P. Ramlee & Saloma

August 10, 2008

P. Ramlee, actor, movie director, singer and songwriter. He was an icon of Malay entertainment and the “golden son” of Malaysia. Born and grew up in Penang, he sang and played several instruments in various bands. In 1948, he was spotted by Shaw Brothers/Malay Film Productions (popularly known as Ampas Road Studio) while he was singing his own composition Azizah (about a mysterious childhood sweetheart) at Bukit Mertajam. He was invited to join the outfit in Singapore as a playback singer for movies. Shortly, he was able to get his screen break in Chinta. Many other movies followed but it was in Bakti where Ramlee became the first actor to sing his own songs. He became a full-fledged director in Penrarik Beca which contained the song which started it all, Azizah.

P. Ramlee (together with his third wife, the beloved Saloma) revolutionized Malay popular music by drawing on a rich traditional (asli, inang, joget, masri, zapin and keroncong) repertory while incorporating many western musical elements and instruments with a dance hall orchestra. He was posthumously awarded with the Malaysian honorific title Tan Sri .

During his career, he directed and acted in sixty-six films, and had more than 360 songs to his credit. Among his films that received awards are:

1) Best Musical Score for Hang Tuah (3rd Asian Film Festival, Hong Kong (1956)
2) Best Male Actor for Anak-ku Sazali (4th Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1957)
3) Best Comedy Film for Nujum Pak Belalang (7th Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1960)
4) Most Versatile Talent for Ibu Mertua Ku (10th Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1963)
5) Best Comedy Film for Madu Tiga (11th Asian Film Festival, Taipei (1964)

Saloma, the legendary actress/singer, was born in Singapore. She was singing and performing at a young age. When she was of age, she started singing in nightclubs. Soon, her acclaimed pure and melodious voice captivated an audience. She was offered movie contracts where she played lead roles featuring her prominent singing ability. P. Ramlee and Saloma married in 1961. They were adored by their fans. They quickly became the country’s very own “screen couple”!

* National Awards:
1975, Awarded the Ahli Mangku Negara (AMN)
1979, Biduanita Negara (National Celebrity Award)

Oh bunyi gitar
Irama twist
Tidak sabar
Si gadis manis
Dengar lagu rancak gembira
Hatinya rindu tergoda
Ingin dapat teman
Menari suka ria

Sungguh merdu
Lagu ini
Siapa mahu
Boleh menari
Pilih satu teman sendiri
Ataukah si hitam manis
Kalau sudi mari, kita menari twist

Oh gitar berbunyi
Menawan hati sedang berahi
Oh rancaknya irama
Dapat mikat sukma
Gadis dan teruna
Mari cari teman gembira

Gitar solo
Dan melodi
Ikut tempo
Kalau menari
Sila adik, sila cik abang
Marilah kita berdendang
Irama gembira
Hati jadi riang