Flautist Perambalam Arumugam’s “Nada Seruling” mixes rap and classical instruments for Merdeka, Malaysia Day (VIDEO)

Music composer Uncle Perul said it was his first time composing a song with Malay multicultural elements. — Photo by Firdaus Latif

By Anne Grace Savitha

Monday, September 12, 2022 1:51 PM MYT

PETALING JAYA, Sep 12 – Malaysian music composer Perambalam Arumugam was unfamiliar with rap music until his daughters suggested it for his latest song Nada Seruling.

The musician, affectionately known to his peers as Uncle Perul, who performed for various artists such as the late Datuk Sharifah Aini, told media he didn’t think rap music would sound so good for his latest music video and his last song.

Incorporating the musical style of Chinese, Indian, Malay and other ethnic groups as well as the short rap segment, Nada Seruling which includes flute, violin and sitar was performed in front of an audience at the launch in Vida Bukit Ceylan.

“The rap music, which I didn’t think could blend in with the classical instrument music, fitted in perfectly and made the whole music video and song so melodious.

“I just celebrated my 60th wedding anniversary this year and my two daughters who are also musicians suggested that I compose a Malaysian music video for Merdeka and Malaysia Day this year.

“I also wanted to compose something different this time – a song that contains elements of a multicultural Malaysia.”

A proud Malaysian, the musician who has composed more than 120 songs throughout his illustrious music career said he wanted to give back to the country with his gift of music.

“What better way to give back to the country, especially after we have all had to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns.

“I love my country and I want to continue playing at this age because we would always learn something new about music every day.”

While the entire music video took two months to produce, it only took him less than two days to compose the song.

The lyrics of the song in Malay were written by Ridzuan Salam of Istana Budaya.

Uncle Perul, 71, who also plays the nadaswaram (Indian trumpet) also dazzled the audience with his rendition of AR Rahman China Chinna Aasai and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai when it launched last Friday.

Accompanied by his daughters who played violin and sitar, the songs were part of his mini performance before the official launch of Nada Seruling.

Uncle Perul played some Tamil and Hindi hits with his two daughters who played sitar and violin.  — Photo by Firdaus Latif.

Uncle Perul played some Tamil and Hindi hits with his two daughters who played sitar and violin. — Photo by Firdaus Latif.

Growing up in Kampung Pandan in Kuala Lumpur, the musician said that when he started playing the flute as a child, his neighbors were “throwing bricks” at his house because of his poor playing.

“But that changed after undergoing years of practice.

“When I stopped playing the flute, they (neighbours) complained and begged me to play more music because it would help them sleep,” he said with a laugh, while reminiscing about his childhood .

The 71-year-old who played for major functions such as the 1989 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) advised aspiring musicians to take professional music lessons if they want to brush up on their musical skills.

“If you want to be a musician, you have to devote your time and effort.

“And by going to a music school, one can get the right qualifications and even earn a good income if they pursue their music career full time.

“There’s nothing like being an overnight sensation just by taking a few music lessons – it takes years to master an instrument.”

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