Saturday, April 2, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
by Haris Abdul Halim
Published on 1 April 2011 © The Star
Music can inspire change in people’s lives and attitudes, as reflected by the Radio Demokratika compilation and the upcoming Rock 4 Rights concert.
THE first thought that came to my mind, and probably many others’, when mentioning this genre of music, that is, protest songs or civil rights music, was youthful rebellion towards certain aspects of society. For the new generation, they had somehow hoped that their anger would be heard, but then again, no one listens to an angry person, especially if they are nobody.
Bearing that last sentence in mind,Radio Demokratika produced by the Malaysian Bar Council’s public service MyConstitution Campaign (MyConsti in hip speak), is a compilation album which speaks to the current generation, not through anger and rebellion, but through a positive tone throughout the album.
MyConsti has been up and running in Malaysia since 2009. The initial idea was a two-year campaign organised by the Bar Council designed to inform and educate the public about constitutional awareness, their rights as citizens of Malaysia as well as the way the country is run. Forums and workshops have been held across Malaysia to raise awareness.
The Radio Demokratika compilation, featuring diverse local acts, sees MyConsti finding a louder voice through music.
This Saturday the compilation will also receive a profile boost with the Rock 4 Rights concert and carnival taking place at Fort Cornwallis in Penang. The 12–hour music marathon organised by the Bar Council, in partnership with Frinjan and Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), will feature a host of acts from the Radio Demokratika compilation as well as like-minded artistes on stage throughout the day.
Apart from movie screenings and information booths, the free admission event has slotted names like Bittersweet, Azmyl Yunor, Couple, Amirah Ali, An Honest Mistake, Maharajah Commission, Keladak, MC Stiff, Barcode, Car Crash Hearts and others for the Rock 4 Rights gig.
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah will also be part of the live line-up with a special performance on the main stage.
“It is a great blessing when singer-songwriters like us are given opportunities to perform and share our music with others, especially songs about social and humanitarian issues. Ultimately, music is about honesty and writing what is true in your heart ... that is what is most important,” said Amirah Ali, who will be on stage in Penang this Saturday.
“Judging by the number of participating acts (including notable and popular ones) in events such as these, there is a form of paradigm shift when it comes to the role of local music in civil society as a whole,” said Azmyl Yunor, renowned for his back-to-basics folk rock music. “An act might not write political or social songs per se (you don’t have to, really), but by showing support for a cause or by participating in related events, does show that bands or musicians who have a conscience, regardless of political leanings, are now showing their support and empathy. It’s a norm overseas, why not here?”
But it was Radio Demokratika that sparked this recent and concerted flurry of pro-activity from the music community. This compilation, released last month, encompasses many styles of music, from hip hop to rock, to metal and even country.
“As you know, everyone is different, therefore, everyone’s tastes are different. This album has been very accessible in a sense that it appeals to a broad range of people. In a way, the music becomes the tool for unity, and if we’re not united, nothing can be accomplished,” said Michael Loo, one of the co-ordinators for the Radio Demokratikacompilation project.
“We wanted to end this campaign with a bang, and that was how Radio Demokratika came to be. Music, after all, is the one thing which is ever present in our lives, and this is a great opportunity to reach out to the general public of Malaysia,” he added.
The album, which comes with an information booklet, also plays around with the lyrics and the way the lyrics are written – some are obscure, some are abstract and some are really just like staring at you right in the face, and again, this creates an appealing variety. Cilia Chong, also directly involved in the making of the album, added that they tried to make the album as accessible as possible, so they could avoid seeming elitist in any way. Comprising 12 tracks, which were contributed (free) by local artistes and bands alike, along with a few members from the Bar Council, it is an album which might pique the public’s curiosity through it’s diverse sound and clear message.
“Radio Demokratika encompasses many genres and styles of music, everyone will have at least one track to relate to,” she said.
