara’s evergreen hits, Hati Emas, used as the title of the concert given its significance to the band’s journey till today.
The reunion concert featured singer, songwriter composer, producer M. Nasir, S. Sahlan (singer) and A. Ali (singer, guitarist), together with new members Cheman Suri (bassist), Zoul a.k.a. Zulkipli Mohd (lead guitarist), Md Shah Othman (keyboardist) and Mohamed Shahrum Basiron (drummer).
The state-of-the-art theatre, came alive with special lighting and visuals to create an exciting mood during the concert, with prominent Kembara member and lead vocalist M Nasir, dominating the show, with his powerful vocals.
REFRESHING FANS’ MEMORIES
Kicking off with Ekspres Rakyat, one of its popular tunes, M Nasir led the group to refresh its fans’ memories of Kembara’s sentimental trip via the KTM locomotive from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.
Kembara which had its origins in the lion city, recorded seven albums, with Kembara Seniman Jalanan being the last release in 1986.
The group was the brainchild of three young friends who wanted to explore alternative genres to what was in the Malay music scene then. With the original line-up of M. Nasir, A. Ali and S. Sahlan, Kembara created a refreshing mix of poetic songs that resonated with lagu rakyat (daily life).
Kembara enjoyed success with their iconic brand of folk rock songs well into the ’80s, gaining a huge following among young people in Singapore and Malaysia.
After the departure of A. Ali and S. Sahlan, Kembara continued with a renewed line-up of M. Nasir, his brother Zoul, Shahrum Basiron, Rahman Suri and Md. Shah Othman.
STORY BEHIND THE SONGS
Of the 27 songs presented Saturday night, 19 were performed by M Nasir while A Ali and S Sahlan gave a rendition of three songs each while Zoul delivered two songs.
Throughout the show, the legendary M Nasir, who is also a poet and artist, communicated with the audience, relating the story behind some of the songs rendered.
Besides Ekspres Rakyat, another song which focuses on the group’s experience as public transport commuters, is Bus No. 13.
In 1982, M Nasir immortalised Bus No. 13 in a song, which he noted the changes that Geylang Serai in Singapore have gone through. Another song is Perhentian Puduraya, composed and written by the sifu himself.
Other songs performed are Nelayan, Perjuangan, Kolar Biru, Nusantara, Rupa Tanpa Wajah, Sekuntum Bunga Plastik, Malam, Kiambang, Keroncong Untuk Ana, KepadaMu Kekasih, Empat Penjuru, Kupu-Kupu, Kutu, Duit, Ada Sepasang Mata, Hati Emas and Gerhana.
ENCORE FROM THE CROWD
M Nasir brought the house down when he ‘ended’ the show with Hati Emas , introducing each and every member on stage to the audience, but his die-hard fans shouted “encore”, requesting that the band perform its rock song Gerhana.
Apparently a gimmick among entertainers, M Nasir and his Kembara obliged their fans by performing Gerhana, prompting a large section of the audience to sing along with the band.
Kembara has also released its new album before the concert, which includes new arrangements and renditions of classic hits such as Hati Emas, Gerhana, Keroncong Untuk Ana and Perhentian Puduraya.
The concert was a result of the success and positive feedback on Kembara’s Konsert Ekspres Rakyat show at Singapore’s Esplanade early last year, said M Nasir at a recent press conference. – Bernama