Datuk Khadijah Ibrahim and Jamal Abdillah join their mentor, Datuk Ahmad Nawab, in a three-city tour this month, writes Dennis Chua
EVERGREEN songstress Datuk Khadijah Ibrahim has a confession to make. She had known pop king Jamal Abdillah even before he joined Bintang RTM, the talent search that discovered him.
“My late brother Latif’s wife and Jamal were in the same singing group back then, and it was through Latif that I met Jamal,” she says.
When Jamal joined Bintang RTM 1979, Khadijah was his staunch supporter and adviser.
“All this while, I’ve known him to be nothing short of a true gentleman. I’m honoured and excited to team up with him in a major concert this month.”
Khadijah, Jamal and their sifu, Anugerah Seni Negara recipient saxophonist and composer Datuk Dr Ahmad Nawab, will be touring Kuantan and Singapore on Sept 29 and Oct 6.
The trio’s Konsert Gemilang Malaysia in aid of Yayasan Artis 1Malaysia will be held at Dewan Jubli Perak, Kuantan on Sept 29 and Max Pavilion in Singapore on Oct 6. They will end their tour with a final concert at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Oct 13.
The concert will take audiences on a journey through Malaysian music, specifically Ahmad’s evergreen compositions.
Jamal says: “We’ve known and worked with each other for more than three decades and to a large extent Khadijah and I launched our careers under Ahmad’s guidance.”
Khadijah says: “Ahmad has a knack for melodic tunes with some 2,000 songs throughout his career since the 1950s and a brilliant track record for drawing out the best in artistes.”
Ahmad says: “We’re all going on a nostalgic and fun trip down memory lane with interesting anecdotes. Khadijah and Jamal will be belting out the best hits that made them household names and I’ll be joining them on the saxophone.”
Concert production director Shan Selvadurai says the trio will be joined by veteran guitarist Yusoff Ibrahim aka Chobib who is also the music director, guest musician Datuk Ramli MS on the piano, percussionist Steve Thornton, bassist Syed Sharir Faisal Syed Hussain, drummer Muhammad Yuri Mohamed Edris, keyboardist Mohamad Rusmadi and guitarist Isyam Swardi Daud.
Khadijah’s nephew, singer and songwriter Firdaus Amri Fuzi, will be the opening act.
Yusoff says: “I’ve worked with Ahmad, Khadijah and Jamal for decades and it’s great to have them in an extravaganza concert for the first time.
“They’re true professionals, down-to-earth, honest and always appreciative of their numerous fans. This is what legends are made of.”
The trio launched the concert at Khadijah’s restaurant Khadijah’s Kitchen in Jalan Bukit, Petaling Jaya recently. Also present were Shan, Yusoff, Thornton, Firdaus and producer Danny Chan.
The concert is produced by AMG Networks. Tickets for the 8.30pm concerts are RM150, RM75 and RM50 (Kuantan) and RM500, RM300, RM200 and RM100 (Kuala Lumpur). Call 03-8076 2833.
AHMAD TO PRODUCE JAMAL’S NEW ALBUM
DATUK Dr Ahmad Nawab is all praises for Khadijah and Jamal as disciplined and dedicated singers.
He says: “Khadijah first met me when she was 15 and later, when she turned 18, we started our musical collaboration that lasts until today. As for Jamal, we met after he won Bintang RTM.”
Ahmad describes them as “born to sing”.
“They are always passionate about their music and give soul to every song. It’s always been a joy to work with them,” he says.
Jamal’s new album is expected to be ready next year and it will be jointly produced by Ahmad and the singer himself.
“I’ve got a new song for him, Suraya, and it’s the story of a woman who comes to him in his dreams. It’s a poignant love story about a beautiful dream which we don’t want to end,” says Ahmad.
The song will debut in the concert, and Ahmad will also have his instrumental segment which lasts 45 minutes.
KHADIJAH’S SPECIAL TRIBUTE
LOSING her elder brother Latif early this year to a heart ailment robbed Khadijah of a soul mate.
