Konsert Amal Kasih

The PR officers of this concert did a lousy job. No posters visible in the city and no radio or TV announcement heard about the event. Except for kakiseni.com – an internet portal for art lovers – which had a posting about the concert. I found out about it from Acciccatura after a brief phone call on Friday. Accia’s husband romanced the violin for the 3-day-concert at Planery Hall, KLCC with his Kasih Symphony Orchestra led by S. Atan.

Last Saturday night, by pure manipulation bordering on force, I managed to convince my husband to sit next to me at Plenary Hall to watch Konsert Amal Kasih featuring Jamal Abdillah and Saleem Iklim. For someone who does not care at all about the local musical scene, Jefree must have really loved me to go to the concert on his precious Saturday night. The concert was brought to the public to raise fund for Pengasih – a non-profit organisation caring for drug addicts in Malaysia.

I have been wanting to see Jamal sings live for a long time. I ignored the nagging doubts in my heart as I read the concert’s press release on the net telling me, in no uncertain terms, that Saleem Iklim would anchor the concert with Jamal. I must say, I don’t care much about the latter’s musical career but I went anyway just to watch Jamal.

My nagging doubts proved founded. Saleem was not, by any measure, prepared to perform at places like Plenary Hall or anywhere of the same statures. His performance lacked conviction, his singing mediocre and his over-size suit bugged my eyes. Saleem tortured my ears throughout the first half of the concert with his off-tuned songs, opss-I forgot-the-lyrics-again and gong* attitude.

I am no Simon Cowell or Ramli MS but I seriously think that Saleem single-handedly ruined the concert with his lackadaisical effort and it was so obvious that he wasn’t at his best to sing that night. When he sang Gary Moore’s classic – Still Got the Blues – I cringed in my seat and berating myself for wanting to go to the concert so badly.

Let’s move on to a positive sight of the night. So what if  Saleem can’t sing? So what if Jamal Abdillah was half an hour late to the concert? Who cares about his fake hair which looks so real on his scalp? And you, of all persons, know that Jamal abused substance and almost destroyed himself in the process. And you silently thought of his succession of wives whom he lost in pursuit of his drug addiction. But all of the above does not matter when Jamal opens his mouth to sing – for he sings like an angel.

Jamal Abdillah, for me at least, is born to do nothing else but sing. He sang his old hit-songs peppered with a dash of blues and zapin to prove that he is the quintessential male singer of our country. My heart melts when he sang “Kekasih Awal & Akhir” with the sweet sound of violin at the background. Ah, Jamal…

The concert also featured guest artists – Misha Omar, Ahmad Nawab and Blues Gang. Save and except for Jamal’s singing, the rest of the other performances of the night are forgettable. If it wasn’t for charity, I am quite tempted, to call the whole night a sheer waste of time.

And  what about the audience? We have miles to keep up before we can be called a refined society who can sit in a 2-hour concert without uttering stupid remarks and shouting unnecessarily. This was not a concert at your local fun fair, for god sake! To say that I miss the audience at Cats and My Fair Lady is an understament.  

See you at Beauty & the Beast.

*Gong in Trengganuspeak is state of snobbery with a tinge of stupidity. But, if you wish to have a perfect definition of the word, kindly go to Awang Goneng’s blog*


16 thoughts on “Konsert Amal Kasih

  1. I thought of going to listen to Saleem. And Jamal too. But I’ve had enough of budok-budok nngissak dadoh that I figured it won’t do anybody any good to give the money to these two. I believe they’re still at it, nngissak dadoh when they have the chance. And as for Saleem, I’m not sure if he knows that he’s got a good voice but fail to make full use of it to make a good living. And Jamal too. These two I like. But at the same time I hate, for their attitude. For not trying hard enough to make up. In the end, I listen to Celine Dione.

  2. hi elviza,

    thanks for dropping by. bumped into u a few times at klcc tapi takde guts to tegur. nyway, really nice blog

  3. I was just still a kid when I knew that “engkau bagai air yang jernih…” better then the national anthem. Still love the song but nowadays I wish I dont know who sang that song.

    Never really have the chance to worship jamal but I was told that that is how a man should sound. The problem is, you cant date a sound coming from a man high on drug.

