In February this year, Yusnor Ef gave me a 5CD presentation box of about 128 of his original compositions, sung by the top 60s and 70s Malay pop yeh-yeh artistes from Singapore and Malaysia.
The singers are too many to be named but they include Ahmad Jais, Eddie Ahmad, A. Ramlie, Sanisah Huri, Sharifah Aini, Rozainah Baharudin, Milah Husain, Mariah Bachok, Anita Sarawak, P. Ramlee, A. Razak, Ahmad Daud, Salomah, Rahimah Rahim, A. Romzi, Sugiman Jahuri, Rafeah Buang, S. Rossley, Junainah Amin, Kartina Dahari, Saadiah Saad, Fazidah Joned, Elmi Salleh, J. Mizan and a host of others.
In the accompanying 140 page booklet of glossy photographs, thumb-nail sketches, music sheets, lyrics and testimonials from the top hierachy of the Malay music community, the set represents Yusnor's lifetime achievements packaged into a compact gift-box that is a treasure trove of musical gold pieces.
So as you listen to Yusnor's compositions sung by artistes who are still household names, you can browse and enjoy viewing his 40 plus years of photographs and documented anecdotes titled: Kisah Di Sebalik Lagu and the reasons why he pens the songs which he holds so dear to his heart.
Here are a few one-liners from the dozens of tributes he received through the years.
1. 'He is a prolific writer of more than 250 songs... one of our greatest music icons in the 20th century.'
2. 'His phenomenal ability to pen human emotions of his cultural situatedness... his own conviction of music as makanan jiwa.'
3. 'His works in Bahasa Melayu and English have been held in high regard throughout the Malayworld... shedding fresh light on the development of Malay music.'
4. 'He is a true teacher in my eyes, perhaps that is probably why I still call him Cikgu till this day.'
5. 'My husband and I introduced him to P. Ramlee...'
Some of the songs in the series and randomly picked are: Gelisah, Anak Zaman Ini, Tiga Gadis Jelita, Taj Mahal, Tangisan Malam, Ros Merah, Senjaka, Joget Aidilfitri, Suasana Riang Di Hari Raya, Si Bujang Tua, Sinar Hidupku, Normila, etc.
About Pulau Tekong (Island), Yusnor Ef and me:
I have known this patient and talented gentleman since 1963 when both of us took a daily boat ride from Changi Jetty to the two schools we taught in. He was the Malay che'gu at Selabin Malay and I at Pulau Tekong Chinese.
In the rain and sunshine as we rocked n rolled in the boat, our friendship continued through the years. Although Mohd. Noor taught for about 5 years in his, I was lucky enough to serve for only one year. Those were hard times indeed.
Image/Original article: Andy Lim Collection.
TO ALL MY MUSLIM FRIENDS AND READERS, SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI, 2011.