Sonically, being a compilation album which is not confined to one genre, it would tend to have a diverse palette. Although all of the artistes are local, the sound that they managed to produce is quite impressive. Hints of U2 can be heard in Lord Bobo’s Minions’ track, Better Than This. A familiar riff, which is heard on Thin Izzy’s track, Shine A Light, would be noticed by Led Zeppelin fans.
The whole album contains many good tracks, including contributions from underground scene favourites like Carburetor Dung, Azmyl Yunor and Maharajah Commission, but one which stands out is newcomer MC Stiff’s dark and ominous Moral Bankruptcy, which has so much meaning to the words, and the way it is crafted is just beautiful. The track gives a sense of empowerment to the people.
“There are a lot of good acts on the album, but it’s cool that local hip hop as a genre is represented and not forgotten. I wrote Moral Bankruptcyespecially for this compilation. I thought about the issues and put down verses that reflected the cause (awareness for the constitution). Everybody involved in this project hopes that it reaches out to the public,” said MC Stiff.
The last song on the album is Joget Melayu Liberal by The Panda Head Curry? and it sends out a clear message through direct lyrics. It summarises all that is happening in the compilation with seemingly pointless lines, but it does show the role that a constitution plays in the development of the country, saying that, without it, we would be mere animals.
The Rock 4 Rights concert and carnival takes place at Fort Cornwallis in Penang this Saturday. The 12–hour non-stop event starts at noon. The Radio Demokratika compilation is available at selected recordstores nationwide. More details at facebook.com/radiodemokratika.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
- Bring your family and friends to register as a voter this Saturday!
- Bring your IC!
- Change of address is always available from 1-6pm
*SPR booths will be there!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Event: Rock 4 Rights
Date: 2 April 2011 (Saturday)
Time: 12:00pm - 12:00am
Venue: Fort Cornwallis, Penang
Admission: Free and open to public
Since the inaugural launch of the MyConstitution Campaign on 13 November 2009, the Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee (BCCLC) has launched 8 out of the 9 phases of the campaign over the last 1.5 years. Each phase was on a specific theme of the Federal Constitution, and saw the launch of its own Rakyat Guides booklet and Rakyat Service Advertisement.
On 2 April 2011, the final (9th) phase of the MyConstitution Campaign will be launched at the "Rock 4 Rights" event at Fort Cornwallis, Penang. In addition to producing its 9th Rakyat Guides booklet and Rakyat Service Advertisement on "Elections and Democracy", the Committee has also produced a music album entitled Radio Demokratika.
Radio Demokratika contains 12 original songs written and performed by 12 local independent bands. Each song is a message on human rights, democracy and constitutionalism. Radio Demokratika is sold at all Rock Corner and Victoria Music Centre outlets in the Klang Valley for RM29.90 per CD.
"Rock 4 Rights" is a 12-hour non-stop concert and carnival organised by the BCCLC in partnership with Frinjan and Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) and supported by Yes. Malaysiakini is the online media sponsor for this event. The event is also endorsed by the Penang State Government. This one-of-a-kind initiative will start from 12pm until12am.
A total of 18 bands will perform; a combination of bands from the Radio Demokratika album, the Bangkit album (produced by SABM), Frinjan and others. There will be performance arts and film screening as well as a variety of food and beverage stalls, arts and crafts stalls, a counter for festival memorabilia, CDs by the performing artists and voter registration booths. Unregistered eligible voters are strongly encouraged to register at the voter registration booths.
"Rock 4 Rights" will be officiated by YB Prof. Dr. P. Ramasamy, Deputy Chief Minister of Penang at 8:00pm on 2 April 2011.
This is what we hope to achieve through this event:
- Better outreach to youths from the ages of 18 to 35 on the concept of elections and democracy;
- Better awareness amongst local artists and youths on the concept of elections and democracy;
- Increased participation of youths in the Malaysian political process through the conduct of voter registration drives during the concert and related events; and
- Greater media coverage and publicity on issues pertaining to the Federal Constitution.
The Bar Council wishes to thank all its partners and sponsors for making this event possible.
To know more, please visit the website.