S'pore Malay Orchestra to mark 30th year with new songs, show

Mr Hady Mirza and the Singapore Malay Orchestra performing Ramadan Yang Mulia, Syawal Yang Indah at Wisma Geylang Serai yesterday. The song, the first of four new ones, was inspired by the Malay/Muslim community celebrating Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidi
Mr Hady Mirza and the Singapore Malay Orchestra performing Ramadan Yang Mulia, Syawal Yang Indah at Wisma Geylang Serai yesterday. The song, the first of four new ones, was inspired by the Malay/Muslim community celebrating Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri in the midst of the pandemic.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The Singapore Malay Orchestra has announced the release of four new songs and a year-end performance in celebration of its 30th anniversary.

The Malay songs will be released on milestone occasions and will each be on a different theme, the orchestra said.

The first song, Ramadan Yang Mulia, Syawal Yang Indah, released yesterday, was inspired by the Malay/Muslim community celebrating Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The orchestra's musical director Amri Amin said: "Even though this is a difficult time, there is light at the end, and we celebrate Hari Raya and Ramadan in a new way during the pandemic. The music starts off very soft to reflect the spirituality of Ramadan and becomes very cheerful towards the end to reflect the Hari Raya festivities."

It was performed live at Wisma Geylang Serai (WGS) by the orchestra and Mr Hady Mirza, who won the Singapore Idol singing contest in 2006.

The song is being played on local Malay radio stations, and a video with lyrics was uploaded to the WGS Facebook page.

The other three are a National Day-themed song that will be released in August, a pop song to be released during the year-end concert and a Geylang Serai-themed song to be released during the third anniversary celebrations of WGS in January next year.

Mr Amri said this was the first time the orchestra was recording music, and it is considering streaming the four songs on Spotify and other platforms.

The orchestra, which combines modern and traditional instrumentation, was formed in 1991, and aims to preserve and promote Malay music in Singapore.

It is housed at WGS and has more than 50 members, some of them Chinese and Filipinos.

The concert at the end of the year will be a ticketed one.

Titled Langkah Gergasi (Giant Steps), it will celebrate the orchestra's 30-year journey and recognise the music and success stories of some of its members. The concert will be performed live and also streamed online because of limitations in seating capacity and safe management measures.

Said Mr Rudy Djoharnaen, creative director of the concert: "The orchestra will be separated physically, but will be stitched together as if all of them are on stage. They may not be there physically but the soul of the music is there."

He added that the concert could have a global reach as well, since it will be streamed online.

More details about the concert will be revealed later.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2021, with the headline 'S'pore Malay Orchestra to mark 30th year with new songs, show'. Subscribe