Saturday, February 26, 2011

Abbey Road Studios in London, United Kingdom

The Legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, United Kingdom.

Versi Bahasa Melayu 

Sudirman ialah artis pertama dari Asia yang merekodkan lagu Inggeris di Studio Abbey Road, United Kingdom dan memenangi Penghibur Terbaik di Asian Music Awards yang berlangsung di Royal Albert Hall, London pada 1989.

Dia merekodkan album dengan Stock, Aitken dan Waterman (SAW), antara penulis lagu dan produser British terkenal ketika itu.

English Version

Sudirman as the first Asian artiste to record an English single at the illustrious Abbey Road Studios in London, the United Kingdom, Sudirman went on to win Best Performer at the first Asian Music Awards there in 1989.

He recorded an album with Stock, Aitken & Waterman (SAW), one of the most successful British songwriters & producers at the time.

Abbey Road Studios is a recording studio located at 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, City of Westminster, London, England.

It was established in November 1931 by a predecessor of British music company EMI, its present owner.

Apart from the facility's use as a recording studio, the premises have also been used to remaster many of the classical music recordings made at Kingsway Hall.



It is most notable for being the venue in the 1960s for innovative recording techniques adopted by The Beatles, Pink Floyd and others.


Stock, Aitken & Waterman (SAW)

The Beatles on the zebra cross, Abbey Road Studios

Lagu One Thousand Million Smiles yang
dirakamkan di Abbey Road Studios dan
diedarkan sebagai single di Kota London




Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wajah-Wajah Sudirman


Evolusi Penampilan Sudirman Haji Arshad

Sejak Sudirman memenangi Juara Bintang RTM 1976, dia sudah mulai terkenal lebih-lebih lagi dengan gayanya semasa melakukan persembahan. Dan dia sering menukar fesyen rambutnya dari kerinting ke rambut style punk dan kemudian pendek macam rekruit. Begitu juga dengan pakaiannya yang lain dari penyanyi-penyanyi lain di mana dia sendiri yang menjadi pereka fesyen pakaiannya sendiri. Sudir juga sering membuat pembaharuan dari segi persembahannya dan juga pakaian dan rambut. Mungkin kerana itulah dia sering menjadi tumpuan peminat-peminatnya.

Genap 19 Tahun Pemergian Allahyarham Datuk Sudirman Haji Arshad

Sudirman bersama kakaknya Datin Rudiah

Pada tarikh hari ini 19 tahun yang lalu iaitu pada tanggal 22 Februari 1992 kita telah kehilangan sebutir 'Permata Seni' yang sukar dicari ganti Allahyarham Datuk Sudirman Haji Arshad. Pemergian Sudirman pada usia muda iaitu 37 tahun merupakan kehilangan besar buat industri hiburan tanah air.

Pemergiannya diiringi tangisan ribuan peminat setianya yang masih merindui bakatnya sebagai Hero di pentas. Sudirman ketika hayatnya terkenal sebagai seorang Penghibur yang begitu menghargai peminatnya. Setiap surat yang dikirim kepada Sudirman pasti mendapat balasan & kadangkala disertakan gambar Sudirman siap ditandatangan. Begitulah sifat seorang penghibur sejati, beliau pasti tidak mahu menghampakan peminatnya & sikapnya itu membuatkan peminatnya berasa dihargai & lebih dekat dengannya.


Peminatnya juga merupakan mereka yang terdiri dikalangan masyarakat Malaysia dari pelbagai bilang kaum & keturunan antaranya Melayu, Cina & India, sehinggalah beliau layak digelar Ikon 1 Malaysia kerana berjaya menyatupadukan pelbagai kaum duduk dalam satu pentas nyanyian. Yang uniknya mengenai Sudirman, sewaktu persembahan dia pandai mengusik peminatnya dengan gelagatnya yang lucu. Sudirman juga tidak lupa untuk menyelitkan unsur nasihat dalam persembahannya. Beliau juga berbakat melukis potret sambil menyanyi, ini tidak mampu ditiru oleh artis lain. Lagu-lagu dalam shownya bukan tertumpu pada lagu Bahasa Melayu sahaja tetapi juga turut diselitkan lagu Tamil, Kantonis, Inggeris & tak ketinggalan lagu berunsur Patriotik (serta berbaju bendera) yang telah sebati dalam dirinya.

Sudirman bukan sahaja berbakat sebagai penyanyi, beliau juga  memiliki bakat lain antaranya Pelakon, Pelukis, Kartunis, Penulis, Pereka Fesyen (tidak rasmi), Wartawan Sambilan, Penulis Lirik, Penerbit Album, Pengusaha, Peguam & pernah mendapat jolokan 'The Singing Lawyer'. Di penghujung usianya juga beliau pernah bercita-cita untuk menjadi Pengarah Filem. Sudirman boleh menyanyikan lagu dari pelbagai rentak dengan begitu baik sekali, tak kiralah samada lagu pop, rock, traditional, sentimental malah berentak Broadway. Sepanjang kariernya dia begitu komited & mahu terlibat sama dalam kerja-kerja belakang tabir di setiap shownya termasuklah menyediakan prop yang dibawa sendiri dari rumahnya. Beliau begitu menitikberatkan kepuasan penontonnya. Begitulah Sudirman seorang Penghibur yang versatile.

Kemuncak kejayaan Sudirman adalah apabila beliau dinobatkan sebagai Penghibur No.1 Asia di pentas berprestij Royal Albert Hall, London pada 19 Mac 1989 dalam pertandingan "Asian Popular Music Award". Kejayaan itu menjulang nama Malaysia di persada antarabangsa. Sudirman telah menewaskan pesaing-pesaingnya iaitu artis-artis ternama dari beberapa negara Asia yang jauh lebih hebat popularitinya antaranya, Anita Sarawak (Singapura), Kuh Ledesma (Filipina), Leslie Cheung (Hong Kong), Anchalee (Thailand), Chyi Chin (Taiwan), Cui Jian (China), Epo (Jepun) & Koo Chang Moo (Korea).

