PETALING JAYA: Live band musicians in Malaysia are in the industry as music runs in their blood. Their journey is mostly tough and full-time musicians lay it all on the line in pursuit of their passion and dreams.
Their monthly earnings depend on how many gigs they get and on being healthy enough to turn up for work every day.
So what happens when one of these older hardworking musicians falls sick or falls on hard times financially?
Well, their families put out an appeal for public donations or their fellow musicians hastily put together a charity concert to raise emergency funds.
However, to ensure a seamless stream of income to pay for much needed medical supplies, some musicians suffering from various illnesses have resorted to busking at The Curve in Mutiara Damansara every Sunday to raise funds for themselves.
In this video, Aznan Aziz @ Nan Blues shares that he started taking music seriously back in 1993 and it’s been the best thing that he’s ever done.
Nan was part of the group of musicians who performed at a charity concert to raise funds for the late Jim Madasamy, the legendary bassist for The Blues Gang.
Jim was 68 when he died of heart failure in 2018 and the group collected money for his treatment which they passed to Jim’s family just three months before he passed away.
Zulkafil Mohd Yusof @ Zul King has been in music for a long time. He has diabetes, so he has built a mini studio in his house and offers backing tracks to other musicians so he can earn some income for himself.
Zul says that he received RM2,000 as royalty from the MACP a long time ago but he did not update them so there has been no income from them since.
Another busker Zainal Abidin Nordin @ Zainal Rampa started performing in 1973. He fell sick in 2008.
Zainal has received some financial assistance from Yayasan 1 Artis Malaysia’s welfare fund. He needs financial assistance to buy medicine for his high-blood pressure and diabetes.
Lord, whose real name is Ahmad Lokman Ismail, has been in the music industry for almost 40 years.
It’s been a life journey for him with his fair share of ups and downs. His credits include writing original songs, producing albums and introducing now well-known singers to the Malaysian public.
Lord is very happy to see musicians coming together to help each other out in times of need.
Singer Shara Eqkhnor meanwhile says that many musicians are struggling to continue living life as normally as possible despite their illness.
She has called on Malaysians to rally together to support an upcoming benefit concert organised to help needy musicians.
Music veteran Francis Danker says that after 25 years in the industry, it pains him to see his friends going through so many medical and financial problems.
He says it’s about time Malaysians put their collective resources together to organise an event where funds can be raised for these ailing musicians so they can receive a monthly allowance.
He calls this initiative “Musicians for Musicians”, where band members are volunteering their time and music to raise funds for their brothers and sisters in need.
While ad-hoc fund-raising measures work as a temporary Band-Aid (pun intended), there is a desperate need for a more holistic solution to this perennial problem.
Danker and fellow music veteran Edwin Nathaniel have now put together a committee of other musicians and formed Persatuan Pemuzik Tempatan Selangor (PPTS) to aid needy musicians.
Under its “Musicians for Musicians” initiative, PPTS is hosting the Musicians For Musicians Benefit Concert 2020 on March 15 at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC).
More than 100 musicians and 30 iconic bands from the 70s and 80s have agreed to perform for free in support of their fellow musicians.
The marathon 10-hour concert aims to raise RM500,000 which will be managed and disbursed by a suitably qualified and dedicated committee.
Many original band members are flying back to Malaysia from all over the world to reunite with their former band mates and perform together after decades apart.
The concert is truly the biggest, most unique reunion concert of non-stop 70s and 80s music.
You definitely should not miss this historic event. If you can only see one concert in 2020, this is it. Get your tickets now.
Tickets are priced at RM100 and available at www.airasiaredtix.com. You can also call Edwin on 012 209 8849 or Raj on 019 229 7156.