Kelantanese group a hit with Johoreans

A GHAZAL group in Kota Baru has received rave reviews from Johoreans for singing the traditional ghazal numbers in the Kelantanese dialect.

Ghazal Gema Suria group leader Khairi Kerbak said they did not anticipate that their performance at Taman Wawasan Mersing in Johor recently would be a hit with southern Ghazal fans.

“We did not expect the locals there to like the new version as they might not understand the Kelantanese dialect,” he said during an interview. “They feel it was a breath of fresh air to hear the lyrics being sung in the Kelantanese dialect.” Khairi said one Ghazal critic even commented that he loved the simplistic presentation.

“But, he feels we have to fine tune the lyrics to make it more understandable,” he said.

Khairy said the idea to come up with a Kelantan-style Ghazal came from the daughter of Sultan of Kelantan, Tengku Amalin Aishah Sultan Ismail Petra, who felt that Ghazal should be presented in such a way to enable the people of Kelantan to better understand and appreciate the music.

The group which was set up in February with the co-operation of the Kelantan Cultural and Arts Department, has performed in several places including Dabong town in Kelantan.

“There are also plans to organise more workshops to further promote Ghazal to the younger generation,” he said.

Among the songs they had composed were Pak Ngah Balik, Chenderawasih, Penawar Rindu and Cek Mek Molek.

“The use of the Kelantanese dialect will enable listeners to enjoy the soothing music in poetic form and the songs reflect the Malay custom, social tradition or practice,” said group lead singer, Irahayu Ibrahim, 29, a music teacher by profession.

Ghazal is a melancholic poetic expression that involves the usage of instruments like accordion, Gambus (an Arab musical instrument with six strings), guitar and percussion.

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