May 11, 2010

Ramli Sarip Soft edge to hard rocker


Rocker Ramli Sarip has a heart for the less fortunate. That’s why he’s holding concerts in aid of a charity fighting hunger and poverty, writes BIBI NURSHUHADA RAMLI

He may be a hard rocker but there is a softer, serene side to Ramli Sarip.

This was evident at a recent press conference when Ramli, one of Southeast Asia’s most prominent performers, shared his affinity for nature and humanitarian causes.

“Sometimes during my walks, I notice oddly-shaped tree branches, as if someone designed them that way,” Ramli says in his signature raw, gritty voice.

“I also love to look at the moon. When it is still in the clear night sky, or when it dances between the clouds, it’s mystical and more beautiful.” He continues: “ When birds chirp, it sounds like they’re trying to tell me something.

“As a lover of Mother Nature, it is imperative to interpret her and share it with others, which I do through my songs and music.” This he will do in a concert titled Tafsiran Alam: Wisdom Of Nature on Monday and Tuesday nights at the Petronas Philharmonic Hall (DFP) at 8.30pm.

They will give an overview of Ramli’s four-decade career in music and celebrate his philosophy of life.

The concerts will benefit Muslim Aid Malaysia Humanitarian Foundation, of which Ramli is the ambassador.

The audience will see the diversity of Ramli’s work as songwriter, singer, arranger and producer — from his years with rock group Sweet Charity to when he was “Papa Rock”, and finally to world music. In 2008, Ramli was a guest performer at Khadijah Ibrahim’s concert held at the same venue.

“When young, I loved following my father around as he initiated funds for local mosques and sports teams. So I learned a lot from him.” During Sweet Charity’s early years, Ramli did not forget his father’s charitable works. He supported the National Kidney Foundation, organisations for the blind and old folks homes and the building of mosques.

“In 1987, I released a solo album called Perjalanan Hidup. I think I was the first local artiste to place a logo with the words “Beware Of Drugs” on an album cover,” he says.
Ramli was also involved with Mercy Malaysia when he went to Aceh after the tsunami in 2004. He and some 50 other artistes, took part in the Ribut Damai concert to raise funds for the victims.

“It gives me great satisfaction to be able to help in some way, regardless of race or religion of the victims.” Since the concerts will be held at the DFP, his repertoire will be featuring orchestral sounds. There’ll be a string section for half of the songs. “Some songs will have an ethnic sound, while the rest will have a rock touch. Then everybody will be happy,” he says with a laugh. He worked hard to select the repertoire. There are many songs that have not been performed in public before, while the rest are all-time favourites.

Ramli also says that 80 per cent of his songs are his interpretation of nature and his connection with God.

One of the two new songs is based on a poem, Nyanyian Cinta, written by Pian Habib. Ramli composed the melody and the poem is now a song titled Kekasihku, the theme song for Muslim Aid. The other new song is also from a poem — Ziarah — by Zainal Abidin Ahmad who drew inspiration for this work when he was in Africa.

Ramli will have two guest artistes for his concerts. They are veteran singer of Malay music Andre Goh (Monday) and talented singer Misha Omar (Tuesday). Goh and Ramli go way back to the latter’s days with Sweet Charity. Then, the group performed in Singapore alongside singers such as DJ Dave and Goh.

Composer and arranger Eddie Marzuki is the musical director leading 17 musicians from Malaysia and Singapore. The band includes Man Kidal and Mohd Rafi on guitars, Din Safari (bass), Tom Anuar (drums) and Kudin (keyboards). The band also highlights a string sextet.

Muslim Aid, founded by British singer Yusuf Islam, is an international charity organisation aimed at eradicating world hunger and poverty.

Tickets are priced at RM80, RM120, RM150 and RM180. Call DFP at 03-2051 7007 or visit

“Some songs will have an ethnic sound, while the rest will have a rock touch. Then everybody will be happy,” ­– Ramli Sarip

Original title: Soft edge to hard rocker NST

Teratai by Ramli Sarip during his day with Sweet Charity
cekguarun March 02, 2007 — Sweet Charity Reunion in Konsert Sejuta Wajah