Namun segalanya berakhir apabila Sudirman pergi buat selama-lamanya menyahut seruan Illahi pada tanggal 22 Februari 1992. Sudirman kekal menjadi sumber inspirasi kepada sesiapa sahaja yang mahu berjaya & legasi yang ditinggalkan terus dikenang sehingga kini. Sehingga saat ini masih belum ada lagi artis yang mampu menyaingi kehebatan Sudirman sebagai Hero di pentas. Sudirman telah mencipta penanda arasnya yang tersendiri & beliau kekal sebagai penghibur yang sukar dicari ganti. Semoga Roh Allahyarham Datuk Sudirman Haji Arshad dicucuri Rahmat & ditempatkan dikalangan orang-orang yang beriman & beramal Soleh, Al-Fatihah.

Allahyarham Datuk Sudirman Haji Arshad
(25 Mei 1954-22 Februari 1992)
Al-Fatihah


Pusara Allahyarham Datuk Sudirman Haji Arshad
yang sunyi & hening



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Metro Ahad: Belum berganti

Gerard Benedict, Datin Rodziah & Dani'el Dharanee Kannan

BIARPUN 19 tahun dia meninggalkan kita, Allahyarham Sudirman Arshad terus segar dalam ingatan. Pesona dan aura penghibur prolifik ini masih hidup hingga ke hari ini, bahkan bukan sesuatu yang luar biasa jika anak kecil menyanyikan lagunya. Kehebatan anak jati Temerloh, Pahang ini tiada ganti.

Peguam, penyanyi, hos, penulis, kartunis, pelakon dan usahawan ini menjadi fenomena industri seni tanah air pada penghujung 1980-an. Dia digilai ramai bukan saja di Malaysia, bahkan menjadi sebutan di Asia.

Kagum dengan kehebatan penyanyi legenda ini, AETN All Asia Networks dan Finas menerbitkan dokumentari Sudirman Arshad yang akan ke udara malam ini di saluran History (Astro saluran 555).

Biografi berdurasi sejam itu membawa penonton melihat dari dekat kehidupan sebenar penghibur kesayangan ramai itu dari zaman kanak-kanak hinggalah bergelar penyanyi yang kemudian mengejutkan negara dengan berita kematiannya pada usia 37 tahun pada 1992.

Dialah raja pentas, hingga kini belum ada yang mampu menandingi bakat, kreativiti dan disiplinnya. Dialah artis Asia pertama yang merekodkan single berbahasa Inggeris di Abbey Road Studios, United Kingdom dan memenangi Penghibur Terbaik di Asian Music Awards yang berlangsung di Royal Albert Hall, London pada 1989.

Di sebalik kegemilangan dan glamor dinikmati, Sudirman bergelut dengan kehidupan peribadi yang menyentuh emosi. Kehilangan ibu pada usia muda dan kegagalan rumah tangga memberi kesan besar dalam kanvas hidupnya.

Segala tutur kata, perlakuan, keputusan dan kisah suka dukanya masih terpahat utuh di hati mereka yang rapat dengannya.

Sisi peribadi ikon negara yang tidak pernah jemu mencari kesempurnaan dalam setiap kerjanya ini dapat diikuti menerusi wawancara bersama teman rapat, orang kuat industri rakaman dan media, termasuk Bahyah Mahmood, Beh Suat Pheng dan Daniel Dharanee Kannan.

Penghasilan dokumentari ini menjadi jambatan rindu buat keluarga Allahyarham. Kakaknya, Datin Rudiah Arshad berkata, kering sudah air matanya melihat Sudirman. Hatinya tersentuh, bahkan bagai terbayang adiknya ada di depan mata.

“Selepas melihat dokumentari ini saya menghubungi penerbitnya, Gerard Benedict untuk mengucapkan terima kasih. Cucu saya yang berusia enam tahun pun menangis sama. Dia tanya kenapa dia lahir lambat, tak sempat jumpa Tok Man (Sudirman).

“Gerard ada memujuk saya untuk terbabit sama dalam program ini tetapi saya tidak mahu diwawancara. Kalau tanya mengenai Sudirman, saya akan cakap yang baik mengenainya, jadi ada baiknya biar orang lain saja yang bercerita mengenainya. Jujur, saya puji dia bukan sebab dia adik saya tetapi sememangnya dia insan yang sangat baik hati. Di rumah dia memang adik saya, tetapi di atas pentas dia hak orang ramai.

“Cepat sungguh masa berlalu, pejam celik pejam celik sudah 19 tahun dia meninggal dunia. Paling buat saya tersentuh hati apabila setiap kali nampak teksi lalu depan rumah. Ketika arwah masih ada, dia selalu datang ke rumah saya dengan menaiki teksi. Jika duduk di rumah dan teksi lalu, hati saya sangat sayu sebab dia tidak ada dalam teksi itu,” katanya yang hadir sama ketika prebiu tayangan Sudirman Arshad baru-baru ini.

Selain ke udara malam ini, Sudirman Arshad akan diulang tayang pada 22 Februari, jam 11 malam, 23 Februari (9 malam), 1 Mac (7 malam), 11 Mac (11 malam) dan 13 Mac (7 malam).

INFO

Sudirman merakam 20 album dan 70 lagu sepanjang kerjayanya sebagai penyanyi.

Dia juga popular di Singapura, Brunei dan Indonesia, malah pernah mengadakan persembahan di Hawaii, Melbourne, Tokyo, Dubai, London serta Russia.

Lagu Merisik Khabar dendangannya berada di kedudukan teratas carta di Malaysia, Indonesia dan Brunei dan bertahan nombor satu selama dua bulan. Lagu lain dalam album sama juga berada di kedudukan teratas carta lagu.

