Shuaib Shaari still loves playing in the band although he is now in semi-retirement mode

  • Focus
  • Tuesday, 28 Nov 2017

Shuaib says he still want to sing in gigs if there are offers.

NO WORDS can describe how catchy the song, Mulanya Di Sini is.

In fact, that was the best song singer Shuaib Shaari from the band Freedom ever recorded.

The song, which Shuaib shared with the late Seha, gave them instant fame in the late 1980s.

Even after 35 years, the evergreen song, popularly known as Sama-Sama, which was its chorus, is still loved by Malaysians

It was given prominence by Shuaib and Marsha Milan Londoh at the closing of the 29th SEA Games 2017 in Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

Shuaib is rather melancholic when asked to talk about the song composed by Royston Sta Maria

“Many loved the song but they have no idea the memories we share together as a group when we sang the song.

The collaboration with Seha was a great one. In fact, that’s the most popular of all the songs we’ve recorded,” he said.

A 1988 photograph of Shuaib (left) and Seha with the other members of Freedom.
A 1988 photograph of Shuaib (left) and Seha with the other members of Freedom.

Shuaib, 59, said it was time to slow down as he felt he had passed his prime and that his career was almost in semi-retirement mode.

He now assists his sister with her forwarding business.

“Everyone has to go through this phase once your body starts slowing down. Personally, I still want to sing in gigs if there are offers, but the truth is, I’m almost reaching the end of my career.

“So it’s best to focus on my religion as it makes me happier,” said Shuaib, who was at the peak of his career in 1987.

Looking back, Shuaib said, the entire Freedom era was the best thing that happened to him.

Freedom was active in the late 80s and early 90s and Shuaib was in the original line-up as the drummer.

“I was not a vocalist initially but after I filled in for the singer one day, I was requested to sing from then on. Reluctantly, I became a singer and got stuck to singing,” said the father of four.

“My first love is still the drums and I hate singing actually. I became a singer by chance. But frankly, I am a true musician at heart and I love playing as a group.

“I still love doing gigs with the band or perform in dinner shows if there’s an offer,” said the self-taught musician whose aunt is late nasyid singer, Habibah Yaakob.

Shuaib said the existing entertainment associations could do more to assist the veteran artistes to get job placement.

“They could at least pave the way and assist veterans like us to perform.

“I am sure there is a platform for us to perform. We are all getting older and we leave behind a legacy, but all will be wasted if there’s no effort to help us.

“It has been more than 10 years since I last appeared on TV shows,” said Shuaib.

He said it was passion that kept him doing what he loved.

“Music means a lot to me. I do it for passion and not for money. If not for it, I would have gone a long time ago,” he said.

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