By : Radin Sri Ghazali
Azman (second from right) with Salleh (third from right) and celebrities M. Nasir (right), and (from extreme left) Suki, Ekin and husband Mawi.
IT all started five years ago when the chairman of Ambank Group, Tan Sri Datuk Azman Hashim, was driving around and about Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur during New Year’s Eve.
“The only thing I saw was a big clock to signify the countdown,” he said at a recent Press conference to launch Ambang 2009 Kuala Lumpur, a concert planned to mark the New Year.
It is co-produced by Ambank Group and Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL).
“It was such a pity,” Azman continued. “Dataran Merdeka is such a nostalgic and significant location but there was nothing grand being held during the New Year. I felt that I had to do something.”
Currently in its fourth year, this year’s show is expected to be bigger and grander.
“The concert is a multiracial celebration. We have numerous cultures here and what better way to highlight them than through a concert like this,” said Azman, referring to the traditional and modern performances (such as hip hop), scheduled for the event.
“We are honoured that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, will be attending,” he added.
M. Nasir, Mawi, Suki, Estranged, Hujan and Point Blanc are among the artistes who will be entertaining the audience before ushering in the New Year together.
The artistes’ line-up is phenomenal, Azman said.
DBKL director-general Datuk Salleh Yusup said he was proud that Dataran Merdeka had been chosen as the venue.
“Hopefully, 100,000 people will show up to celebrate the New Year,” he said.
“Besides welcoming 2009, we will also be celebrating Awal Muharram (the first month in the Islamic calendar). It is a good week.”
Veteran performer M. Nasir promises an energetic performance.
“Don’t expect me to tear off my clothes for the night’s performance though,” joked Nasir, when asked if he had any surprises in store.
“There will be some familiar songs but be prepared for a very energetic show,” said the 51-year-old singer-composer.
Newlywed pop sensation Mawi preferred to keep mum about his performance.
“I’ll be performing a combination of new and old songs. And I might throw in some pengantin baru songs as well,” he said with a laugh.
The winner of One in a Million 1, Suki, said she was over the moon about her involvement in the concert.
“To see my picture alongside Mawi and M. Nasir is unbelievable,” said Suki, 19, referring to the promotional banners.
“I applaud the concept of multiracial performances. I hope that I can deliver my best for the night. I am all hyped up for it,” she said.
Suki will be singing a medley of Malay, English and Mandarin songs for the event.
Former member of Poetic Ammo, Point Blanc, will be showcasing a few hip hop numbers.
“This is my biggest solo gig to date. Besides that, I am the only hip hop artiste to perform. I am definitely honoured ,” he said. The rapper will be singing his hit songs including Ipoh Mali and Kuala Lumpur Lengchai.
The dances will include performances from Tunas Budaya, an Orang Asli traditional dance piece from JHEOA, and bangra hip hop from Gold Kartz.
Singer Sivakumar will be serenading the audience too. He will be accompanied by the dance troupe, Era Dancers.
Ambang 2009 Kuala Lumpur is expected to continue until 1am. It will also be aired live over TV2, from 9pm on New Year’s Eve.