Dia merekodkan album dengan Stock, Altken dan Waterman (SAW), antara penulis lagu dan produser British terkenal ketika itu.

Konsert Chow Kit Road disaksikan kira-kira 100,000 penonton. Ia menjadi sejarah dalam dunia hiburan tanah air.

Ibu Sudirman ahli politik wanita yang disegani.

Berita Minggu: ‘Tak henti menangis terkenang Sudir’


Kakak penghibur nasional akui dokumentari menarik

SELEPAS menyiarkan paparan istimewa Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan Allahyarham Tan Sri P Ramlee, saluran History (Astro 555) mulai hari ini cuba mengimbas kembali sorotan kejayaan, suka duka, memori dan kisah cinta ikon hiburan terkenal tanah air, Allahyarham Datuk Sudirman Arshad dalam sebuah episod biografi istimewa selama sejam.

Ia bersesuaian dengan genap 19 tahun pemergian lagenda yang pernah mendapat gelaran Penyanyi Peguam itu pada 22 Februari 1992. Penyanyi Lelaki Popular, Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 1989 ini masih berbekas di hati peminat yang cukup menyanjungi bakat dan kerendahan hatinya.

Biografi yang bersiaran jam 10 malam ini dihasilkan AETN All Asia Networks dengan kerjasama Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia (FINAS). Gerard Benedict diberi mandat sebagai penerbit. Selain memaparkan temubual bersama bekas pengurus dan teman baik Allahyarham, biografi ini cukup indah memaparkan perkahwinan pertama Allahyarham dengan Kamariah Jamaludin yang dikenali dengan panggilan Kay. Kay adalah cinta pertama dan terakhir Allahyarham.


Gerard Benedict
(Penerbit Dokumentari Sudirman)


‘IDEA ini sebenarnya sudah tercetus sejak 10 tahun lalu. Ada perbincangan dilakukan dengan teman baik Allahyarham seperti Bahyah Mahmod, Saodah Ismail dan ramai lagi. Bincang punya bincang tetapi tidak jadi juga akhirnya. Sampai tahun lalu kita mencadangkan balik hal ini. Pihak kami juga cuba berunding dengan kakak Allahyarham, Datin Rodziah Arshad.

Bagaimanapun, kakak Allahyarham menolak dan memahami niatnya supaya sudut pandangan mengenai Sudirman dihalakan kepada orang luar dan bukannya ahli keluarga sendiri. Saya pernah melakukan dokumentari sebelum ini dan memang ada keluarga yang enggan ditemubual. Akhirnya saya menyedari memang lebih baik jika orang luar saja memberi komen. Kami bertuah kerana selain mendapat komen daripada teman rapat Allahyarham, kami juga berpeluang menemubual peserta dari Filipina, Kuh Ledesma yang pernah bersaing dengannya di Asia Music Award 1989 di Royal Albert Hall, London. Begitu juga dengan penganjur anugerah terbabit, Simon Napier Bell yang pernah menguruskan George Michael dan kumpulan Boney M. Biografi ini lebih menyorot mengenai Sudirman sendiri dalam melalui pahit getir, kesusahan dan cabaran bergelar manusia dan anak seni. Pembikinan biografi ini dimulakan selama lima bulan sejak Ogos tahun lalu.”

Datin Rodziah Arshad
(Kakak Allahyarham Sudirman)


“SAYA diberi peluang untuk menonton dokumentari ini terlebih dulu dan pada pengamatan saya ia cukup menarik. Saya tak henti menangis. Malah, cucu saya yang berusia enam tahun pun menangis sama. Malah selamba dia cakap, kenapa dia tidak dilahirkan awal untuk mengenali Sudirman ketika hayatnya masih ada. Perasaan bersalah pun melingkari perasaan saya terhadap penerbit dokumentari ini (merujuk kepada Gerard) kerana beberapa kali saya mengecewakan permintaannya untuk tidak ditemu bual. Terutama, mengenai kisah Allahyarham ketika kecil. Apa-apapun, saya berterima kasih kepada Gerard, AETN All Asia Networks dan FINAS kerana menghasilkan dokumentari ini.

“Tiada kata secantik bahasa dan tiada gambar lukisan antara gambaran perasaan saya terhadap penghasilan biografi yang cukup indah ini. Setiap hari saya mengenang ketiadaan Allahyarham dan sedekahkan Al-Fatihah. Apabila saya masak menu sambal tumis, ingatan itu pantas ke arahnya kerana masakan itu antara kegemarannya. Sebagai kakak, saya yakin bukan gelaran atau pangkat datuk yang diharapkan tetapi lebih kepada apa yang disumbangkan Allahyarham.”


Razman Azrai Zainudin atau Atai
(Anak buah Allahyarham Sudirman)


“SAYA amat hargai usaha yang dilakukan pihak AETN All Asia Networks dan FINAS ini. Ikutkan memang terlalu banyak kenangan indah yang pernah saya lalui bersama Allahyarham. Saya juga pernah mengikutnya membuat persembahan. Ketika remaja, Allahyarham yang banyak menjaga saya. Allahyarham turut mengajar saya belajar dan menyanyi. Teringat lagi kenangan Allahyarham melakar peta geografi untuk saya. Allahyarham boleh saya sifatkan sebagai seorang yang kuat bekerja. 24 jam fikirannya hanya pada kerja. Selalunya sehari sebelum terbabit dengan persembahan, Allahyarham membuat persiapan rapi. Allahyarham juga lebih suka memendam masalah yang dilaluinya termasuk episod duka apabila perkahwinannya berakhir. Allahyarham akan buat-buat sibuk dengan bekerja. Setahu saya, Allahyarham ada berkenalan dengan perempuan lain tetapi semuanya tidak berpanjangan. Yang pasti cintanya terhadap bekas isteri kekal hingga akhir hayat. Tidak pernah berubah walau seinci pun.”