    Still, I would go to the concert if its for a good cause. Misha’s sweet “pulangkan” and Blues Gang’s “Ibu” are good enough reasons.

  4. Elviza,
    Does the letter PR stands for Pakatan Rakyat? Nowadays abbreviations can stand for so many things and this one stands out the most.
    Can’t blame them for making all those noises when attending such a concert by Jamal and Saleem because many of them used to see these singers singing in open air places where the sound quality is compromised. The spectators acted in the same manner even when they were in a Planery Hall.
    The orchestra should have been used to back up more illustrious singers to do justice to their ability.
    I agree fully with Bergen that those two are not the best of examples for our youth.

  5. Salam Elviza:

    I remember Azlan,E’s hubby telling me and Shah about the concert.
    I abandoned Jamal when he became an inmate in Tampin the first time. I only started listening about 4 years ago when his album Aku Penghibur came out.

    As for Saleem. he is a wasted talent. I think its his lack of discipline and dadoh . His singing in albums are mediciore and you know he can do better.

    And Jamal is still the Voice.

    ps-I finished The Kite Runner and hoping to get a copy of A thousand splendid suns soon.
    At the moment just started A short history of tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.

  6. Hi Elviza,

    This my first time here.

    I’m a big fan of Jamal, always has been. Keluar masuk Pusat Serenti pun, I still like him ~ solely for his great voice. I’ve attended all his previous concerts (the last one was Mawi/Jamal/ M.Nasir), but this time, I opted out because:

    1) that fake hair
    2) Saleem, and
    3) I think he’s still at it ~ the dadoh, I mean.

    But like you said, when you listen to him singing, you tend to forget his indulgence and forgive his shortcomings. You will be so moved by his performance that you’ll actually feel sorry for him in the end! That’s the power of Jamal Abdillah. I believe he is special in that sense…

    I don’t know if I’ll ever watch him perform live again after this. I think his best songs were Seniman Menangis (very powerful) and that one English song which he likes to sing at the end of every concert ~ Help Me Make it Through the Night, if I’m not mistaken (very cool!). Did he sing any of these songs?

  7. “…by pure manipulation bordering on force” … he-he love this.

    Great review, sis. You know, browse in ANY music stores in Indonesia and you can find a Saleem or Iklim compilation. Apparently the folks here have a taste for the dude. I bought a guitar tong for my Indo rig crew recently and I was astounded that they could play Iklim’s songs. And I was further embarrassed that I couldn’t sing-a-long with them … of course Iklim is WAY over my time. Any decent Indo dude who can strum a guitar knows at least one Iklim tune and one Search song…

    But Jamal? No, these guys never heard of ‘im… Sad. There’s quite a ‘gulf’ in our musical tastes – Indo vs Malaysia. Me? I just love great music wherever they’re from…

  8. Sis Elvi…minta laluan ye.

    Pak MS: I agree there is a gulf btwn Malaysia and Indonesia in terms of musical taste.Maybe an ocean is more appropriate.

    I have always wonder why Indonesia is so advance in the artistic field compared to us. Musically and other forms of art. Their poetry,their novels,their dance,their carvings etc.

    Someone told me before: When a nation is suppressd or oppressed or depressed of many things they turn their frustrations and talents into artforms.

    I don’t know. But there might be some truth to it. For the last 15 years we see books by writers from China,Afghanistan,India,Morroccan and African writers which are very good.And Indonesia have many good writers and poets.

    Tanah Melayu before merdeka have many good writers and poets and musician too.

    But the last 20 years or so we are still at the same spot when others have moved on in the artistic circle.

    What say you? What say Elviza?

  9. Yes Jamal Abdullah should have been the greatest Muslim singer for decades…if not for his drugs habits.
    When he started to sign at Bakat TV…Warner Bros. manager …Frankie Tan…also a good singer himself…was so sad..signing up Jamal….but he gave so much trouble..with his moods and drug habits…at that tender age…not even 20 years old yet.
    Even now…like all…I enjoy his singing…very much.
    God gave him the height..the handsome face….the unique voice…and he made a mess of it all.
    I hope he will take care of his health.

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