The Pandora Box is opened. Out came Yuna.

First of all, I’d like to thank my friend Juan Lyn (@qwertyjuan) for giving me the last-minute ticket because she couldn’t make it. I guess, instead of letting it go to waste, might as well give it to someone who would appreciate and enjoy the show. And I did Juan, I seriously did. Despite the time crunch (was told 2.5 hours before the show and my printer wasn’t working!), I managed to sort out printer problem i.e. putting ink into the cartridge, run a 4km run at the park, got home change and dash to the show (without dinner).


I haven’t been to the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas for awhile. I used to tell myself, I would visit it often. Because I have a certain fascination with strings. My eyes can go from one violinist to another, from one cellist to the next, and just trying to single out their sounds individually. The last I went there was for my brother’s show in October last year. My brother, Muid Latif, a digital artist, had the opportunity to do a live digital art called Painted Notes accompanied by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, a pinnacle of his artist life. (Watch the Video here ). And my first time was going for Noryn Aziz‘s showcase in January 2010. It’s the age, I know. The age from concerts to … orchestras. Too bad we don’t have Opera shows here. 😉


So, Yuna. I wasn’t really like a diehard fan. I adore, that she writes and creates great music. Her talent is undeniably amusing by itself. But I guess, what I don’t like is how the crowd in Malaysia, somehow idolises a person. Maybe it’s just the industry that I don’t understand. I find myself, being comfortable in a more intimate show, and waiting till the end of the show, going up to the performers and make friends with them, rather than idolises them. Yuna, I would say, is a trendsetter. You don’t see many hijab-wearing indie artists or musicians around. Maybe that’s why her following (or fan) is massive. As my friend said, when I met him there, “Ramainya Yuna kat sini.” And it’s true. It should be a flattering gesture, I think. Especially to be a fashion trendsetter. It’s just… well, it’s killing individuality.


I just got strayed off my point (as usual). I was glad I got a corner seat, at the end of the row, especially being alone. Then what do you know, in came a group of people, and I know a guy, Khairul Anwar or @karrotgold as he is famously known on Twitter. Weird huh? We tend to call people by their screen name. So I call him Karrot. Good to see familiar faces. Saw a couple of friends at the show as well. When Karrot asked me, if I know and memorise her songs, I realised that I wasn’t really a huge fan because I don’t even know the songs. Well, I know one or two. But that’s just it.


When the band got settled down and out came Yuna, a gorgeous tall slender girl in such a nice dress with a head wrap ala Erykah Badu, she has a regal presence, despite her indie background. Then she started singing and you remember that magic she brings in her music. Wearing a long sleeve long dress designed by Syomir Izwa (have a look here ), she look so regal and poised, even with a guitar strapped around her. I guess since I saw her entering the scene with Deeper Conversation a few years ago, she has blossomed into a fine young superstar. She kind of embraced her star quality.


She sang a lot of numbers from her United States’ EP. Too bad she wasn’t selling those at the DFP. Like I mentioned before, I don’t know half of her songs and I don’t memorise her songs (heck, I don’t memorise my own poems.) I’ll just comment a few which struck a chord with me. In no particular order, these are the mental notes I’ve made because, my mental is out of order so just bear with me.


She composed a new ala-Portishead song called “Fear and Frustrations” .. I love the song very much because it proves her versatility in her composition talent. However visually, I find it odd to see such a sweet and formally dressed young lady sitting and singing that kind of song. Maybe because I’m so used to watching Portishead on youtube, how hippy and indie their underground gigs are, with Beth Gibbons singing while holding a fag in her hand. So it’s pretty much the mindset approach we have in set, in our mind.


She also sang “Penakut” .. I first heard the song in Hujan Panas, a shortfilm made by Nadiah Hamzah. Apparently Nadiah Hamzah also used Yuna’s “Deeper Conversation” for her other shortfilm “Sub Rosa” .. As a writer, I totally understand Nadiah Hamzah’s fondness in repeatedly picking Yuna for her film soundtracks. Like Yuna mentioned last night, she’s taking us on a journey to the soundtrack of her life. And there’s always a story in each of her songs.


She called upon her favourite person, Hezry Hafidz or more fondly known as AG and then she sang Coffee  Coffee. That’s one song that can make me cry, again and again. With lyrics like, “In High Definition, I’m dreaming of you. With my disposition, I’m losing my cool…” it almost speak the words we have in our hearts. Although the version I kept on listening on SoundCloud is the clean one, but her performance was nevertheless a good one.


Throughout the showcase, I was giving her a 6/10 and 7/10 until I saw the strings. When the cellist first came out, I was just smiling. Then, the two violinists came out and I was already grinning with satisfaction. No, you can’t do a show in DFP without strings! And of course, the cool naked Double Bass the Bassist Efry was using was totally sexy! At the end of the night, I gave it a 9/10. 🙂


Since I last saw her performed in Malam Nada Biru showcase last year, she has improved a lot. Pulling out cute jokes and being current with the Twitter comments and so forth. Maybe I have seen a lot of seasoned performers’ performances, that I criticise her audience engagement easily at times. I almost forgot, she’s a newcomer. Despite her regal presence under the spotlight last night, you can still see the fidgety and awkward tall talented girl.  She needs to feed the energy from the audience as much as she is giving us the emotions from her songs. And that, is something you need to feel on stage, not just learn from stage coaches. I would not say this if I don’t know what I’m talking about, because, although I grace a different kind of stage, I do understand how scary it is to feel the audience.


But don’t mind my little irrelevant opinion. What I can say is, the Pandora Box has been opened. One of the secret plaque is this newfound love for Yuna’s music. Even my friend who initially doesn’t like her, said she’s a potential 10/10. We just hope she’ll grace the international platform so we can share our pride with the world.


P/S: I wonder if Nadiah Hamzah would direct Yuna’s music videos. That’s be superb though! One for MTV Asia!

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