Larry Yusof
(Pengurus Strategik Domestik Warner Music)


“SAYA mengenali Allahyarham selama 10 tahun ketika bekerja sebagai eksekutif pemasaran di syarikat rakaman EMI. Apa yang dapat saya katakan, Allahyarham seorang yang kreatif, rajin dan kuat berusaha. Bayangkan dia sanggup menyewa lori dengan duit sendiri untuk mengangkut katil ketika membuat persembahan di RTM. Pernah kami bersama dari Kuala Lumpur sanggup ke Lapangan Terbang Subang semata-mata mahu makan roti canai di sana. Allahyarham pun seperti saya, tidak memandu kereta. Allahyarham gemarkan masakan sambal telur. Allahyarham juga tidak gemar berkongsi hal peribadi. Selalunya, hal peribadinya sering dikongsi bersama kakak, pengurus dan teman baiknya.”

Info menarik Sudirman

* DATUK Sudirman Arshad dilahirkan di Temerloh Pahang, pada 25 Mei 1954. Meninggal dunia pada 22 Februari 1992 di Kuala Lumpur. Dikenali sebagai penghibur, penyanyi, penulis lagu dan kartunis. Beliau juga turut diberikan jolokan sebagai Penyanyi Peguam, Penyanyi Rakyat dan Elvis Malaysia.

* Anak bongsu daripada tujuh beradik bagi pasangan Arshad Hassan dan Ramlah Dahlan. Allahyarham ibunya adalah wakil rakyat wanita pertama di Pahang ketika tahun 1950-an. Sudirman amat meminati nyanyian dan sebagai penghibur sejak usia muda lagi apabila adik beradik dan jirannya gembira serta terhibur dengan aksi ditunjukkannya.

* Dia menolak tawaran biasiswa untuk melanjutkan pengajiannya dalam bidang perubatan. Sebaliknya, Sudirman memilih pengajian undang undang dan berjaya memperolehi ijazah sarjana muda dalam bidang itu di Universiti Malaya. Beliau berkahwin dengan Kamariah Jamaluddin pada 1981 tetapi bercerai tiga tahun kemudiannya.

* Tiga lagu nyanyiannya - Merisik Khabar, Milik Siapakah Gadis Ini dan Salam Terakhir meletakkan Sudirman sebagai penyanyi amat popular di kalangan peminat muzik di Malaysia, Brunei dan Indonesia.

* Setiap kali Aidilfitri, musim cuti sekolah atau bulan sambutan kemerdekaan, suaranya berkumandang di radio dengan lagu Anak Desa, Balik Kampung, Basikal Tua dan Tanggal 31.

* Sudirman pernah menerbitkan album untuk anak saudara kesayangannya, Razman Azrai atau Atai di bawah label Sudirman Productions. Pada April 1983, Sudirman menyanyikan lagu khas untuk Puan Sri Saloma berjudul Mama.

* Pada 15 April 1986, Sudirman mengadakan konsert terbuka di Jalan Chow Kit. Ia adalah konsert pertama diadakan di sebatang jalan terbuka dan disaksikan kira-kira 100,000 orang. Persembahan pada malam Isnin itu menyebabkan kesesakan di Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Raja Muda hingga Jalan Raja Alang.

* Pada 1989, Sudirman memenangi gelaran Penghibur Terbaik pada pertandingan Anugerah Muzik Asia di Royal Albert Hall, London. Pertandingan itu turut disertai oleh penyanyi terbaik dari Asia seperti Leslie Cheung mewakili Hong Kong, Anita Sarawak (Singapura), Epo (Jepun) dan penyanyi jazz terkenal Filipina, Kuh Ledesma.

* Sudirman juga pernah berlakon dalam filem Kami pada 1982 dan menjadi pengacara gameshow untuk sebuah program TV iaitu Keluarga Bahagia Singer.

* Sudirman menjadi penyanyi Malaysia pertama ditonjolkan sebagai seorang usahawan berjaya menerusi minuman ringan yang menggunakan jenama SUDI. Sudirman kemudian membuka francais pakaian iaitu Sudir Shoppe dan Restoran Sudi. Dia juga menjadi penyanyi Malaysia pertama menjadi penghias kulit muka depan majalah Malaysian Business dan Asian Business.

* Sudirman dipilih sebagai Duta Nyanyian Malaysia oleh Lembaga Pembangunan Pelancongan Malaysia (MTDC). Sebagai duta, dia menyanyikan lagu khas MTDC iaitu To Know Malaysia is To love Malaysia yang dicipta penyanyi dan pemuzik Amerika yang pernah mendapat pencalonan untuk anugerah Emmy, Grammy dan Oscar iaitu Carol Connors.

* ATAS sumbangan dan jasa besarnya kepada bangsa dan negara, Sudirman dianugerahkan pingat Ahli Mangku Negara (AMN) oleh Yang di-Pertuan Agong pada 1988, Ahli Mahkota Pahang (daripada Sultan Pahang pada 1990), Johan Mangku Negara (daripada Yang diPertuan Agong pada 1992) dan Darjah Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang (DSAP) yang membawa gelaran Datuk sempena ulang tahun Hari Keputeraan ke-78 Sultan Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah pada 24 Oktober 2009.

The Malay Mail: Remembering a legend


THE late Sudirman may be Malaysia's legendary pop star. Not only did he have big dreams but he was a unique and determined man.

With songs that strike a chord with every Malaysian, whether they are rich or poor, Sudirman sung songs that spoke about everyday people and their lives.

Recently, AETN All Asia Networks collaborated with the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), to share with viewers the leg­endary story of the talented Sudirman Arshad via the History Channel (Astro 555).

Although Sudirman lived a hard childhood life, that experience was enough to fuel his journey to stardom in the coming years ahead.

He became a creative force that could not be capped, adamant and above all, presented himself effica­ciously.

