KUALA LUMPUR: Hujan's singer Noh Salleh is well-known as a humanitarian entertainer, who has been paying regular visits to war-torn Turkey, Syria and Lebanon over the last two years.
But he admits that these visits have caused him to suffer from depression for more than a year.
Fortunately, Noh is on the mend, thanks to his music, and the "nightmares" which afflicted him will not stop him from joining future humanitarian missions.
"Depression came in the form of recurring nightmares. Kids' heads on fire, kids' limbs and heads cut off by war machines, they kept popping up in my head every night," said Noh at the launch of his tour with rock group Toko Kilat at The Gasket Alley in Jalan Universiti, Petaling Jaya yesterday.
The horrifying images in his dreams were derived from drawings made by traumatised children in refugee camps to "pour out" their feelings.
He saw many of them while touring the camps with his wife, singer-turned-entrepreneur Mizz Nina in May and December 2018 and May 2019.
They spent a week visiting dozens of refugee camps, and they were occasionally joined by fellow musicians Faizal Tahir and Aizat Amdan.
"These kids were mostly orphaned, they saw horrifying things with their own eyes, and were also traumatised, and their art helped them pour out their pain inside," said Noh.
Noh did not seek medical help, but went to the gymnasium and jogged to relieve himself of depression.
"Ultimately, writing and composing music was the best medicine.
"There were times that I wanted to give up making music to be a full-time humanitarian worker.
"But now I realise that God gave me the gift of music because it heals others and myself."
Noh also said that he once asked his wife what was the meaning of life, and she told him that it was to serve God.
"At first I thought it was going on humanitarian missions, but on deeper reflection I realised that it also meant making full use of God's gift of music.
"My wife persuaded me to carry on making music because music is my life."
Noh said he would not give up humanitarian work, because it was "imbibed in his heart and soul".
Furthermore, he believes in inspiring new musicians to get involved in humanitarian work.
"Working out in the gym and jogging gives me body pain but I can overcome it. If that's the case I can overcome the trauma of seeing war victims' illustrations," he said.
Noh and Toko Kilat will be performing in Georgetown on Aug 17, Iskandar Puteri on Aug 24 and Petaling Jaya on Sept 14. Their tour is themed the Pemacu Api Tour 2019.