They may not be as famous as some of their peers but D’ Atomic Power is very much a pop-rock icon, writes Dennis Chua
WE all know Datuk Affendi Hamdan as chairman of National Film Development Corporation (Finas) which successfully organised the recent 25th Malaysian Film Festival (FFM25).
But do you know Affendi, who heads Erama Creative (Gerimis Mengundang — both film and stage versions) also shaped local music history as the lead singer of D’ Atomic Power, the iconic pop-rock group from Sandakan, Sabah?
The group had a mini-reunion concert at Sunway Putra Hotel, Kuala Lumpur recently. While the event was actually an annual dinner for his information technology services company Raffcomm, it marked the first reunion concert for D’ Atomic Power after the death from a long illness of Rashid Kamsiran, its mentor.
Affendi describes Rashid, who died in 2011, as the father of Sabah pop-rock.
“He was the face and voice of our group, besides being one of the prime movers of popular music in Sabah, and an inspiration to many new singers,” he says.
The son of a musician, Rashid founded D’ Atomic Power in 1978 with vocalists Rudy Ahmad, Alleh Aggullana and Geoffrey Tan, drummer Sulaiman Alman, bassist Ismail Arun, and saxophonists Saat Talip and Karim Awang.
“Rashid was multi-talented. He played the guitar, keyboard and trombone and sang. He composed and wrote most of our songs,” says Affendi who joined the group as lead singer in 1981.
The group participated in Radio Televisyen Malaysia’s (RTM) Bakat TV in 1978 and 1979, winning best band in the second year. Its first album, Cinta Benar Cinta was released in 1979. Its other hits were Sinar Matamu and Ibu.
“We acted in a film titled Bertunang directed by veteran Sabahan filmmaker Deddy M. Borhan,” says Affendi. “That year, we also had an album titled Bertunang, with songs from the movie such as Bertunang and Asal Kau Bahagia, Hidup, Siapa Gerangan and Cinta Mesra.”
The songs Cinta Suci, Manusia and Kiambang Masih Bertaut were hits from its third and final album, Manusia, released in 1993.
Keyboardist Ahmad Zakaria says: “That year, the group comprised Rashid, vocalist Zakaria Buang, keyboardists Achok and Dino, bassist Imran and percussionist Idamshah. We won the Sabah Music Festival in 1997.”
The band has collaborated with many leading artistes including Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Ziana Zain, Leina Hangat, Dahlan Zainuddin, Salwa Abdul Rahman, Safura Yaacob and Noreen Noor.
Rashid’s son, Razali aka Boy Castro, joined the band a decade ago as guitarist.
He says: “My brother Rudy was with me and played the guitar. The band plans to make a tribute album to my father soon.” Affendi adds: “As Rashid was a legend in his own right, we will invite various artistes to sing the band’s songs in his memory.”
He is delighted that some of Rashid’s and the band’s musical proteges — Mentor Season 2 champion Fiq Abdul Halim, Akademi Fantasia Season 4 contestant Nora Daud, Akademi Fantasia Season 8 contestant Ain Basir, and actor-singer Sabhi Saddi (Nadiku, Klip 3GP) — are household names today.
Ayu Damit (One In A Million 2 winner), Adira Suhaimi, Stacy Anam and Zizi Tahil (The Fabulous Cats) are among the talented new artistes who may be roped in for the tribute.
“While we have not achieved the fame of The Alleycats, Sweet Charity, Search and The Revolvers, we are happy to have gained fans from across the country.
“What matters most is our passion for music and its role in fostering the spirit of 1Malaysia,” says Affendi, whose company Erama has produced an album for Penang-born singer-actress Mila Jirin.