Jumaat, Oktober 08, 2004

Globe-trotting with M. Nasir

petikan The Star 8 October 2004

Local legend M. Nasir takes on a different role over the next few months as he takes on a journey of substantial proportions, writes JASON CHEAH.

IT has been almost four years since M. Nasir’s last studio effort, Phoenix Bangkit, and we’re still waiting for a new album from the Malay music legend.

M. Nasir will host M. Nasir: Destinasi...Dunia, a docu-musical about the sounds and voices of music from different regions of the world.

But before any new material is released, there is still a little journey he plans to make.

As it is, he’s already on it, having left one week ago to exotic destinations around the world.

M. Nasir: Destinasi... Dunia is the concept, and in it we see(once everything is recorded and aired)a side of Nasir rarely seen by the public – that of hosting a documentary on world music.

Think exotic locations such as Turkey, the Andalusian region of Southern Spain right to Kathmandu in Nepal and Jaipur in India and you realise that this will be no ordinary journey for Nasir.

Be it instruments, voices, dances, even archaeological remains and various cultural and architectural spots, Nasir’s all set to discover more about what music culture is like, as well as perhaps introduce our own music to the countries he visits.

M. Nasir: Destinasi...Dunia is expected to entertain music fans nationwide with its unique and attractive concept, when it begins to air on Astro Ria come December.

It will be a docu-musical or musical documentary with the objective of educating and entertaining audiences as well as informing us about the sounds and voices of music from different regions of the world.

Looking relaxed and laid back during a press conference last week just before he left for Istanbul, Nasir’s enthusiastic about the hectic schedule planned for the next two months, as he talks about this idea which has been hanging around for some time now.

“A lot of the music is recognisable, but it needs to be more exposed,” he said about the music cultures he expects to visit. “I hope that people will follow my journey in music as we want to increase musical knowledge.”

“It’s all quite exciting, although I still don’t really know what we’ll be doing. But this is the adventure of it all.”

Nasir may not be altogether sure of the concept but he certainly expects that “we’ll find out as we go along”.

Apparently, Turkey seems to be a favourite draw, even for Nasir. It will be his crew’s first stopover.

“Although all (the cultures we are visiting) are exciting, with Turkey, the whole culture has already been there since the Ancient Greeks,” he said. “The music has its own form. There’s folklore, especially the whirling dervishes (that is popular there).”

And there’s more than just folk music to cover.

“We’ll cover everything, even pop music, and hopefully it won’t just attract music fans but also those who love to travel.”

The whole journey and effort is being produced by DDB Productions and the idea came about some two years ago, according to its general manager Amen Hussen.

Obviously, there is a vast amount of culture that they can expect to encounter.

“In Turkey, we plan to discover gypsy dance, folk dancing, belly dancing, whirling dervishes, as well as visit places like Cappadoica and Konya,” Amen added.

Such historical spots and experiences like the Blue mosque, the Bosphorus cruise and the Underground City will also be part of the journey. The crew of 10 will also visit London, where they will meet street performers (buskers), and visit the likes of Covent Garden, Bond St, Canary Wharf, Westminster and Kensington Street.

In Spain, where Madrid, as well as Marbella and Cordoba in Andalusia are the target destinations, they will also find out more about instruments such as the castanets and the tambor, the Spanish guitar, and discover more about Spanish flamenco music. In India, there is always the sitar and tabla, and historical spots as the Gandhi memorial. In Nepal, they will be meeting traditional folk musicians.

Even our neighbours Thailand (Chiang Mai) and Indonesia (Bandung and Bali) will be part of the journey.

Nasir also expects to be joined on various occasion by Malaysian musicians who will be there to share the experience.

As for material for the new album, well, all Nasir says at the moment is that it’s ready.

“We’re just waiting for the right time.”

As a special bonus, joining him on this journey will be pop rock/alternative band Flop Poppy’s frontman Andy, who is expected to co-host a few episodes of the documentary.

“I suppose I could say that I am here to represent the younger generation,” Andy said before leaving with Nasir. “We’re both songwriters, producers and singers so I feel there is a link.”

In fact, his years as a cameraman with the highly reputable National Geographic, before he gave it up to concentrate on Flop Poppy full time, must be of help.

Nevertheless, Andy still feels this journey will be an education for him.

“I get find out how Nasir does his music, and he already knows something about some of the destinations we will visit.

“We will ask each other questions and we can share experiences.”

Like Nasir, Andy, too is set for a new album. He already has a title to it, Cenderajiwa.

It certainly looks like it’s world music in motion with M. Nasir as Destinasi ? Dunia is scheduled to begin airing the first 26 episodes on Astro Ria, starting sometime in December.