Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Seasons 4's age of wonder

The Seasons 4 (from left) originals Hussain Shaari, Rahim Ismail and Syed Elias Alhabshi performing in Kuala Lumpur last weekend. The show 'Golden Voices In Synch' was held at Dama Orchestra’s new performance space.

The Seasons 4 (from left) originals Hussain Shaari, Rahim Ismail and Syed Elias Alhabshi performing in Kuala Lumpur last weekend. The show 'Golden Voices In Synch' was held at Dama Orchestra’s new performance space.

Armed with the classic songbook, lyrical romance and more, The Seasons 4 quartet were a delight to watch.

AGE is nothing but a number. That certainly rang true when a bunch of senior citizens took to the stage to deliver an inspiring performance filled with evergreen favourites. You could only applaud their stamina, ability and desire to entertain.

With a collective age of almost three decades, The Seasons 4 quartet’s show at the Intimate Encounter @ Theatre Lounge Café in Kuala Lumpur last weekend was a delightful, musical evening comprising freshly brewed harmonies and new arrangements of familiar tunes.

Part of the Western Evergreen Series, the Golden Voices In Synch was the second show for the year at Dama Orchestra’s spanking new venue. Earlier this month, the Spring Kisses Lover’s Tears show played at this full-fledged 60-seat cabaret performance venue which was established as an intimate performance hub for local and international artistes.

Back to the Golden Voices In Synch show, the crooner line-up included Rahim Ismail (Vic), Hussain Shaari (Hans), Syed Elias Alhabshi (Syd) and Ezani Abu Bakar.

At 76, Rahim was the oldest and the leader of the group. He was also the one with formal musical training so he wrote and arranged the show’s harmonies. The rest of this jovial cast refused to reveal their ages.

As the youngest member of The Seasons 4 quartet, Ezani Abu Bakar was also the life of the party.
As the youngest member, Ezani Abu Bakar was also the life of the party.

Sadly, another original member Tunku Datuk Farid Hussain (Fred) passed away seven weeks ago. Ezani, was his replacement and as Rahim joked, “He’s still on probation but he has brought down the average age of the group!”

Dressed in smart jackets from their era, the dapper chaps kicked off the night with When You’re Smiling, made famous by Louis Armstrong, who recorded it first in the late 1920s. The quartet came good with a spirited start. It then gave a refreshing a capella rendition of Dahil Sa Iyo, a 1930s Filipino love song by Miguel Velarde Jr. That brought on plenty of smiles.

To further show its versatility, the group launched into a Cantonese number, Shanghai Beach, and immediately, the audience cheered away with their coffee cups.

Nat King Cole’s (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons, which was dedicated in memory of Tunku Farid, was a heartfelt concert moment. The group’s crooning came through with confidence and emotional resonance.

After the touching tribute, the heat went up a notch when Ezani got his break. He belted out Dean Martin’s infectious Sway, a tune everyone knows. Ezani even came down from the stage and tried to a dance step or two but stopped short, to the amazement of his fellow singers.

“Hey, you’re not bad,” uttered Rahim. “We might confirm you!”

This was followed by My Special Angel and New York, New York. The group even displayed some showbiz kicks with the latter number. Frank Sinatra would have been proud.

The Golden Voices In Synch show was truly an intimate affair as the performers took the opportunity to mingle and greet the guests after the first set.

The four singers are consultants in various industries – banking, plantation and shipping. As former schoolmates from the Malay College of Kuala Kangsar, Perak, they share a passion for singing and formed their group in 2008. With a focus on harmony singing, their singing has opened many doors for them for performances at private functions.

Little did they know they would be in such demand. To date, The Seasons 4 quartet has performed at 30 events, from wedding receptions to charity dinners, black-tie events and royal receptions.

The group also found its way to The Star’s 40th anniversary project, In Perfect Harmony – A Malaysian Musical Journey, produced by Dama Orchestra in 2011.

In his gentle voice, Rahim recalled, “We saw an audition notice for the musical and in the fine print, it was for ages 18-28 only. We were way off the radar but I still called and Dama said come. We talked with the founders and got the part.”

On stage, the second half of Golden Voices In Synch was a treat with highlights like Put On A Happy Face, L.O.V.E, Only You and Route 66.

Elsewhere, a Mandarin number by Teresa Teng, Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin (The Moon Speaks For My Heart) proved the group could take risks and succeed.

“We didn’t know what the words meant and had to have a translator help us with the pronunciation,” quipped Rahim. “I hope we did a good job.”

The Seasons 4 gave a different spin to Tan Sri P. Ramlee’s Getaran Jiwa and clearly, this was another hit with the audience. They concluded with All Of Me but the crowd wanted more.

Shocked, Rahim asked, “Really, you want more? But, it’s almost midnight!” They rounded off with Louis Armstrong’s Hello Dolly, with Rahim doing a splendid impersonation of Armstrong’s voice and trumpet.

Now, how many 70-year-olds can boast of getting paid for having a second career derived from passion?

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment , music , Dama Orchestra , The Seasons 4


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