when it comes to musical talents among the various races in malaysia, i have always thought highly of the malays. veteran singers like sheila majid and zainal abidin and newer singers like dayang nurfaizah and now sean ghazi, all impress me with their vocal prowess, charisma and supreme showmanship
sean ghazi, he from the broadway heritage, is malaysia's answer to michael buble. just as buble pays tribute to frank sinatra, ghazi pays respect to the father of malay pop, p. ramlee, in a couple of timeless classics, in this highly acclaimed debut album. (note:the cover you are seeing now is the deluxe version with a vcd)
backed by an australian orchestra, ghazi alternates between his favourite broadway tunes, a pink martini's cover, an anneke gronloh's (a dutch/indonesian diva in the 60s) cover and some timeless p.ramlee's covers and some others, all with a delightful swing/big band sound. one simply couldn't believe that a malaysian singer can be so versatile.
even from the first track "semalam" (last night), an original composition by ghazi himself, you will smile approvingly as you sink yourself into the nostalgic feel yet modern arrangement, and ghazi's voice, oh, his voice, is the kind that can make any woman wussy and warm inside. step aside, buble!
a few songs stand out immediately, "rambut hitam, matanya galak" (black hair, beguiling eyes), an anneke gronloh's classic, has that elegant swing that invites you to sit up and dance and sway your hips. if you are too young to appreciate this, let your parents hear this and they will snap this cd away from you!
and p.ramlee's "hujan di tengahari" (rain in the afternoon) is modernized with a big band sound that will surely get the listener slow-dancing to the beautiful melody. it even has a musical passage of "singing in the rain" (as befitting the malay title) melody towards the end, such magical touch! ghazi's delivery is first-class, full of swing and rhythm, never missing a beat.
deliciously palatable, this CD is "sungguh mengkagumkan", definitely one of my top 10 albums in 2007. it has been a while i last heard a memorable cd from malaysia, regardless of language and genre. sean ghazi's "semalam" ranks high alongside sheila majid's "legenda" (1992) as musical breakthroughs in the local music industry.
to those expat readers, this is the best x'mas present for your overseas friends who want to sample some of the best music in malaysia.
what are you waiting for?
p/s sample tracks can be heard in sean ghazi's official website http://www.seanghazi.com/