Queen of ethnic pop makes a comeback

Noraniza Idris is on the comeback trail with her new single ‘Wangikanlah Hatimu’.

AFTER a long absence from the local music scene, Johor Bahru-born powerhouse singer Noraniza Idris is making a comeback this year with the release of a new single titled ‘Wangikanlah Hatimu’.

Malaysia’s queen of ethnic pop said she had been enjoying her time away from the fanfare of publicity, spotting talents among the younger generation of artistes who shared her interest in traditional Malay music and its preservation.

She was a judge on TV3’s reality singing competition ‘3 Juara’ discovering new talents mainly in three main genres — rock, ballad and Irama Malaysia.

“I am happy to still be in the music industry — my 32nd year to be exact,” she said.

On her new single — ‘Wangikanlah Hatimu’ — she said its concept of ethnic pop and traditional music combined the elements of Dikir Barat, Siam and Sunda.

Dikir Barat, in particular, is a musical form, native to the peninsula, that involves singing in groups, often in a competitive setting, and may be performed either with percussion instrumental accompaniment or with no instruments at all.

Her single features a duet, a combination of two varied vocals by Noraniza and one of her successors, Noor Amiera Zatyka Ayob, better known as Tyka, from ‘3 Juara’.

‘Wangikanlah Hatimu’ was originally composed by Amir Jahari and AGCoco with Ahmad Fedtri Yahya as lyricist. This Irama Malaysia single is the first recording by Noraniza Idris Production Ventures Sdn Bhd (NIVP) for 2017.

According to Noraniza, the production process was meticulous to ensure overall quality of the live musical arrangement.

“During the two-month preparation, starting from the discussions with Amir Jahari, melodic adjustments had been made according to the vocal harmony and character of the song.

“The lyrics remind us that success comes from a pure heart. Cherish every given space and opportunity without adding to the hatred of others. Each breath of kindness can provide assurance that you will spend eternity in paradise,” Noraniza said of the theme behind the song.

The single will be distributed digitally through iTunes and various streaming applications, including Spotify, Joox, Apple Music and Yonder Music. Purchasing of caller ringtones can be made at the websites of several telecommunication companies nationwide.

Although her efforts to put Irama Malaysia back into the limelight as one the most important music genres in the country have been an endless struggle so far, Noraniza said she would never stop trying.

“I have always been passionate about promoting the rhythm of Irama Malaysia to get it close to the hearts of our listeners. I’m holding to my role as a trustee of the artistes who have left us and will continue doing my best to realise their unfulfilled aspirations.

“I believe most of us among the older generation have been missing Irama Malaysia. It has taught us the importance of improving ourselves and upholding our national identity. It never serves merely as entertainment or for entertainment,” she said.

Noraniza believes 2017 will mark the return of Irama Malaysia, especially with the increasing promotion through radio and TV as well as several other media platforms.

“There is a very encouraging increase in the production of Irama Malaysia singles this year,” she noted.

To further promote Irama Malaysia, Noraniza launched the #saveiramamalaysia campaign in February to enlist the support of various quarters, especially art and culture enthusiasts.

“The idea is to take Irama Malaysia to a higher level through special monitoring without compromising its uniqueness and authenticity as well as its ability to compete in the Malaysian music industry.”

Noraniza has listed artistes such as Ihab Ismail, Azmir Arif, Dalili Amerda, Fee Haiqal, Fadzlee Sufri and Tyka among her Irama Malaysia successors under NIVP.

She places great importance on basic education provided by parents of these successors and how the latter honour their parents, saying this is the main basis to work on moving forward with Irama Malaysia in the years ahead.

“Irama Malaysia is the product of human capital and I look forward to translating this capital into an educational pursuit for the benefit of the younger generation via Irama Malaysia. Physical and mental strength are needed to ensure the future of Irama Malaysia. The successors must have strong self-confidence otherwise they will stray from their core mission.”

Besides being actively involved in the local music scene, Noraniza also runs a family business with her two sons — Aliff Haiqal, 28, and Fee Haiqal, 24. The business under the name Aura by Noraniza Idris and headed by her 58-year-old husband Jeffri Iman Hoodi, sells men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.

Aura by Noraniza Idris will be launched in conjunction with Ramadan.

After more than 30 years in the entertainment business, Noraniza has no immediate plans to call it a day. She will continue to watch and guide her successors behind the scenes.

“If the time is right and if I feel Irama Malaysia is secure, then I will stop and move on to the subject of ukhrawi (any matter related to aakhirah (life hereafter) with my husband.

I am also planning to perform the Umrah this December,” she said.