“Latif, my siblings and I have always been a closely knit family. Before he fell ill, we had plans for him to record a new album,” she says.
Having Firdaus perform as a guest singer in the coming concert is Khadijah’s tribute to Latif because her nephew looks and sounds every bit like his late uncle during his youth.
“Firdaus has inherited our musical gifts and he is determined to work hard to excel in the industry. It’s most befitting that he’ll perform Latif’s song Nora,” says Khadijah.
Firdaus currently has two singles Kamar Sepi and Bila Cinta Merasuk. He is working on a full album which is expected to be launched next year.
Firdaus says: “I’ve performed with my aunt and late uncle at family gatherings over the years but this is the first time I’m to perform as an opening act for three local music legends.
“It’s an honour, and a labour of love for me. Datuk Ahmad and Jamal are two icons of music I look up to.”
Khadijah, who will sing 10 songs and medleys, says the three concerts will not be 100 per cent similar, because the trio may include songs in one but not the other.
“Each will be a surprise, specially made for the audiences in each city. Thus, it’s best for fans to join us in all three cities,” he says.
Khadijah, Jamal and Ahmad planned the concert series three years ago. Besides this, Ahmad, Khadijah and her sister Datin Paduka Faridah Ibrahim (Firdaus’ mother) plan to produce a musical that pays tribute to the music of the 1970s.
“It’ll celebrate the music of that happening decade, including Latif’s and mine,” says Khadijah.
On Khadijah’s Kitchen, she says the restaurant underwent an expansion early this year and its new section is an outdoor dining area with colourful murals.
“We call it K & F Lane Cafe, for Khadijah and Faridah,” she says. “But it’s also Khadijah and friends!”
JAMAL TO RETURN TO ISTANA BUDAYA
WHILE it has been a busy year for Jamal, who has appeared in numerous concerts including the Legendary Concert at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, the crooner says he is “loving it”.
“Nothing makes me happier than entertaining and meeting my fans,” he says.
On the coming concert, Jamal says Khadijah, Ahmad and himself will act out famous behind-the-scenes happenings that are hilarious and heart-warming.
“There is a story behind every song, and these concerts will show what we mean,” he says.
For example, Ahmad and Jamal will act out their first encounter with Tidurlah Permaisuri, a difficult and moving song written by Tan Sri P.Ramlee which Jamal later recorded. “And of course, Khadijah and I will relive those Bintang RTM moments where she was my sifu of sorts,” says Jamal who will sing two duets with Khadijah, Sabar Menanti and Seiring Dan Sejalan.
“I’ll sing seven solo hits or medleys and I’ll also play the guitar to accompany Ahmad on the saxophone in Suraya, Seniman Menangis and Simfoni Sepi.”
Suraya is his new song composed by Ahmad while Simfoni Sepi is Ahmad’s composition written by Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang.
Next May, he will perform at a P Ramlee tribute concert in Istana Budaya. The concert is produced by his company Bintang Channel.
In the third quarter of 2013, he has a 20-day concert in the pipeline. “I hope to have Istana Budaya for the venue as it’s a superb venue. Each concert will be on a successive weekend and each will feature the songs from a successive album,” he says.
While Jamal commends the remake of Azura, the film which catapulted him to fame, he feels it lacked the magic of the original.
“My character Zek was very much representative of the people of that era, likewise his love interest Azura played by Fauziah Ahmad Daud,” he says. “Any retelling of their story would see the loss of that magic.”
While he was invited by filmmaker Aziz M.Osman to play a cameo role in the remake of Azura, he had to turn it down due to concert commitments.
“I’ve decided to fully focus on singing, even though I did have a good time acting in a few movies like Sejati and Kekasih Awal Dan Akhir,” he says.
Not unlike Khadijah, he has a young relative who excels in the arts and she is popular actress and television personality Juliana Evans.
“She’s very talented and takes her craft seriously,” says Jamal.