Held in The Social @ TREC, the event was attended not just by friends of the petite singer and the Media but by enthusiasts and curators of Malaysian music who were there to support her initiative.
Inspired by the purity of the formative years of Malaysia’s contemporary music scene, Semalam di Malaya, or ‘Yesterday in Malaya’, reflects Ushera’s pride in her Malaysian heritage. Referring to it as the “revival project,” the album pays homage to the contemporary Malaysian music landscape of pre-independent 1940s and 1950s Malaya.
Working closely with her pianist of five years, Ganesh Bala, who is also a composer, arranger and producer, the album is the first installation of a series of albums within the Semalam di Malaya collection.
Together they proudly shine the spotlight and bring to center stage legends of the era such as Ahmad Jaafar and Osman Ahmad who wrote beautiful songs for time-honoured crooners like Nona Asiah and Kamsani.
Consisting of eleven classic tracks, a combination of orchestral, musical, Latin beats and Jazz, the album features the hits of yesteryears including Bunga Raya, Dunia Asmara, Jikalau Abang Merindu, the upbeat Polynesia Mambo and the cheekily titled Chuchi Kain Chuchi Mata – all stylistically sang in their original renditions.
Semalam di Malaya strives to preserve the classic sounds of the era, carefully keeping intact much of the melody and harmony of the original recordings’ musical arrangements.
The duo worked tirelessly for seven months to complete the album by adding a slightly modern twist, dynamics and timbre to the finished production.
Listeners of the album could very well expect an overall cinematic experience as a result of the album’s wide spectrum, granting them a thoroughly enjoyable concert-hall experience.
“I am very careful not to change the original version too much because these compositions are perfectly beautiful just the way they are.
Through Semalam di Malaya, Ushera does not only intend to evoke nostalgic memories among members of Malaysia’s older generation, but also capitalize on the resurging interest among Malaysia’s younger generation in their country’s artistic and cultural past, by transporting them to the bygone golden era of Malaysian music.
In December, the album will also be launched in Brunei Darussalam.
With an album tour scheduled next year around music festivals internationally, there is no doubt that Semalam di Malaya will be making its mark on curious music fans around the world.
Semalam di Malaya is now available iTunes, Spotify and other streaming channels.
Visit www.semalamdimalaya.com to purchase the CD via the online store.