Monday, May 28, 2012


By N. Rama Lohan

Astro pays homage to one of the greatest entertainers in Malaysia, the late Sudirman Haji Arshad, in a tribute concert.

It's taken two decades, but perhaps 2012 is a timely year to mark the 20th death anniversary of arguably one of the most dynamic performers Malaysia has ever seen - Sudirman Haji Arshad.

The diminutive frontman's legacy is currently celebrated in a grand fashion with Astro's month-long Aku Sudirman campaign, which kicked off on May 11 and will include a musical  extravaganza, Konsert Kenangan Sudirman, on June 3 at the Cheras Football Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

Music industry lumanaries and upstarts will take to the stage to present Sudirman classics from the singer's peak years in the 1980s and more. Among the heavyweights who will grace the stage are Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, AC Mizal, Jaclyn Victor, Ziana Zain, Rahim Maarof, Hujan and Azlan and The Typewriter.

Bedazzled : Hafiz rates his idol Sudirman as the consummate entertainer

The concert is scheduled to begin at 9pm, but the stadium gates will be opened earlier for pre-show activities.

A new crop of artistes is also expected to contribute to the tribute, including the likes of Hafiz, Hazama, Alyah, Adira and more. A bunch of them were rounded up recently to share their thoughts on what got them involved in celebrating the life of Sudirman, whose music has been inexplicably overlooked since his demise in 1992.

"I was doing some research on hip-hop and realised that Sudirman has quite a lot of hip-hop elements in his music. I've been researching his music for the past two to three years and have become a big fan," enthused hip-hop perveyor Altimet, who collaborated with fellow Teh Tarik Crew alum DJ Fuzz on the rap/hip-hop flavoured Punch Card on the tribute album Aku Sudirman - Suatu Interpretasi (which also features the likes of The Kebayas, XPDC Junior, Hujan, Awan Band and Taxi), releases in conjunction with the Aku Sudirman campaign.

Hafiz, Akademi Fantasia 7 winner, could barely stop waxing lyrical of his idol : "He's a real source of inspiration and always carried himself well. His brand of music caters to all generations of music lovers, from the young to the old. Everyone likes Sudirman's music because it's timeless. He recorded some really memorable stuff. When I was young, my dad used to play Antara Hujan dan Airmata at home and that's become one of my favourite songs of his."

Hafiz also pointed out that Sudirman wasn't merely a singer, but he was a consummate entertainer, too. "He did outrageous things like the Chow Kit concert (in KL) and wore the Malaysian flag," Hafiz enthused.

"He was ahead of his time. He was a real trendsetter. He did fashion and even had his own fizzy drink. He is a phenomenon," chipped in DJ Fuzz.

A large population of the younger generation have little knowledge of Sudirman's music because his tunes were barely aired since his demise, so getting the audience to tune in at the concert is surely going to be a challenge.

Akademi Fantasia 8 runner-up, Adira, thinks otherwise, though.

"The music has been re-arranged to give it a more contemporary feel, so I think the audience will be able to enjoy what we're doing to present," the petite singer said.

Hazama, Akademi Fantasia 9 winner, echoed the sentiments of his reality show contemporary : "We're going to mix and match things, like the clothing and the styling of the show. Sudirman reached out to a lot of people with the many different kinds of songs he did - sad songs, happy songs ... so many different things."

The assembled artistes are still unsure of what songs they will be performing at the concert (a tribute of sorts to the record-breaking Chow Kit concert), but Hafiz is certain that it will be a blast.

"We are all going to do our own thing, but the evergreen feel of Sudirman's songs will ensure the music gets across to the audience," he assured.

Although all the artistes have never seen Sudirman in the flesh, DJ Fuzz draws himself some degree of exclusivity by relating how he was lucky enough to have met the legend at a concert when he as a child.

"I watched a concert of his when I was about nine, I think. I remember getting an autograph from him," beamed the musician.

Even if 20 years have lapsed since Sudirman's passing, his timeless music will continue to endure well into the future.

The Star is the official English print partner of Aku Sudirman.


In conjunction with the concert, The Star will be giving away Aku Sudirman goodie bags to readers. Courtesy of Astro, these goodie bags will include exclusive Aku Sudirman merchandise and other freebies, as well as four access passes to The Star's private area at the concert.

All you need to do is bring this article to the redemption counter on June 1 (Friday), open from 11am at Menara Star, Phileo Damansara 2, 15, Jalan 16/11, Section 16, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Each person will be entitled to just ONE goodie bag, which will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

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