Known for his skills to perform clas­sic Malay songs and later with the influence of Hollywood Broadway songs, Sudirman gave his audience a wonderful blend of entertainment in the late '80s that escalated his popu­larity to great heights.

"Sudirman is a true Malaysian icon whose legendary talents are loved throughout the region. Despite his personal struggles, he managed to achieve stardom in the short span of his career.

"Many people will be able to identify with his life story, thereby making his achievements all the more admirable. We are very pleased to have been able to collaborate with FINAS, and their support has helped us do justice in the retelling of this legend's story," said Louis Bo­swell, general manager of AETN All Asia Networks.

As many would know, Sudirman was not only a brilliant singer but he also dabbled in acting, hosting as well as being an avid cartoonist during his career as a celebrity.

"FINAS is very proud to be part of this inspiring production. Sudirman was a professional artiste who lived, worked and ultimately died for his craft, his country and his fans.

"He changed the Malaysian entertainment industry with his quirky fashion sense and charismatic on-stage perfor­mance never before seen in Malaysia. This documentary aptly reveals why Sudirman was so well-loved and why his legend will continue to live on," said Mohd Mahyidin Mustakim, director general of FINAS.

 Having created many his­torical moments during his life as an all-rounded artiste; not only was he the first Malaysian to perform at London's Royal Albert Hall, which he took home the trophy for Best Singer during the Inaugural Asian Popular Music Awards in 1989 but Sudirman also made history when he was and has always been the only Malaysian entertainer to have a 'live' concert at the popular Chow Kit Road.

Step into the life of Sudirman Ar­shad as we follow his journey as Ma­laysia's most remembered talent on History Channel (Astro 555) premier­ing this Sunday at 10pm.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Star: Story of a superstar


Sudirman Arshad will remind viewers of the greatness of a national icon.

PUTTING together Sudirman Arshad was never going to be easy, given the well-known state of archiving in Malaysia, particularly, but director Gerard Benedict of production house Code Computer Design was up to the challenge from the get-go.

“The first thing we did was contact a whole array of personalities and music professionals who had worked with Sudir. These included journalists, record company representatives, his music directors/musicians, managers, lyricists, television producer, publisher and even the director of his only film (Kami). Since each interviewee had been with him during a certain phase of his career, they could bring to the story some unique accounts of their experiences with him, working with him and their opinion of him,” he said, thus providing multiple angles to the story.
 
Getting the right people didn’t guarantee that the job got done, though. Some were hesitant to talk and, in fact, his family even politely declined to be interviewed, apart from his sister Datin Rudiah Haji. “Anyone attempting to do a story on Sudirman’s life will face the unenviable task of having to address the mystery, controversy and speculation surrounding his death,” said Benedict. The documentary tastefully evades directly talking about his illness but first-person accounts put a touching, truthful, but not over-the-top revelation of the circumstances.

Surprisingly and fortunately, sourcing material wasn’t really a problem for the production team. Benedict and his crew could draw upon a lot of archival material – apart from his early concert performances – from local newspapers and terrestrial TV stations RTM and TV3.

A total of 22 songs were used in the documentary, with consent from his record label EMI, though the team wasn’t as lucky with childhood pictures of the singer, and those of his father and mother, acquiring only one each.

As a Sudirman fan himself, Benedict felt honoured to direct the documentary but did so with a heavy sense of responsibility on his shoulders. “He was a national icon, a great Malaysian entertainer, so we had to tread very carefully to ensure that we reproduced his story accurately and professionally, and in keeping with his stature,” he said, ruing not having met the man or been to any of his live performances.

“I felt that I was singled out to tell his story. Ten years ago, I thought of making a telemovie of his life, but after our initial research, it didn’t seem possible so we abandoned the idea,” said Benedict.

Coupled with the fact that local producers are rarely given opportunities to produce quality documentaries for local broadcast, a Sudirman documentary just didn’t seem feasible. Last year, though, Benedict had the perfect opportunity, given the joint initiative between Finas and AETN All Asia Networks, which owns and operates the History channel on Astro.

The younger generation has grown up not knowing about Sudirman.

“With this documentary, they will know the man. They will know that he is in a class of his own. Yes, he too sang Malay pop songs, but unlike the current crop of Malaysian singers, Sudirman was a total giver to his audience and fans. He literally worked day and night planning his shows and his repertoire to perfection,” said Benedict.
 
While making the documentary, one of the most pleasant things Benedict learnt about Sudirman was his extensive library of audio/visual and literary material. “He watched and learnt from artistes like Sammy Davis Jr, Joel Grey and the Nicholas Brothers. He also had musicals like Cats. We must remember that all this was happening before personal computers and the Internet age, so knowing and obtaining such material couldn’t have been that easy for him.”

Benedict also learnt of Sudirman’s painstaking attention to detail, his pursuit of excellence and his desire to cut across all racial and religious boundaries. And in the entire process, Benedict has come to understand who and what Sudirman was to this country.

“To me, Sudirman was part of a rare breed of truly great people in the world who, in their lifetime, etched another piece of history for their country.”

A Small Man Who Dreamt Big

Showbiz extraordinaire Datuk Sudirman Haji Arshad’s songs delighted Malaysians of all creeds and colours.

TODAY, few artistes would dare attempt something as audacious as organise a giant concert in one of the major arteries of Kuala Lumpur’s busy thoroughfare. In fact, back in the 1980s, fewer would’ve fathomed staging an event of such magnitude in Chow Kit Road.

But Datuk Sudirman Haji Arshad did, and successfully pulled off an iconic show on April 15, 1986. One of Malaysia’s greatest ever entertainers, the star was never restrained by convention. For a small man, he dared to dream big, and only the sky and his maker’s wishes were his limits.
 
The story of the nation’s most well-loved lawyer, television host, writer, cartoonist, actor and entrepreneur earns a long-overdue telling in the documentary Sudirman Arshad, a production by the TV channel History, in collaboration with the National Film Develop­ment Corporation (Finas).


