Tag Archives: Malaysian music

Artist Profiles: Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin

Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin – Photo © Suchens.com for Sarawak Tourism Board

Multi-instrumentalist Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin (a.k.a. Kamrul) is the leader of Malaysian world music band Asika. As the head of Asika, Kamrul has performed as a multi-instrumentalist, composer and music director in all manner of professional productions nationally and overseas. His performances include traditional and modern music. Major in percussion, Kamrul is a remarkable percussionist and traditional music artist. Combined with his style and skill, Kamrul has become one the leading Malaysian percussionists.

His skill, dedication and passion especially with traditional percussion has led to international tours, with performances in New York, Paris, London, Toronto and other. Kamrul also has a strong passion on Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet). Graduated in traditional and western percussion at National Arts Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA). Kamrul has been awarded for Best Arts Motivator from National University of Malaysia in 2002.

Instruments – gendang, rebana, serunai, conga, jembe, darbuka, vocals, rebab and more.


Artist Profiles: Artist Profiles: Mohd Fuad Mohammad

Mohd Fuad Mohammad – © Suchens.com for Sarawak Tourism Board

Pianist and accordionist Mohd Fuad has graduated from National Arts Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA). He is currently a sessionist for many traditional and modern music performances.

He is a talented young composer in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and has been involved in performances at Bangsawan (Malay Theatre Musical) and Shadow Puppet performances in New York.

He is a member of Malaysian world music band Asika.


Artist Profiles: Mathew Ngau Jau

Mathew Ngau Jau (right) with Lan-e Tuyang – Photo by Suchens.com for Sarawak Tourism Board

Mathew Ngau Jau is a proficient sape (Sarawakian lute) musician, who learned how to play the instrument during his childhood at Long Semiyang, Ulu Baram in Sarawak (Malaysia). After his school education, and having pursued a career in teaching, Ngau Jau came under the guidance of the late Tusau Padan, a master sape musician and artist.

Ngau Jau formed the traditional group Lan-e Tuyang (meaning among friends) together with his late uncle Uchau Bilung.

Since the death of Tusau Padan, Matthew has become the leading promoter of the art of sape music and also the art of painting Kenyah traditional motifs on bark. He is also an expert in the Orang-Ulu warrior dance and is a skilled blow-pipe exponent. Combining all these skills, Mathew is much sought after to promote the traditional arts of Sarawak.

With Lan-e Tuyang, Ngau Jau has performed at numerous venues throughout the globe as well as tourism promotions in Europe, Australia and Asia.


Artist Profiles: Lan-e Tuyang

Matthew Ngau Jau (Lan-e Tuyang) – Photo courtesy of Rainforest World Music Festival

Lan-e Tuyang (meaning among friends) was initially a duo from Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, consisting of Matthew Ngau Jau and his late uncle Uchau Bilung. Both musicians play the sape, a long indigenous Borneo lute carved from solid wood. They play music based on Kenyah (Orang Ulu) traditional music. The duo performed many international concerts as well as in Sarawak tourism promotional events in Europe, Australia and Asia.

In 2009, Uchau Bilung passed away and the group continued under the leadership of Matthew Ngau Jau. Lan-e Tuyang re-formed with a new format, featuring three sape players and one percussionist. They performed with this new lineup at the 2009 Rainforest World Music Festival.


Artist Profiles: Kinabalu Merdu Sound

Kinabalu Merdu Sound at Rainforest World Music Festival in 2009 – Photo by Angel Romero

Kinabalu Merdu Sound is a world music band from Sabah (Malaysia). The band plays Sabahan ethnic music with bamboo musical instruments.

Kinabalu Merdu Sound’s roots began in 2001 with a modest group of 5. To reach its objective of reviving traditional ethnic music at the brink of extinction due to modernization, the band aimed to recruit school children and youth as its members. Kinabalu Merdu Sound’s efforts have been rewarded as the group has now grown into an assembly of 600 musicians.

This group has now performed throughout Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and the Rainforest World Music Festval in Sarawak. There have even been performances in Jakarta (Indonesia), Korea and Japan. Kinabalu Merdu Sound has emerged as champions in the national level ‘Ilham Desa” (loosely translated it means ‘countryside inspirations’) competition which was organized by the Ministry of Rural and Federal Development held on the 14th June 2007 at UPM in Selangor.

The use of the bamboo as a musical instrument in traditional music had its beginnings in 1945. Among the earliest instruments were the Tagunggak (percussion instrument), sompoton (wind instrument), bungkau (Jew’s harp) and gendang (drums). However, traditional music played with bamboo instruments was not the music enthusiasts’ favorite style at the time because it was a farmer’s past time and was played only during harvest festivals. The group has undoubtedly succeeded in changing this conception and begun to raise a widespread admiration towards the once-rejected bamboo melodies.


Muzik Tradisi Instrumental


Artist Profiles: Asika

Asika – Photo © Suchens.com for Sarawak Tourism Board

Asika is a group of contemporary traditional music, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Asika includes eight talented individuals dedicated to promoting Malaysia’s own brand of ‘world music’, in addition to contemporary pursuits.

“The musical elements that we produce based on Malay traditional music such as Zapin, Inang, Masri, Asli, Joget , Mak yong, Wayang Kulit and merge with modern composition for various musical expressions.”

Asika had performed nationally and worldwide such as New York, Los Angeles (USA) , Kobe (Japan), Tenerife Island (Spain), Venice (Italy), Jakarta (Indonesia), Albert Hall Lin ondon and many more.

All of Asika members graduated from National Arts Academy in various musical faculty. “The unique things about Asika is all of us can play other musical performances such as Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet), Mak Yong (a classical Malaysian theatre), Cak Lempong and Gamelan.”


Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin – Group leader. Gendang, Rebana, Serunai, Conga, Djembe, Darbuka, Vocal, Rebab and more.

Ismail Ahmed – Group Manager. Nylon guitar, Electric bass, Darbuka, & Vocal

Shamsul Zin – Instruments – Drum, Rebana, jembe, Darbuka, Piano, Cak lempong and more.

Mohd Fuad Mohammad – Piano & Accordion

Muhammad Radzi Abdul Wahid – Violin, Accordion & Modern Piano

Syarizan Sahamat – Djembe, Rebana, Conga, vocal, tabla and more.

Isyam Swardy Daud – Electric guitar, Nylon guitar & Gendang

Amira Sariyati Mohd Hatta – vocals

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