Malaysian songs with Indonesian essence

Darul Aqsha
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

arniezaARNIEZA’s latest album falls into that rare category, “unique”. Packed in an artistic design with a black and gold theme, the selftitled album with her name in symmetric Arabic stylefont guards an Aladdin’s cave of unexpected treasures.

The mini-album contains three new songs: Dunia Cintaku (The Realm of My Love), Mistiknya Cinta (Love Mystical) and Pesona Jiwa (Spiritual Enchantment). Two alternative versions of Dunia Cintaku (a radio edit and an instrumental version) are also included.

In general, the lyrics are reminiscent of the couplets in Jalaluddin Rumi’s love poems. It’s not about physical love of a pair of lovers. It’s about yearning for the glory and purity of God’s love and world peace; in a way, similar to lyrics by Debu, an Indonesian musical group with American members who sing about the essence of Islam and universal love.

Arnieza Amir

Arnieza Amir

Notice these from Dunia Cintaku: “Yang merindu Cinta-Mu Yang kuagungkan NamaMu” (The one who hungers for Your love The one who glorifies Your Name); from Mistiknya Cinta: “Kuharap bersua cintaNya” (I hope to meet His love); and from Pesona Jiwa: “Damaikan jiwa dengan cintaNya, Pasti merasa keindahannya, Kasih pencipta” (Find peace in your soul with His love, You will undoubtedly feel His beauty, the Creator’s love).

The songs are not mainstream Malaysian music. Dunia Cintaku opens and closes with the resonance of a gong. In between, are rythmic percussions and snatches of bass guitar, but not typical Malay rhythm, which slowly undulates and can sway the listener to sleep. There are also elements of Balinese gamelan and Arabic music. Similarly, the blowing of the flute a la Sundanese is also inserted as an introduction to Mistiknya Cinta.

guruh gypElements of Indonesian traditional music, such as Balinese and Sundanese, invokes memories of Guruh Gypsy, an Indonesian avantgarde progressive-fusion music group, popular in the mid-70s, led by Guruh Soekarnoputra, the youngest son of former Indonesian president Sukarno and brother of former Indonesian president Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Guruh Gypsy successfully mixed elements of classical music by Chopin and Beethoven with rock (Yes, Genesis, ELO) and Balinese, Javanese and Sundanese traditional music using the gamelan.

Harry Roesli

Harry Roesli

Arnieza’s latest album also calls up memories of the experimental music by the band Gang of Harry Roesli, whose songs were dominated by Sundanese music, as heard on their 1976 album Titik Api.

harry roesly titik api

Like the musical arrangement, Arnieza’s vocal posture includes nuances of rock. Unlike Siti Nurhaliza or Sheila Majid, whose Malayness can be heard in the execution of their songs, Arnieza’s vocals and pronunciation is more Indonesian.

These unique songs, however, transcend language, cultural and spiritual barriers and can be enjoyed by all. As Rumi wrote in Remembered Music: “Oh, music is the meat of all who love. Music uplifts the soul to realms above. The ashes glow, the latent fires increase: We listen and are fed with joy and peace.”

jalaluddin rumi

The Brunei Times
9 May 2009

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One thought on “Malaysian songs with Indonesian essence

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