The hour-long programme brings together some of the diminutive dynamite’s glorious moments – his early days as a Bintang RTM winner in 1976, his first movie Kami in 1982, the landmark Chow Kit concert which saw 100,000 Malaysians of all races and walks of life celebrating the sense of nationalism in his songs and, of course, the magical night in March 1989 when he won the coveted Salem Asian Music Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London while up against heavyweights of the time like the Las Vegas-based Anita Sarawak of Sing­apore, Hong Kong’s Leslie Cheung, Taiwan’s Chyi Chin and China’s Cui Jian.

Sudirman Arshad isn’t merely about rolling out the credits for the Temerloh, Pahang-born entertainer. It tells the story of a man who was touched by a higher force, and shared his gift of music and love with every Malaysian, regardless of race, religion or creed, all crystallised through a rare humility in the entertainment industry.

The Person

Sudirman’s biggest supporter and ever-faithful sibling, Datin Rudiah Haji Arshad, couldn’t have described him better by revealing his obliging nature. “When people asked, he would definitely help. It’s hard for me to say these things without sounding like his sister, but he really was a very caring person. If I wasn’t feeling too well, he’d quickly come up to me and massage me ... or just chit-chat to keep me company,” she said during the recent launch of the documentary in Kuala Lumpur, which saw the coming together of former manager Daniel Dharanee Kannan, former record label EMI managing director Beh Suat Pheng and former long-standing dancer Joanne Ng, among others.

His humility was perhaps his greatest asset. After having the pleasure of working with him as his manager for nearly five years, Dharanee qualifies as an observer: “Sudirman did not see colour or religiousness. He was genuine, humble, and always warm and welcoming. His fans were Malays, Indians, Chinese and Sikhs, and came from all walks of life. They all just wanted to come and see this five-foot-odd performer perform – that’s all.”
 
And he practised what he preached by singing songs in not only the national language, but various Chinese dialects, Tamil, East Malaysian dialects, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean and, of course, English.

Sudirman is not alone in this ability to transcend racial and religious barriers, as Dharanee pointed out – Tan Sri P. Ramlee, director Yasmin Ahmad and producer/arranger Roslan Aziz have all plied a similar route, and acquired similarly startling results.

His care and concern for his fans truly went the extra mile, too, especially since he would make sure (as far as possible) his concerts were sponsored events, so that fans could attend his shows for free. Dharanee remembers that following the singer’s success at the Asian Music Awards, a show was staged somewhere in the boondocks of Pahang where Sudirman merely charged the village folk RM5 per person to watch him perform.

And true to his nature, Sudirman impressed upon his manager that although the audience paid such a meagre sum, they had to be treated to a show worth RM50,000, because he was acutely aware that RM5 was hard to come by for them, and yet, they chose to spend it on a Sudirman concert.

Signing autographs – even if he felt was a chore – was a responsibility he undertook willingly. “He would sign every autograph, never refuse anyone who wanted to take a picture with him, always have a warm welcoming smile and was always humble ... to a fault, since people took advantage of him,” Dharanee shared.

Joanne Ng – who was part of Sudirman’s dance troupe, which he affectionately referred to as his “dancing girls” – has fond memories of the man ’s humility and his fun side. “Sudir never forced anyone to do anything they were not comfortable with, yet, the whole team of musicians, singers and dancers always gave him their 100% because when you see someone work so hard at their craft, you automatically want to match them and not disappoint them,” she said.

“In spite of his superstar status, Sudir was always very respectful of everyone on his team because he appreciated our contributions and that was pretty awesome. Besides, it was always crazy fun performing with Sudirman,” she added.

The Entertainer

Even as a tiny tot, Sudirman quickly earned a reputation for being a committed performer. Settling for second best would never do, and his creative drive took him to the top of the pile. As a child, he would sing, dance and play-act for his adoring family members and neighbours, naturally making him the livewire of any function or social event.
 
“He loved to entertain us. We’d deliberately sing out of pitch to annoy him and, naturally, he’d chide us for being out of tune,” Rudiah recalled with a hearty laugh. “But even at that age, I could tell that he always sang from his heart. Some singers sing to show their vocal ability, but Sudir did so to show his heart. His feel for his songs was just great.”

Rudiah also revealed that Sudir got preferential treatment from their parents Haji Arshad Hassan and Ramlah Dahlan (the first state assemblywoman in Pahang during the 1950s) since he was the youngest of seven siblings.

Sudirman developed his distinct piercing tenor during his formative teen years and would hone that ability to perfection. Landing the top prize in the Best Singer category of the Bintang RTM competition in 1976 was almost obligatory, and from there, he went from strength to strength, earning accolades in the 1980s for Best Performer on TV3’s Muzik Muzik programme and Berita Harian’s Most Popular Artiste in a popularity contest organised by the Malay daily.

His star truly burned bright when, in 1983, he infiltrated the swankiest club in Kuala Lumpur at the time, Hilton Hotel’s The Paddock, which was privy to only foreign acts then. Being the ambassador for major companies such as Proton and Malaysian Airlines simply added more feathers to his cap.

At the height of his career in the 1980s, he peddled hit after hit with the likes of Merisik Khabar, Milik Siapakah Gadis Ini, Salam Terakhir, Balik Kampung, Basikal Tua and many more. His performances were always a delight to watch, not least because of his natty dressing, spectacular showmanship and slick dance moves. It’s an understatement to say Sudirman was a household name.

When 100,000 Malaysians jammed Chow Kit Road (now Jalan Chow Kit) in 1986, it confirmed Sudirman as a bona fide superstar of unprecedented proportions. No artiste had ever done something as exceptional as this. He made the show that much more special by making his grand entrance being lowered down by a crane’s lift. This was a master craftsman in his element, one who always wowed an audience.
 
