PETALING JAYA: Bent on composing the perfect theme song for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, veteran composer Datuk Ahmad Nawab has been labouring round-the-clock on his creation that will be presented to an international audience of world leaders.
“I worked feverishly day and night over the song. Composing the song was quite a challenge because I was given about a week to complete it.
”And this is not a love song, which would have been easier. It had to be something grand with a lot of spirit and an upbeat tempo. I have included instruments like the African drums and flute,” he said in an interview at the Synchrosound Studio on Wednesday night.
Entitled NAM shall lead the way, Ahmad also had to compose the song around lyrics provided by Wisma Putra, which he admitted added to the challenge of composing.
“And they left it to my imagination to do the job. Composing around the lyrics meant that I could not change it (lyrics) but I managed to do it with my experience,” he said.
The NAM Summit will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre from Feb 20 to Feb 25. There are 114 countries in NAM.
Ahmad, who is also responsible for Tourism Malaysia's jingle Malaysia Truly Asia, said the NAM song captured the past, present and future of the NAM organisation.
He said Khatijah Ibrahim with eight backup singers and an orchestra of about 40 musicians would sing the English song which runs for about five minutes.
“We wanted someone who could sing well in English and had a really powerful voice. And Kathy was the best person. It is no use getting those lawa (attractive) singers who cannot carry the song and sing clearly.
“Anyway, it is quite a “heavy” song and I don’t think the younger singers can do it. You need someone with a lot of experience. Kathy recorded it in two hours,” he added.
Ahmad said being given the job was an honour and a “reward” as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad liked Malaysia Truly Asia.
“So when I was asked to do it, I did because I knew I could,” he said.