Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In the NewS(traits Times)

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The Bar Council’s two-year campaign to raise awareness on our rights has culminated in the release of an indie rock compilation album, writes SUBHADRA DEVAN

AN independent compilation of songs performed by 12 bands, Radio Demokratika, has one goal — to get Malaysians to know their rights.

The album is the last stop in a two-year campaign by the Bar Council Constitutional Law Committee to raise awareness on Malaysians’ rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.


Talking about the album, indie band The Maharajah Commission bassist Farez Jinnah, a lawyer, says: “The project came out of a casual discussion about a year ago, on what else we could do to get the message to youths. And someone said, ‘Hey let’s do an album’.

“We put the call out for indie bands to take part, through word-of-mouth and the Internet. About 16 bands responded. No mainstream artiste would do a song for free or make a commitment. In July, the album production got moving.”

Farez, 35, of Indian-Chinese descent, also performed on the album with Barcode, comprising law students and other practising lawyers.


The Maharajah Commission offered Where Got?!, which is about how one should never lose one’s identity, while Barcode recorded MyConstitution Is Mine.

Other bands include Lord Bobo’s Minions which gave thoughtful sentiments in Better Than This. The song is about leaving a place because of a lack of honesty in such a life. The lyrics and music, as stated in the sleeve notes, credit Fahri Azzat, 35, a lawyer.

The music on Radio Demokratika is mostly rock, with shades of grunge, punk and rap. Bands include Temporary which, says Farez with a smile, “had not been in a recording studio till this album”.


Farez, who has been with The Maharajah Commission since 2003, says the music on the album “is a stick of dynamite,” and calls today’s popular tunes “suited for people with nervous tics”.

All the songs but one, are in English. “We prefer to sing in English. Never thought of doing otherwise,” muses Farez of his own band. “To sing in Bahasa would be to go commercial.”

The album is available at Rock Corner music shops at RM29.90 each and will be sold at a discounted rate of RM20 during the launch concert at Fort Cornwallis, Penang, on April 2.

The concert, part of the committee’s event called Rock 4 Rights, will feature the bands in Radio Demokratika as well as a few others. There will be poetry readings, street theatre acts, a video and film screening, a flea market, lucky draw and a voter registration booth. The 12-hour free concert starts at noon.


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