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Tuesday September 24, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday September 24, 2013 MYT 7:42:05 AM
by azhariah kamin
Back to her roots: Siti Nurhaliza shone on stage with her traditional music persona at the ‘Lentera Timur’ concert at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur last Friday. – AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star
Datuk Siti Nurhaliza packed out Istana Budaya with a songlist that defined her heritage.
SPECTACLE. That was the word came to mind while watching pop queen Datuk Siti Nurhaliza on stage in her long-awaited Konsert Lentera Timur last Friday.
Granted, that I was a bit worried prior to the concert. Let’s face it: A two-hour concert of traditional songs was a daunting proposition. But for a solid two-hour show, the audience who packed Panggung Sari in Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur were literally spellbound with the performances by Siti who was backed the Malaysian Traditional Orchestra (OTM). This writer was mesmerised too.
The opening number Sendayung Pakyong, a mak yong number, was a perfect opening for the memorable night. It was nicely followed by Ala Dondeng.
With her signature smile and charm, Siti worked the crowd from the start. She might have been far away from her pop songbook, but this 34-year-old star knew how to celebrate her roots – traditional Malay music. She lovingly brought her childhood music back to the stage.
You could just imagine Siti picking up some of these traditional classics in Kampung Awah, a small village in Temerloh, Pahang, where she grew up.
On stage at Istana Budaya, she had her own popular traditional numbers to roll out. Nirmala, a zapin-influenced song, which was then followed by Kurik Kundi, brought out the cheers. Both songs were immensely popular among her fans. They were taken from Siti’s traditional album entitled Sanggar Mustika, which was released in 2002.
In her 18-year career, Siti has kept traditional Malay music close to her heart. Apart from the acclaimed Lentera Timur and Sanggar Mustika albums, Siti also released two other traditional albums Cindai and Sahmura.
Whether her pop or traditional music persona, there was one thing obvious about Siti in her concerts. Every little gesture from her would draw thunderous applause. Whatever Siti did on the stage, the audience just lapped it all up. Siti was in a playful mood as she used a sumpit (blowpipe) to pop a balloon.
“Can you guys guess how long it took me to practise this? Too long, I can tell you!” she said with a laugh.
Looking as resplendent as ever, Siti revealed that she had been waiting for a long time to stage a traditional concert.
Her next song Bunga Melor, a classic composed by the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee, was her tribute to her late father, who had always told her that the lyrics of the song reminded him of her. “I used to wonder why he said that, but now, looking at the lyrics, I think I understand why,” explained Siti.
The gorgeous music continued with an asli number called Patah Hati, which led to two more gems in Janji and Kau Pergi Tanpa Pesan.
A keroncong number Jangan Ditanya, popularised by Kartina Dahari, managed to get the crowd swaying in their seats.
Of course, you also needed some party tunes to get Istana Budaya in a groove. A medley of joget numbers such as Masri Manis, Kaparinyo, Sulam Sembilan, Bulan Yang Mesra, Empat Dara and Hati Kama got the job done.
Elsewhere, Siti’s first guest for the night was a dikir barat group Dikir Arjuna Sukma, which performed Dikir Timur, and the crowd kept on laughing when Siti joined them on an impromptu track, which involved a lot of bantering done in both Kelantanese and Pahang dialects.
To further entertain, Siti’s next guest for the night was veteran singer Datuk M. Daud Kilau who performed Cek Mek Molek and Laksamana Raja Di Laut. And Siti just knew how to please her fans when she performed her popular pop number Biarlah Rahsia in a traditional arrangement.
If you have been following Siti and her musical career since the beginning, there has been one collaborator responsible for most of her popular hits over the years, especially the traditional songs. He is none other that the award-winning composer-songwriter Pak Ngah, whose real name is Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Zain.
And for the night, much to the delights of the fans, Pak Ngah performed Rampaianku in a solo segment before Siti joined him on stage to deliver Damak, Balqis, Ya Maulai and Cindai.
The concert was co-produced by Istana Budaya and Siti Nurhaliza Productions (SNP) Sdn Bhd with two leading musical directors – Aubrey Suwito and Mohd Yazid Zakaria from OTM.
Tags / Keywords:
Entertainment, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Konsert Lentera Timur, Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, September 2013
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