Sunday 17 January 2010

Showing Off (CsH)

Rummaging through my boxes of junk, I found this notebook which had in it a list of my collection of 78rpm vinyls or records as we used to call them. The 78s were the prototype before the 33rpm and the 45rpm vinyls. I recalled the 78s from the 50s and I got hooked ever since I found a stack of them piled up in a Chinese stationery shop in Bandar Seri Begawan in 1978. The apek was happy to get rid of them at $2 each and I bought all he had! Among that harvest were songs by P. Ramlee, Saloma or Salmah Ismail as she was initially known, Nona Asiah , R. Azmi, Aman Ballon and a host of other treasures.

When I visited my brother Mus in Hull in 1981 I went crazy looking for 78s in English and there were lots to be found in various record shops in Hull and Leicester. Together with the spouse I extended my treasure hunting for Malay songs in Singapore (especially Arab Street), Penang and umpteen other shops in umpteen towns in Malaya. The best ones we found in an Indian Muslim kedai runcit (sundry shop) at Kuala Kangsar.

All in all I have 78s of 24 lady singers and 20 male singers - my absolute pride and joy! The problem with 78s is - most phonographs and hifi sets have speeds of 33 and 45 rpm. only. Fortunately in Leicester, second hand players were relatively easy to get especially from the Charity Shops or at the Car Boot sale. That was about 15 years ago. Now you can't buy them ( at the price you're prepared to pay) - for love or money!

Again I'm gloating because I have in my treasure chest 4 such machines and they're all safe in KL. The next stage is for me to learn the know-how - to transfer (and preserve) these songs to CDs. A few months ago I did something daring for a 65 year old mak ngah - when I experimented with taking a movie from my camera. The above is the fruit of my experiment, not quite brilliant but it will have to do for the time being. It left my arms aching because I had no tripod, but I'm quite proud of my handiwork. When we get back to KL I shall endeavour to improve my technique and technology and share some of my favourites on this blog.

The song 'Malaya Merdeka' was sung by Zaharah Agus. It was recorded on the Pathe Label. The blurb on the record says ' March (the type of beat that is) susunan D. Abell dengan A.Jaafar Orchestra'. 'Pulau Aman' is on the flip side - 'Pelahan dengan A. Jaafar Orchestra'. 'Malaya Merdeka' was a popular song - obviously before 1957. What is special to me is the word 'Malaya'. It's a shame that this name for my homeland has been expunged. If the names of Sabah and Sarawak are in use, why not Malaya?


NanaDJ said...

I remember that song! Zaharah Agus has such 'strong' voice and that was one of the earliest patriotic song. Wish someone would rerecord it.
I too have a stack of LP records - mostly oldies. Maybe when you return we can meet up and have a nostalgia session of days gone by albeit via old songs! Am sure Puteri will be able to sing those song in the inimitable style of hers.

Kak Teh said...

ash, one day i will make my way to see you and we will sit and sing oldies. let the chill pass first.

anak si-hamid said...

Nana DJ,
What a great idea. We can have a grand 'show and tell' . Of course Puteri Kama will have to sing us her renditions of these oldies. I hope all our caterwauling won't bring the house down!
Before the age of TV, I used to imagine Zaharah Agus looking like a Sergeant-Major. I wonder if she's still with us.
As for patriotic songs, remember Zainal Alam's 'Malaya Tetap Merdeka' and the flip side 'Bunga Malaya'?
We still have the songs but sadly the spirit has been corrupted.

Kak Teh,
Welcome back to the Big Chill. When the weather warms up and my chilblains disappear, we can start another fire.
I'm afraid nearly all of our 'treasures' have migrated to KL. But I still have that one treasure - the spouse - and the Cook is still in good nick. As for singing I think I can still belt a good song but we have to do that in KL with all the other GOWs.

Love to you and Hulaimi

ph said...

Miss Hamid, what happen to the tripod you bought at the HarborFront ?

Helas木村 said...

im so glad.. i can listen the song live and exclusively from the phonogram itself..

p/s ow i'll the guitar if u all singing together hehe

anak si-hamid said...

Silly Billy ph! I did that masterpiece before I bought the tripod. They are all in KL - the player, the records and the tripod. We've only got fish and chips here!!

I suppose you could come along and play the guitar but this is an exclusive club for Grumpy Old Women only.