Singer/actor Sean Ghazi is no stranger when it comes to breaking new ground abroad. He spent a few good years in the United States, making music and broadening his career base.
These days, Sean is spending time closer to home. He is also busy with Tarakucha, which he calls a “big band with a vintage Malaysian twist”. Tarakucha is a pet project that is coming into its own.
Tarakucha, formed by Sean, began as a series of workshop performances in 2016 at popular club venue in Kuala Lumpur.
The group, which looks like it could fit snugly into a tour bus, also features velvet-voiced Ida Mariana of Kebaya Jazz fame, while the 10-strong big band is led by Nish Tham on the piano, doubling as the band’s musical director.
On July 14, Tarakucha will be performing at The Annex Studio, at Singapore’s Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay in conjunction with Pesta Raya 2018 – Malay Festival of Arts.
“We are super proud to represent Malaysia in Singapore this month and we hope it is the first of many invitations abroad,” says Sean.
“We are also very grateful to the National Department of Culture And Arts (JKKN) for their support on this production.”
After two years, and several gigs, including a concert last year at the Garden’s Theatre, Mid Valley in KL, Sean feels the time is right for Tarakucha to venture further afield.
An extension of his fascination with the Malaysian songbook, as showcased in his AIM award-winning album Semalam, Tarakucha’s repertoire celebrates Malaysia’s musical heritage with songs by the nation’s great composers, artistes and songwriters such as P. Ramlee, Sudirman and Jimmy Boyle.
It’s all about iconic tunes given new life while taking inspiration from global influences, set alongside contemporary hits as well as original compositions written in what Sean refers to as the provocative “semalam” genre.
The upcoming shows in Singapore will be presented in English, with a healthy dose of Malay and the songs are sung in multiple languages – all delivered with humour, heart, style and fun. Audiences can also expect to hear Spanish and Portuguese among songs in English and Malay.
Tarakucha also features three backing singers self-styled as The Kuchettes; Maya Tan, Izlyn Ramli and Ruzana Ibrahim.
“I am also proud of each and every band member who, from a very young age, has persevered with their music through the local education system – despite the odds – especially within a landscape that does not prioritise the arts. It’s our dream to take Tarakucha all over the world to tell our stories and represent our Malaysia,” concludes Sean.
Tarakucha plays two back-to-back performances at The Annex Studio, Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay in Singapore on July 14. Showtimes: 8pm and 10pm. Tickets are available through sistic.com.sg.
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