“The crowds gathered as early as 5pm to claim their places in front of the stage. The atmosphere turned electrifying and festive as soon as Sudir emerged with a medley of some of his popular hits. The public was totally engaged in the performance and readily sang along,” recalled dancer Ng.

“Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman was chock-a-block with people as far as the eye could see and people were hanging out of shop win­­dows, sitting on tree branches and even watching from rooftops. I believe the fans were entertained from start to end, and everyone was well-behaved so this is testament to the command that Sudir had over his audience, even at a concert of this magnitude.”

His most glorious moment would arrive in early 1989, in winning the Asian Music Awards. “Winning as Asia’s best performer was as if God had said to him: ‘Sudirman, this is your script, you would be the best in Asia and your spirit will live on forever,’ ” Dharanee related.

But the competition didn’t come without its nerve-wracking moments. “To be honest, even though I believed in him so much, I wasn’t 100% sure myself,” said his former manager. Dharanee perhaps had reason to be concerned because Sudirman was up against the best in the region, including Japan’s Epo, Anchalee from Thailand, Koo Chang Moo from South Korea and Kuh Ledesma from the Philippines.

Firstly, Surdirman’s contingent only submitted their second song – the Paul Ponnudurai-penned and Michael Veerapen-composed A Thousand Million Smiles – to the London-based orchestra mere days before the event. Then there was the awkward moment when musical director Veerapen learned at the final hour that his passport would not be valid for the trip but adversity was soon overcome with a quick phone call to the Malaysian Immigration Depart­ment, who solved the team’s conundrum in a flash, courtesy of Sudirman’s star power.

Though the going was tough, there were some coincidences that spelt good news for Sudirman. Legendary artiste manager and music promoter Mike Bernie Chin – Sudirman’s previous manager – bumped into him and Dharanee one day. “Mike gave Sudir a big hug and said: ‘You will win, Sudir, go with confidence.’ And that was the night we caught the Malaysian Airlines flight to London,” Dharanee recalled. Then in London, prior to the competition, Leslie Cheung proposed a toast to Sudir­man, as if to herald his Malaysian counterpart’s imminent victory.

On the night of the performance, Sudirman merely got 30% of his choreography right, yet when it came to announcing the winner, chief judge for the event, Peter Jamieson announced that there was a clear winner. And the rest, as they say, is history.

And in true Sudirman style, he dedicated the win to his country and his mentor, then-Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
 
Despite his success stories, Sudirman remained a kampung boy at heart who enjoyed the simple things in life and basked in the love and joy his fans showered on him. All he wanted to do was entertain, and that he certainly did ... and with aplomb, too.

Malaysians have so many lasting memories of him – draped in his beloved Malaysia flag, on the RTM TV programme Puspawarna and his performance of the truly Asian One Thousand Million Smiles at the Royal Albert Hall.

Then there were the charming moments when he sang Bread’s If while painting the portrait of a fan and his onstage transformation from Sudirman into silver screen comedian from the silent movie era of Charlie Chaplin. He took our breath away with this show-stopper, and did the same to the judges at the Asian Music Awards, with a previously perfected routine which won him the title, even though it was only the first half of his performance.

It was his sense of perfection which earned him the most plaudits from his co-workers. “Details were everything to him, and it’s not uncommon for him to stay up nights working through his ideas. He would take into account almost every aspect of the performance, from the way the music was played to the quality of the sound system, the lighting, our costumes and just how every member of the team performed,” Ng elaborated.

His work ethic inspired those around him. “His desire to make things bigger and better, his high standards and ‘nothing-is-impossible’ attitude distinguished him from others,” she added.

Sudirman was also way ahead of his time. “He knew very early on that when people buy your products (CDs, cassettes, vinyl), especially music, then they would probably be potential live audiences for your shows. He understood that you have to be a visual performer and can’t just stand there and sing,” intimated Dharanee.
 

Likewise, his expansion plans into merchandising. Sudirman invested in canned drinks under the Sudi banner as well as a range of clothing apparel.

To this day, his death is shrouded in mystery, though the circumstances have been an open secret. While performing a show in Butterworth, Penang, he collapsed from an apparent stroke and never performed again through the months leading up to his end. The official cause of death is said to be cerebrovascular disease. But to ponder on his demise is missing the point.

Sudirman checked into this world on May 25, 1954, and checked out on Feb 22, 1992. All he had was 37 brief years, yet his legacy and love reverberates through every sinew of Malaysia’s modern entertainment culture, even if it doesn’t get the acknowledgement it should.

Some individuals simply defy words – entertainers like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Sudirman are in a league of their own. And fortunately for us all, they chose us to entertain, and the world has been a better place for it. Their presence is sorely missed and their absence, painfully felt, but the memory of the departed lives on.

Sudirman Arshad premieres on Sunday on History (Astro Channel 555) at 10pm. Encores are on Feb 22 (11pm), Feb 23 (9pm), March 1 (7pm), March 11 (11pm) and March 13 (7pm).

Kosmo: Dokumentari Sudirman di History

BARISAN tenaga produksi, ahli keluarga Sudirman dan wakil Astro
bergambar pada majlis pelancaran dokumentari Sudirman Arshad.

TANGGAL 22 Februari 1992 menyaksikan negara telah kehilangan satu permata yang cukup bersinar dalam industri hiburan tanah air iaitu Allahyarham Datuk Sudirman Haji Arshad.

Bagi generasi yang lahir pada era 90-an, mungkin mereka tidak terlalu mengenalinya. Ada segelintir yang mengenalinya sebagai seorang penyanyi sahaja rentetan lagu-lagu yang sering menjadi siulan seperti Merisik Khabar, Salam Terakhir, Balik Kampung serta banyak lagi.

Namun siapa sangka kerana insan istimewa yang lahir pada 25 Mei 1954 di Temerloh, Pahang itu sebenarnya merupakan seorang peguam, penghibur, pelakon, penulis, pelukis, usahawan dan pengarang. Lebih menarik lagi, Allahyarham turut dikenali di kalangan pelbagai kaum di negara ini seperti Melayu, Cina dan India.

