M. Nasir's rising sons

Pitahati are made up of the sons of M. Nasir - Yasin (left), Hidayat (second from right) and Ilham (right) - as well as Awang Masrin (second from left) and Zahar Hamdan (centre).
Pitahati are made up of the sons of M. Nasir - Yasin, Hidayat (second from right) and Ilham (right) - as well as Awang Masrin (second from left) and Zahar Hamdan (centre).PHOTO: ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY
Pitahati are made up of the sons of M. Nasir - Yasin (above), Hidayat and Ilham - as well as Awang Masrin and Zahar Hamdan.
Pitahati are made up of the sons of M. Nasir (above) - Yasin, Hidayat and Ilham - as well as Awang Masrin and Zahar Hamdan.PHOTO: M. SALIHIN SULAIMAN

MERANTAU SANG NUSA (THE NUSANTARA VOYAGE)

Family connection: Three of the band members of Nusantara rock band Pitahati are sons of Malay music icon M. Nasir.

Hidayat Mohamad Nasir does not want his psychedelic and avant-garde rock band Pitahati to always be known as the band with M. Nasir's sons.

"We want to create our own identity. Of course, we can't reject the fact he is our father," says Hidayat, 24, of his father, who is an icon of Nusantara music, or music of the Malay archipelago.

Of course, we can't reject the fact he is our father. It's up to people to judge us based on our own merits.''

HIDAYAT MOHAMAD NASIR, one of music legend M. Nasir's sons who is in the band Pitahati

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"It's up to people to judge us based on our own merits."

Hidayat plays the guitar while his brother Yasin, 27, plays the drums. Eldest brother Ilham, 29, plays guitar and is the lead vocalist of the band. The other band members are Awang Masrin, 29, and Zahar Hamdan, 33.

The three brothers, along with two other siblings, are M. Nasir's children with his wife, singer Junainah Johari, who died in 1998. In 2000, he married actress and art lecturer Marlia Musa with whom he has one daughter, aged 15.

The Singapore-born music legend, now aged 58, moved to Kuala Lumpur in 1984 with his family.

Pitahati, based in Kuala Lumpur, were formed in 2011 and have released one album, with a new one on the way titled Selamat Datang Ke Panggung Sore (Welcome To The Afternoon Stage).

 
 
 
 

Their 60-minute concert at the Esplanade, Merantau Sang Nusa (The Nusantara Voyage) on Aug 15, will feature a mix of their old and new songs. This is their second concert here after performing at Aliwal Arts Centre last year.

When asked whether their father supports them, Hidayat answers "yes and no".

The band are under the label Luncai Emas, which was founded by M. Nasir in 1990.

"He tells us that being a musician is tough. But we don't really care what he says. We just want to play music," says Hidayat.

But he reveals that their father does come uninvited to some of their shows. "He would criticise us after that. I guess it is the fatherly thing to do."

But while Pitahati strive to create a name of their own, Hidayat says they do love Nusantara music as well, just like their father did.

Hidayat adds: "We have an appreciation for Nusantara sounds and infuse them into our music.

"People look up to Western music, but we have a responsibility to include our own culture into our music as well."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2015, with the headline 'M. Nasir's rising sons'. Print Edition | Subscribe