Old-time musicians gear up for benefit concert this Sunday

(L-R): Ahmad Lokman, Sharan Premela Isaac and Royston Sta Maria are among the many artistes who will perform at the Musicians For Musicians Benefit Concert 2020 this Sunday. (PPTS pic)

PETALING JAYA: Love and hope can inspire change, and offer a second chance to those in need.

This is the premise of the Musicians For Musicians Benefit Concert 2020 which after months of planning finally takes place this Sunday at the Mines International Exhibition & Convention Centre in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, spearheaded by the Persatuan Pemuzik Tempatan Selangor (PPTS).

PPTS president and organising committee chairman Francis Danker says, “The concert is part of our ongoing efforts to help performers in clubs, hotels and pubs to live an independent life, enjoy a decent standard of living and help them sustain their creative lives.”

Here, some of the artistes who will take part in the historic concert, share their thoughts.

Royston Sta Maria

Royston Sta Maria will join Franciscca Peter at the concert. (PPTS pic)

The singer/composer/keyboardist says he’s so excited to be back in Malaysia for the massive 10-hour concert this Sunday.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea that musicians are getting together. Usually when people need help, it’s the musicians who are always the first to lend a hand for charity.

“So it’s nice that someone has taken the initiative to organise this event for the musicians themselves.

“Personally, it’s good to come back and join together with my fellow musicians to do this. Some of us haven’t seen each other for over 30 years!”

It was in the early 1980s, that Roy met the then up-and-coming Francissca Peter, and both formed the famous duo of Roy and Fran.

They would record and release hits like “Siapa Dia Sebelum Daku”, “Tak Kenal Maka Tak Cinta” and “Bersama Pertemuan Ini”.

Fran went on to become one of Malaysia’s biggest solo artistes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and is still a highly visible entertainer. Roy left Malaysia for Perth, Australia in 1988.

“The last time we performed as a duo was in 2018, on TV2, not too long ago. But it’s always good to get together with Fran. I am always very grateful that we met and had that time together.”

Jerry Fernandez

Jerry Fernandez, vocalist and founding member of Singaporean band Jerry & the NeuFaces. (PPTS pic)

Singaporean veteran musician Jerry Fernandez remembers the music scene in KL in the early 1970s. “We would play at the Mayflower Nightclub at Fortuna Hotel, the Tomorrow Disco and I even remember the Sunday tea dances.”

He can list numerous bands of the time – Electric Orgasm, Falcons, Delta, The Strollers, Heavy Machine, The Revolvers, Grim Preachers, Ash Wednesday – many of whom he has kept in contact with, and remain friends with till today.

“All were good musicians. I have such fond memories. And many were friends of mine, I love them very much,” Jerry said on a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur.

The vocalist and founding member of Singaporean band Jerry & the NeuFaces, which began in 1972, has played in clubs, hotels, cruise ships and almost all over the world, is set to make a surprise performance at the benefit concert this weekend.

Sharan Premela Isaac

Sharan Premela Isaac sang with the band Pieces back in the late 1970s. (PPTS pic)

Sharan Premela Isaac, who sang with the band Pieces back in the early 1980s, and was a regular songstress at local clubs and hotels, is today a housewife in Perth.

“I still sing at functions and at church,” Sharan said.

Back in town for the concert, Sharan will join her old bandmates, bassist Wilfred Christian, drummer Edwin Nathaniel and keyboardist Allan Perera.

The original Pieces was formed in 1977 with Albert Christian on keyboards then, and later also featured Paul Ponnudurai on guitar.

Sharan said, “I am so excited. In the past whenever I had been invited to sing in Malaysia, I have always declined but this time I thought I simply must come because it’s for a good cause.”

When asked what it will be like performing with Pieces again, she excitedly offered, “Oh my goodness! It’s been a loooong time since I last performed with these guys, maybe not since 1983 or 84!”

“It’s going to be just like the good ol’ times again…. Okay so we’re a lot older now, all wearing goggles and fumbling around for the notes … but it’s going to be really good.”

Ahmad Lokman

Lord from Lord and The Boys says he is honoured to be part of this event in aid of friends who are struggling just to live a normal life. (PPTS pic)

Ahmad Lokman, more fondly known as Lord, shares the enthusiasm of the other musicians about the upcoming benefit concert.

“I am so honoured and humbled to be a part of this event because I know it is for such a worthy cause, and it’s coming straight from the heart.

“The idea for the concert is solely to help another human, friends who are struggling just to live a normal life,” he said.

Lord is the founder, bandleader and keyboardist of the band Lord and The Boys, which made a name for themselves in the Klang Valley gig circuit in the 1980s as Ella and The Boys, and later Shima and The Boys. (Both Ella and Shima went on to pursue successful solo careers).

Lord, who also played the keyboards for the Blues Gang on the classic 1980s hit, “Apo Nak Di Kato”, is eager to see everyone on Sunday.

“At the concert, I can meet up with old friends from the good old days, before it’s our time to go. I hope everyone digs deep into their hearts and supports this cause, then you can safely say that you have done a good deed, and had fun too!”

Lord shared that not everyone is able to ask for help, and it is only a good friend who can empathise and lend a hand.

“Many a talented, sensitive musician is happy to stand on the sidelines and watch their proteges make it big while they are left behind. It is sometimes sad to see that happen.

“But now with this brainchild of Mr Francis Danker, I have hope. It’s good to know that some people still have a big heart, and still care for the rest.”

Lord said the concert would be for everyone out there who has supported the bands over the years. “We were and always will be the music that was in their life …then, now, and hopefully forever.”

Stag

Back in the day, Stag would play disco, latin and rock music. (PPTS pic)

If you’re from Klang and grew up in the 1960s and 70s, you might be familiar with the band Stag, formed in 1975 by Victor Sagayam.

Later led by drummer Saseetharan aka Sassi Nair, Stag is one of the 30 acts that will come together to play at the concert on March 15.

At 66, Sassi has no intention of ever quitting. “We still play at functions… the thought of retiring has never occurred to me! I just wouldn’t be able to stop because I really love to play. When I’m at my drums, I forget everything else,” Sasi shared.

Back in the day, Stag would play disco, latin, rock music and made its rounds at 5-star hotels including Jaya Puri, Merlin, Equatorial, Holiday Villa and the like, and even had a royal audience at The Istana Kayangan once.

The name Stag was derived from the male deer symbolising strength as well as its horns which represented the horn section of the band, that grew from a five piece to a full blown nine piece outfit.

Sassi, who today owns a jam studio, Stag Studio, on Jalan Meru in Klang, is excited to be re-teaming with four of the original members of the band and newer additions, including Johan William, Kamal Azli, Peter Paramaraj, Dennis Nunis and Finian Lowe.

He says, “I think the concert is going to be beautiful. A lot of hard work has gone into it.”

30 iconic live music bands from the 1970s and 80s will perform. (PPTS pic)

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.