Nasyid group Rabbani may have lost its key member but it has persevered and prospered, writes Nur Aqidah Azizi
SEVERAL years have gone by since the passing of Rabbani key member Ustaz Asri Ibrahim. But it didn't dampen the spirits of the popular nasyid group which continued its musical journey with the rest of its members — Mohd Asri Baidul Ubaidullah, Azadan Abdul Aziz, Ahmad Shafie, Muhammad Loqman Abdul Aziz, Muhammad Rithauddeen Yaakob, Zulkiflee Azman, Nazrul Azhar Tamrin and Mohamad Afandi Shahbudin.
Ustaz Asri died in 2009 after a heart attack.
“It still feels like yesterday although it has been three years since he (Asri) left us. He is still very close to our hearts,” says Mohd Asri. “His determination and words of wisdom are still with us, pushing us forward in our music. It is still a long journey ahead for Rabbani. There’s so much we want to share.”
Formed in 1997, Rabbani, an eight-time winner of Anugerah Bintang Popular’s Most Popular Nasyid singer/group, is one of the heavyweights among local nasyid groups, with its creative interpretation of religious and spiritual songs, incorporating modern music which appeals to audience from all walks of life.
The group has also won various prestigious awards including Anugerah Industri Muzik Best Nasyid Album in 2001, Best Vocal Group in an Album (2001), Best Album (2001), Best Nasyid Album (2002, 2003 and 2009) and Best Nasyid Song in 2009.
Rabbani has also ventured into business, Rabbani Productions, Rabbani Media, Intifada Sound & Light, Rabbani Studio, Rabbani Gold, Rabbani FC and Rabbani Travel & Tours among them.
As for music, it recently released its 22nd album, Melodi Tazkirah.
Mohd Asri says: “This is a compilation of zikir songs, which had been recorded before. This album is special because every song has a story and it features prominent Muslim independent preacher, Ustaz Kazim Elias.
“In every song, Ustaz Kazim analyses the messages and shares his knowledge. It’s like a short religious lecture in between songs. This concept is still new and we are trying to implement it in this album. Hopefully fans will like it.”
The idea came about after the members joined Ustaz Kazim in his talks around the country.
“We were invited as guest performers in his talks. We decided to implement the same format in the album. We are lucky that he agreed to the idea despite his busy schedule,” says Mohd Asri.
“We decided to record his messages live in our studio instead of taking excerpts of his talks from previous events to add a more surreal experience for fans.”
Rabbani also launched its first Islamic app, iZikir — a collection of zikir available on iTunes.
The application is currently sold at a discounted price of US$0.99 (RM3.06). Its normal price is US$3.99.
Rabbani is also looking at producing a full studio album of new songs.
“We are talking with several composers, who have expressed their interest in collaborating with us. Eddie Hamid will compose two songs for the album,” says Mohd Asri adding that production work will take place after Hari Raya.
The group is also looking forward to work again with KRU, which was responsible for its various hits including Intifada, Apa Yang Kau Tahu, Satu Kiblat Yang Sama and Saksi.
“Working with creative musicians like KRU has added not only variety but also made a significant difference to our music,” says Mohd Asri.
Rabbani also plans to work with an Indonesian singer.
“We have several names in mind. We are looking at penetrating the Indonesian market, since some of our songs have made it big there. An Indonesian tour is also under discussion,” says Mohd Asri.