Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Comment About Music

Just got back from an evening with some old friends at The Crib. Reminiscing can be fun. We talked about school days and the times we had in the school choir.

That was a great time then. Music was a big thing back then. We organised concerts and played in bands. Me with my ho-hum abilities managed to get in two bands simultaneously. I played drums. And occasionally second guitar. And sometimes bass. I sang back up vocals too. I can sing decently enough but I never had the balls to actually front a band. That takes a hell of a lot of confidence.

I miss those days. I miss them even more now when I was browsing through Jacob Sagan's daughter's website. Shal's got something here. Check the "Message in the Bottle" video clip. I love how Kuching makes an appearance in it. The video is pretty decently made too.

She's Kenyah. That makes her very unique.

I might actually be intrigued enough to get her CD.

My brother's band have cut their album and it should be out soon. It's quite interesting. It's in Iban with a contemporary feel. Some of the songs are in English. That's unique too. No one else have ever had the same song in Iban and in English. They have three, I think.

I hope they do well. I know the guys (and girl) in the band and I hope they do well. They are nice people.

I got some things to say about the local (by that, I mean in Sarawak) music scene. The underground appears to be doing alright, with many indie artists coming out with some really good stuff. The Iban music scene, I'm really not into. In my opinion, a lot of Ibans still can't stomach listening to their own language in a different genre like R n B, pop and alternative. A few people have tried but not much joy there.

I don't really get why. Maybe they can relate to that more than I can. Having said that, there are some that I sometimes listen to, like Jerry Kamit. He's a sape player and he's good. Unfortunately, I missed his appearances at the just concluded Rainforest World Music Festival.

Anyway, about Iban music.

We're still stuck in time, all the stuff is the same old dangdut, joget stuff. Good for parties, but not much else. There's just too much of the same stuff recycled over and over again. I especially hate it when people take a song, sing it in a local language and rerelease it. It's just embarassing.

So far with my brothers band, I know a lot of college students dig them, I think mainly because they're more familiar with the newer genres.

One day, I hope to see an Iban lass pick up a guitar and write music that speaks to a more modern part of Iban society, the younger urban one whose struggles are different from their rural parents. I think our music should reflect more on our continuing evolution.

Some purists hate newer Iban music because it's too "western" and they accuse those people who try something new of having forgotten their roots. That's utter bullshit and smacks of closed mindedness.

When the ETB album comes out officially, I'll be plugging it here. ETB is my brother's band by the way.

And if one day, an Iban girl comes out with an alternative genre album with music about urban life, I'll plug her too.

Meanwhile back at home, I've gotten a little better at playing lately. I haven't played all that much but at least now I'm trying to play more by ear rather than reading and memorizing tabs. I gotta make it a point to play more. If only I had the discipline to do it.

And talking about music, I'm going to resume with the updating of my music collection. A lot of CDs have to be ripped and a lot of the tracks in my collection have no ID3 tags.

Excuse me, now I must go and test some of Shal Sagan's sample tracks.

Current Music - Sidewalks, Story of the Year, Page Avenue

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