Pernah membuat konsert secara percuma di Chow Kit Road, Kuala Lumpur dengan disaksikan 100,000 peminat serta dinobatkan selaku Penghibur Terbaik Asia ketika membuat persembahan di Royal Albert Hall, London pada tahun 1989, itu adalah antara kenangan paling manis untuk dikaitkan dengan penghibur yang cukup versatil itu.

Bagi mengenang kembali individu yang pernah mengharumkan nama Malaysia itu, AETN All Asia Network telah mengambil inisiatif untuk menerbitkan satu dokumentari khas berjudul Sudirman Arshad.

Mendapat kerjasama dengan Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional (Finas), dokumentari berkenaan mengimbas kembali detik pahit dan manis serta liku-liku yang terpaksa dilaluinya sepanjang menjadi penghibur tersohor negara. 

Pengurus Besar AETN, Louis Boswell melahirkan rasa gembiranya apabila berjaya menghasilkan sebuah dokumentari penghibur terkenal yang pernah dilahirkan di negara ini.

“Pada saya Sudirman adalah ikon rakyat Malaysia dan sudah tentu ramai yang ingin mengenalinya dengan lebih dekat lagi,” ujarnya pada majlis pelancaran program itu baru-baru ini.

Bagi Gerard Benedict yang bertindak sebagai pengarah, apa yang dipaparkan dalam dokumentari berkenaan tidak terlalu tertumpu kepada kejayaan yang diraih oleh penghibur yang berkelulusan Ijazah Sarjana Muda Undang-Undang dari Universiti Malaya itu.

“Rasanya semua orang sudah tahu tentang kejayaan yang diraih oleh Sudirman sepanjang menjadi penghibur. Jadi kami lebih menumpukan kepada kisah pahit getir serta cabaran yang terpaksa dilalui oleh Sudirman sehinggalah namanya terkenal di peringkat antarabangsa,” ujarnya.

Menurutnya lagi, idea untuk menghasilkan dokumentari itu muncul pada 10 tahun yang lalu setelah berjumpa dengan beberapa individu yang rapat dengan Allahyarham seperti Habsah Hassan, Bahyah Mahmood dan Manan Ngah.

Bagaimanapun, ia tidak dapat dihasilkan kerana beberapa sebab dan barulah kini ia dapat direalisasikan.

Sesuatu yang agak menarik tentang penerbitan dokumentari Sudirman Arshad yang berdurasi selama sejam itu, sebenarnya tiada langsung penglibatan ahli keluarga Allahyarham. 

Sebaliknya, kisah yang dipaparkan adalah berdasarkan cerita daripada mereka yang agak rapat dengan Allahyarham. Bagaimanapun, dokumentari berkenaan masih lagi tetap menarik untuk ditonton.

Kakak kepada Allahyarham, Datin Rodziah Arshad yang ditemui pada majlis pelancaran dokumentari itu memberitahu bahawa sebelum ini sudah beberapa kali dia dihubungi oleh pihak penerbit untuk meminta kebenarannya menerbitkan dokumentari tersebut.

Tidak Mahu Diwawancara

“Sudah banyak kali mereka menghubungi sehinggalah saya terpaksa mengalah dan bersetuju untuk ia diterbitkan. Namun saya beritahu mereka yang saya tidak mahu diwawancara dalam dokumentari ini.

“Pada saya biarlah orang luar yang menceritakan tentang kisah Allahyarham daripada ahli keluarga sendiri. Kalau saya yang menceritakannya, tentu saya akan memujinya sahaja dan akan ada orang yang anggap saya seperti masuk bakul angkat sendiri nanti kerana dia itu adik saya,” ujarnya.

Menurut Rodziah, dia sendiri meluahkan rasa kegembiraannya setelah menontonnya dan tidak dapat menahan air matanya daripada mengalir. Jelasnya, dia yakin dokumentari yang dihasilkan itu mampu menjadi salah satu bahan untuk masyarakat mengenali Sudirman dengan lebih dekat lagi.

Malah, dia juga memberitahu bahawa mempunyai keinginan untuk menulis sebuah buku yang mengisahkan tentang kisah hidup adiknya.

“Saya sebenarnya memiliki kebolehan untuk menulis dan sekiranya tergerak hati mungkin saya akan menulis cerita mengenai riwayat adik saya itu. Cuma bila hendak menulis tu, saya sendiri tidak tahu hendak memulakannya,” ujarnya yang kini sudah berusia 68 tahun.

Sementara itu, anak saudara Allahyarham, Razman Azrai Zainuddin atau lebih dikenali sebagai Atai, 37, yang ditemui ketika majlis sama memberitahu sehingga kini ingatannya kepada pak cik kesayangannya itu tidak pernah luput.

Sebagai seorang anak saudara yang paling rapat dengan Allahyarham, dia menyatakan bahawa dirinya sangat berbangga dapat memiliki seorang pak cik yang begitu penyayang dan sangat terkenal seperti Sudirman.

“Ketika saya kecil dia banyak membantu saya dari segi pelajaran. Tidak dinafikan bahawa dia adalah sumber inspirasi kepada saya sehingga dapat melanjutkan pelajaran ke peringkat sarjana di luar negara,” ujarnya.

Kini Atai hidup bahagia di samping isteri tersayang, Mazlyn Mena Mustapha, 34, dan seorang anak bernama Mira Razman Azrai yang kini berusia tiga tahun.

Untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut, penonton boleh menyaksikan dokumentari Sudirman Arshad yang akan mula disiarkan pada 20 Februari ini di saluran History 555 Astro pada pukul 10 malam. Manakala Siaran ulangannya pula pada 22 Februari (11 malam), 23 Februari (9 malam), 1 Mac (7 malam), 11 Mac (11 malam) dan 13 Mac (7 malam).